Foster Moms

Foster Moms

Daisy with her babies

Cochin hens make great foster mothers.  My cochins don’t seem mind that they are not the biological mothers of the new chicks because they give them love and care as if they were their very own.

The chicks arrived at the post office early Thursday.  We brought them inside the house to our back bathroom, where I set up a brooder with a heat lamp ahead of time.

The shipping box moments within opening. They are all crowded together to survive the unusually cold weather Texas was having the day they shipped.
The temporary brooder box with water, food, and a heat lamp in the bathroom

They spent the remainder of the day eating and drinking.  I also made sure they were all doing well.  Late that night, I slipped my hand under each brooding hen, pulled out a few fake eggs they had been sitting on and quietly pushed  a few chicks under.  About 15 minutes later, I repeated the process.  I did this until all the chicks were under their new moms.  At first Daisy was a little flustered, but I stayed and observed that she really was just trying to get comfortable.  I came out at dawn the next morning to check on them, to find both mama hens carefully covering their foster babies on their nests.   Each hen had her own temporary pen, separate from the other adult hens, at least for the first week. Now, they call the babies when they have a tiny tidbit to show them to eat, they calm them with their cooing, alert them to freeze if they see the cat or other shadow that scares them, and regularly cover the chicks when they chirp that they are cold.  None of my cochins mamas have ever tried to peck at me when I handle the chicks, and the mothers show the chicks human hands are safe things to get treats out of.  They make the job of raising chicks so much more delightful and easy.

Daisy with a chick playing piggy back...they do this all day long
Lady Cluck, sitting at the edge of her open pen, contemplating if it is warm enough to take the kids out for a stroll in the sun.
Yup, warm enough! Time to take a dust bath.
The other ladies come check out the new babies while George enjoys the warm sun in the background.

One thought on “Foster Moms

  1. I live in Long Beach, 90815; my sister lives a mile from me and also has pet chickens. 🙂

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