Appalachia

Meet The Baby Chicks

Baby chicks

A few weeks ago I gave an update about our chickens, telling you about The Deer Hunter getting fertilized eggs for Gertrude to sit on. (If you missed that post go here)

Black baby chicks

 

Out of 6 eggs-she hatched 5. And let me tell you-Gertrude is proud-and protective of those 5 babies. Two of the chicks are blond looking-which is exactly what Gertrude and Polly looked like when they were chicks. The other three are black and we have no clue what they’ll turn out to look like. I’m just hoping they’re all hens-with NO roosters-but don’t tell The Deer Hunter that-he wants another rooster.

Momma hen

 

The day the eggs hatched we were all home-so we got to see the baby chicks right from the beginning. They stayed in the chicken coop for the first 2 days. Inexperienced chicken wranglers like us never thought about how they’d get out of the house.

Gertrude and her babies

 

We were gone to work when the chicks decided to follow Gertrude outside. Chatter and Chitter have practically moved into the chicken coop since the chicks were born. The girls had a front row seat to watch each chick fall off the 4 foot high ramp that leads into the coop as they tried to follow their momma outside.

A few frantic phone calls later, the girls assured us they all seemed to be fine from the fall….but

Polly and nesta

 

The other hens, Nesta and Polly, where way too interested in the baby chicks and kept pecking them in the head when Mother Gertrude wasn’t looking. And worse than that-the baby chicks could fit through the holes in the fencing and kept jumping out into the yard.

We assured the girls Gertrude was more than capable of taking care of the chicks and that if they hopped out of the holes they would soon hop back in the hole to be with their mother. After such a hectic morning the girls decided they’d had enough babysitting and took off down the hill to visit.

A few hours later, Chatter got to feeling like she better go back home and check on the chicks. Its a good thing she did! She got there just in time to chase a big black snake out of the coop where it was trying to make a tasty snack of the new babies.

Just like we never thought about the babies getting out of the coop-we never thought about them getting back in it at night either. On the first night the chicks were outside, The Deer Hunter tried his best to do something with Mother Gertrude so he could put the chicks back in the coop, but finally she freaked out so bad he gave up and said they’d have to stay outside was all he knew!

Baby chicks in nc

 

I dreaded checking on the chicks the next morning. I just knew all of the babies would be gone-but Gertrude got them through the night. And she has got them through every night since.

As fast as the chicks are growing it won’t be long before they can follow Gertrude back up the ramp and sleep inside at night, safe from all the predators that are hanging around this place.

Even though we are truly inexperienced at this chicken business-we’re learning as we go. I don’t think I could ever go back to eating store bought eggs so we’ll continue to figure the process out as we go.

I’ll keep you updated on the roosters vs. hens ration of the chicks.

Tipper

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Rev. RB
    July 27, 2013 at 10:12 pm

    Ya gotta have 1/4″ fencing around at least the bottom 3 feet of the coop to keep the chicks in (and most snakes out). If you don’t, anything from a house cat to a hawk can get them very easily. You also need to have the top of the coop fenced, or chicken hawks will make snacks of your grown chickens too. And no, if a chick gets out, it’ll run around cheeping loudly, attracting predators long before they figure out how to get themselves back in again. We learned that the hard way. There’s special fencing to keep the chicks in and the snakes out, and that’s what you need to protect the chicks. Otherwise, there’s no sense having chicks if you can’t protect them from becoming snake or cat food.
    Praying for your chicks.
    God bless.
    RB
    <><

  • Reply
    Debbie Nobles
    July 25, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    I have had chickens for about nine years.We never had problems with anything except Hawks.I had a Rooster George 1 that gave his life to save a hen from a hawk.Fresh eggs are the best! Watch out or you will end up with more chickens than you thought.They are all so cute.I started getting so me of the special chicks.They don’t lay as well but Bonnie and Clyde always get second looks when folks come to visit.I don’t eat my girls.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 24, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    At the risk of being flogged by Miss Cindy, I disagree with raising the chicks in a box. If you raise them in a box, you will have to protect them all their lives. If their mother can protect them until they can fend for themselves they will be much happier and healthier. If it way me, I would rather be chicken in a biscuit than chicken in a box.

  • Reply
    Ken
    July 24, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Tipper,
    Just got my Internet service back.
    Those are the cutest little chicks.
    I hope the snakes don’t gobble ’em
    up as they grow.
    One time when I was little and just after dark, our feists were raising cane. A big ole black snake had done swallowed a small hen. Daddy killed it and quickly cut it open trying to save the pullet but it was already gone.
    Chitter and Chatter are getting
    the best experience there is,
    growing up and seeing how fragile
    life can be…Ken

  • Reply
    janet pressley
    July 24, 2013 at 3:29 pm

    Awww, so cute! I know I would be so worried about them. Can I go shopping too!?

  • Reply
    Dan O'Connor
    July 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Thanks for the post. Having never lived on a farm or been around chickens, I got a good chuckle imagining what was happening as I read the blog. I really enjoy the blog, thanks!

  • Reply
    Lise
    July 24, 2013 at 10:58 am

    Nothing like fresh eggs! Those baby chicks are so adorable, can’t wait to hear your updates:)

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Tipper,
    You know I love baby chicks! They are just so sweet and innocent!
    My Aunt from the Mars Hill farm loved her chickens….When she had a special hen she wanted to separate from the flock she would
    get a slated box, maybe it was some sort of fruit box. She would put the hen and chicks in it and turn it upside down on the yard of sorts.. The chicks could jump and slip out of those slates but enjoy the grass around the box. The hen stayed put under the box. As soon as she would cluck the come back in the box sound the little chicks would jump over the slat and back under her wing.
    My Aunt did this so the chicks could get plenty of greens and pick at bugs. She would move the box ever so often during the day and then put the hen and chicks back in the hen house at night. There was never a worry about too many predators as she had a lot of farm guard dogs that watched the farm animals, etc. There were also lots of cats in and around the barn etc. They were more interested in the free milk!
    There were times that she let her chickens free range during the day. She shore loved her animals, and that old floggin’ rooster that got me too. It didn’t flog her but a stranger or infrequent visitor would get it if they went near the hens.
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS..
    Don’t forget to get the girls to sing to the baby chicks and hens they seem to love it. Like Bradly said, They sure can take your time, watching the hens and chicks!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 24, 2013 at 9:34 am

    Fuzzy Dumplings?

  • Reply
    dolores
    July 24, 2013 at 9:22 am

    I love this mother nature story. I had baby chicks from my Uncle’s farm when I was a little girl. They got too big to live in our bathroom in the city, so back to the farm they went after about three months. I remember checking them each day when I got home from school.

  • Reply
    Tamela
    July 24, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Fresh eggs can’t be beat! [- except when doing some baking ; ) ]But it is also delightful to see them turn into little chicks! – another good reason for a rooster ; ) Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Barbara
    July 24, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Even before chicks are born, mama hen begins teaching them cluck commands. She’s a perfect example of God’s care for His own.
    Old timers tested gender by softly picking the diddler up by the neck. If it held its feet down, it was a rooster, or pulled them up, a hen.
    We call store bought eggs,”plastic cackleberries.”
    Cute diddlers!

  • Reply
    Bradley
    July 24, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Baby chicks are cute. You know, maybe Miss Cindy is right about the box.
    There was this older man in our neighborhood years ago that had this saying about anything that that really caught his attention or interest. He would say about whatever it was that caught his attention, “You know, something like that really TAKES MY TIME.” That’s how I feel when I see how an old Momma hen feeds, and many times will gather her babies under her wings at evening. I bet they also take your time!

  • Reply
    Jane Bolden
    July 24, 2013 at 7:48 am

    They’re so cute! Gertrude must be exhausted.lol

  • Reply
    Mamabug
    July 24, 2013 at 7:43 am

    It’s so much fun watching those cute little biddies. Hope most of them will be hens!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 24, 2013 at 7:34 am

    They are cute as they can be! I’m sure Gertrude is as proud as if she had laid those eggs herself. In all honesty though, I have to say that is a lot of drama. I mean snakes after the babes, babes can’t go up and down the ramp so they have to stay outside at night, and babes through the fence going out and in. You all must be exhausted.
    I’m thinking it is simpler to raise them in a box with a light.
    I’m so happy to have you and the girls come visit for a few days. We’ve got lots of shopping to do!

  • Reply
    Charles Fletcher
    July 24, 2013 at 7:30 am

    The Deer Hunter is rite. There is need of a big bad rooster to keep the snakes, skunks.
    cats and other varmints away from the smallchicks until they can take care of themselves.
    Charles

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 24, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Awwww, love baby chicks. You will never go back to store bought, I have been eating free range eggs from our local producer for years, the taste difference if amazing

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