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)
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.
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.
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
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!
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.