A New Home for our Chickens
The foxes and racoons were getting too bold and coming into our barnyard, so we built a new moveable coop for our chickens.
I love our chickens. They like to “sing” and seem so content as they scratch for their food in the grass. They also eat grass, so our new coop has no bottom so the chickens can eat bugs and grass. We try to move the “chicken tractor” to a new spot every day.
One day in the winter I looked out the window at the barn yard and was puzzled by what I saw. Was that a little brown leaf blowing around that big black hen or was it–chicks?! I hurried outside and there around that hen were seven little chicks–tiny puffs of downy fur scurrying around and staying right close to the mother hen. Four were tan and three were black. They were so tiny I thought they must have hatched that day.
We have had chickens for many years as we live on this little “homestead” and I think this was the second time a hen managed to hide her eggs and sit on them until they hatched. The mother hen constantly makes a clucking sound and the little chicks are drawn to that sound like magic. Mother hen scratches in the dirt and the little one’s poke their little beaks in the dirt–finding what? Maybe bugs, maybe bits of grain or straw or grass.
Later that day, as it was getting dark, I followed the mother hen as she led her chicks through clumps of grass to a secluded place near a stone wall. The chicks had a little difficulty keeping up with her, but eventually they reached where she had settled down. One by one they disappeared into her feathers. It was a very cold day but the mother hen seemed to know how long she could let the little ones run around before she squatted and they buried themselves in her feathers. At that point I could see no evidence of the chicks. All I could see was a hen sitting on the ground. Later, when Jim gathered the hen and chicks to give them a safe pace in the barn, he said the chicks were toasty warm.
You can purchase a copy of my memoir, Searching for the Sacred, My Life on a Homestead on my website here.