Last year on my birthday I got a hen house. And, subsequently, 15 chicks to eventually fill that hen house. Now we have 14 adult hens, happily living and laying eggs on the edge of our 13 acres.
Since those chicks arrived to us at just 48 hours old, we did all the mama-ing… heat lamp, brooder box and basically over-doing 24/7.
And it was incredibly fun. It also resulted in some very sweet and good-natured adult hens who still enjoy being loved on by all of us.
Hatching out chicks under a broody hen has been a whole different experience.
Today they are two weeks old, the same age as our other chicks were when we took their pictures in this same spot.
But this time Mama Juniper is in charge of all mama-ing and, in one little golden-feathered body, she’s nailing it.
Which is really nice, because that means I have a whole lot less to do.
But it has some downsides, too.
Like not having the same kind of relationship with the chicks this time. Because we aren’t mama, they’re much more wary of us.
And instead of rushing to us when they see us coming, like our grown hens did when they were chicks (and still do), they generally avoid us.
Unless we are bearing food-type gifts.
So we are walking a new path this time. Enjoying so much the front row seat on the interaction between Juniper and her babes… and how she teaches them so patiently all the things a baby chick needs to know.
Hopefully, they’ll come to love us as much as we love them.
In the meantime we’ll keep ourselves busy watching them grow – week by week – through the awkward middle months and right into chicken-hood…
saying our prayers that both of them will one day add a color of their very own to our little egg basket…
and trying to resist getting just a few more hatching eggs for Marigold, the other broody hen we now have in our hen house.
Evidently broody is catching…