Thursday, July 02, 2009

She's Positively Glowing

If you can say a face covered mostly by feathers can glow. Maybe I should say puffy.

My little black araucana hen has been trying to raise a family for a while now. First, she started sitting last spring when we still had a rooster to knock her up. Unfortunately, even though I had mapped out the date the chicks would arrive and went out that day to collect her and her chicks to move to somewhere safer, the nest had been raided and nothing but scattered eggshells remained. Her brood had been eaten by something, likely rats considering the fact that whatever it was had to be small.

In the fall, she tried again, but this time the rooster had died and there was nothing there to fertilize the eggs. I couldn't keep her off the nest, so I let her sit there vainly for just over three weeks before she gave up and returned to normal life. It's a shame that rooster died. He was a purebred araucana and would have produce purebred chicks.

While we were on vacation, my dad called to let us know that the black hen had gone broody again and was sitting on a bunch of eggs and asked what to do about it. She's been tucked under the bottom of E's slide in the backyard ever since.

Until today that is. We were sitting on the couch eating breakfast this morning getting ready to leave for north Georgia when K asks if I hear any cheeping. Investigating the sound, I see a little black chick with a yellow cap standing in the middle of the yard cheeping his heart out. We race out with E in tow to see how many hatched. Out of nine eggs, the hen managed five chicks. Not a bad hatch rate. I was actually a little surprised. The rooster is less than a year old and they tend not to be that fertile the first year.

Anyway, no photos today. I caught the hen and chicks and put them in a pen to keep the chicks out of the paws of Chairman Meow, who the hen had to beat on a couple of times to protect her brood. K's getting irritated that I'm taking the time to write this as it is. When we get back on Monday, I'll take some photos of the feathered family and post them for all of you to ooh and ah at.

Unless they all die, which is always a possibility.


Julie said...

My cousin started raising chickens this year and it's been a lot of fun watching them grow up. Hers were hatched in an incubator so they weren't sure what to do when she started introducing them to the outside.

It always makes me sad when animals want offspring so badly and don't get it. I'm glad her tale is a happier one.

Courtney said...

When I read your title, I thought you were going to say that K is pregnant again.


A Free Man said...

I thought the same as Courtney.

But you've answered a question I had regarding the source of your blog's address.