Babies for the Broody

Babies for the Broody

“Broody” is the term used for chickens when females go through a hormonal change that causes them to want to sit on eggs and hatch them.  Typically they growl or fluff up their hackles to tell people and other chickens to leave them alone with their nest of eggs.  It normally takes 21 days for a hen to hatch eggs, so I waited that long to see how they would do.  At the beginning of the year, I gave Harley a few feed store Buff Orpington pullet chicks, then Penguin hatched a Trader Joe’s chick a week later, and meanwhile, Daisy and Lady Cluck staked out two of the nests for themselves.  Since the first two hens defended and integrated their babies so seamlessly in with the other hens, I decided it was time to order the remaining two broodies some chicks I would actually like to keep.

My friend and I shared a mail order shipment of day old chicks from Ideal Poultry.  I ordered 5 silver penciled bantam cochins, my friend ordered 2 Black Sex-Links and 2 Gold Sex-links, and we split an assortment of 16 other bantam cochins.  I was pretty worried when I heard how bad the weather forecast was in Texas and the Mid West, and even more worried we might have a box of dead chicks.  Thankfully, our box of chicks shipped out of Austin, instead of Dallas where the DWF airport closed on the day of shipment.  Two days later, the majority of chicks made it okay and were only cold, noisy, and hungry.  Sadly, 2 silver penciled, plus 2 buffs, a black, and 2 red did not make it in transit.  Ideal did a nice job packing them for the record cold they had, but I was surprised they sent NO extras.

I just wanted to share their pictures that I took today:

Black cochin bantam #1 1 week old: This one was set aside to go to another home, but ended up staying. (update on 3/31/11: Pullet)
Black bantam cochin chick #2 at 1 week old. Its a frizzle. (update on 3/31/11: Pullet)
Silver Penciled Bantam Cochin chick #1 at 1 week old (update on 3/31/11: Pullet)
Silver Pencilled cochin #2 at 1 week old. (update on 3/31/11: Pullet)
All white colored bantam cochin chick at 1 week old (update on 3/31/11: Pullet)
This one came close to dying the day the shipment arrived. It didn't want to eat or drink and it kept getting pushed and trampled. Its wings were droopy, and I was sure it was a goner. I figured it would not hurt to be put in early with the broody hen that afternoon. The warm gentle care of a mama, all to its self for a half of day, made all the difference. It is now thriving. Although I originally thought it was a buff chick, it is getting white wing feathers. (update on 3/31/11: went to new home before a conclusive decision on gender)
Red bantam cochin (I think) at 1 week old (update on 3/31/11: Pullet)
Buff Bantam cochin chick at 1 week old. I have two exactly the same. I am not sure which is which, so one photo is enough for now. (update on 3/31/11: 1 Pullet and 1 Cockerel)

*The red and buff chicks in the shipment look almost identical, with the red just slightly darker all over.  I don’t really know if they are red or a dark buff for sure, and I will have to wait and watch them grow in feathers.  Some of the chicks at my friend’s house look like they might be frizzed because the tips of primaries on the wings are slightly curved.

Lady Cluck, is really enjoying all of her foster babies.  She adopted them all extremely easily, even the extras that another lady never came to pick up.   After waiting for pick up for 3 days in an heated brooder, they now have a mama too.

I would love to know what you think about this.

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