I went back into worry mode last night. Every time I went to check on the babies from 4 pm on, this is all I saw:
Where'd everybody go?
The handholders on BYC continued their chorus of “IT’S FINE!” so I went to bed and hoped for the best.
Another worry averted by those fine folks was my concern as to whether the babies would be warm enough out in the coop. When you brood them in a box, you must keep a heat lamp over them at a consistent 95 degrees for the first week, then reduce by five degrees each week as they grow. There’s no heat in our coop and the weather is cool with all this June Gloom, so I had visions of frostbitten chickies. Pshaw, said the experts – Mama hen, as it turns out, is a veritable furnace – no worries about heat with her on the job!
The CE woke up early and checked on the little family. All was silent, and since seeing is believing, he decided to pick Hope up and see what was going on under there. Probably NOT a move that would be recommended by the professionals, but it gave him a chance to see that the babies were alive and peeping. Except – when he did a head count, he only found one, two, three, four…what happened to chick #5? He searched the area – no runaway in sight. Finally he gave Hope a little shake, like you would when you empty a handbag, and out came baby #5 – she had been snuggled deep in Hope’s under feathers and was probably none too happy to be disturbed from her slumber. So it goes when you have incompetent humans like us on the job…
When I went in to check, some of the babies were out for a morning constitutional. They’ll indulge in a sip and a bite of food, run around a bit but never stray more than two or three feet away from mama, and then race back to look up at her and maybe give her a little peck here and there. Hope is patient and stoic, although she does cluck a bit when they move too far away. They seem to understand her, because when she raises her voice, they all stand stock still – waiting for commands from the mother ship.
Listen to Mama!
Little Miss Silkie on the right, having a tete a tete with the EE
The Easter Egger - she will grow up to look more or less like Autumn and will hopefully lay a colorful egg
I haven’t seen the Black Copper Marans or the d’Uccle chick this morning, so I remain a bit worried about them, but hopefully they will peek out from under Hope at some point soon.
I was advised not to separate Autumn from the little family, so she spent the night in the coop with them. She hasn’t gone anywhere near them while I’ve been watching, so maybe she instinctively knows she’s not invited to this tea party. Hope ruffles her feathers up whenever anyone comes near, so I’m sure she’s prepared to defend the babies if need be.
And the cheese stands alone. Poor Autumn, all by herself.