May 26, 2014

Lone Baby Chicken

I mentioned in my Chicken Moving Day that my broody hen was hatching out her little clutch of eggs. We ended up with only one chick from those five eggs, but it's a cutie.

4 days old, probably half Buff Orpington & half Silver Laced Wyandotte

I really like letting one of my hens hatch and raise chicks. Some folks think it's risky, but it's always gone well for me. I've never even tried an incubator. Letting a mama hen do it is definitely a work-smarter-not-harder way. I don't need a brooder lamp, nor do I have to tend to pasty butt. Mama does it all.

So far so good with the older chickens. They are curious but not aggressive.
Note the whitewash flaking off the walls already! Next time I'll add glue.

It is true that hand-raised chicks have the instincts to find food and water on their own. They also become more accustomed to a human presence and are somewhat more "friendly" as adults. But hen raised chicks seem to have more "street smarts" at an earlier age. Most importantly, I think everybody needs a mother!

There's no place like Mama.

I'll let Mama decide when to take Baby Chicken out into the chicken yard. Her hardware cloth fence is opened a bit during the day so they can explore the coop. So far none of the adult chickens have expressed more than a mild curiosity. Even so Mama does an excellent job of keeping herself between her chick and them (and me). Integrating chicks with the rest of the flock has always been a concern and a challenge, but so far so good. I hope it stays that way.

Lone Baby Chicken © May 2014 by 


The Cranky said...

I can't wait to see what your chick looks like in a couple of months; the combination of Buff Orpington and Silver-Laced Wyandotte is sure to be gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

What a cutie! I've got 1 crossbred duck brooding a clutch of 12 right now, so fingers crossed for lots of cute babies here in a few weeks. Another (a Muscovy) is thinking about it, and I'm letting her gather her eggs to see if she makes up her mind to be a mommy. It's been too cold until very recently.

Unknown said...

Although at times it might be necessary (pigs) i think Mamma nearly always does a better job than with human interference.

I like the way you raise your animals Leigh. Its so gentle and natural.

Bugger about the lime wash peeling.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Buffs make marvellous mothers. We bought ourselves an incubator about 5 years ago and have used it little as we have had so many broody hens of recent years.
We had a visit from the fox yesterday. he took two mothers and injured our new cockerel. We couldn't find the chicks and one mother hen immeadiately, but then found her hiding with six chicks under her. She only has one chick of her own. She has them with her still this morning.

Leigh said...

Jacqueline, so good to hear from you! It is fun to see what colors and markings we get. :)

Sue, how fun about the ducks. I do wish we had a pond or something so I could have ducks.

Lynda, pigs are in my future! One things about letting the mamas raise the young is that it's less work on me!

Oh no, Gill! That's very alarming news about the fox.

Anonymous said...

So cute! I am hoping my hens will do their natural thing also and hatch out some eggs for me in the future. They need to start laying first lol.

Woolly Bits said...

it sure makes for cute pictures! I like the last one - peeking out from under mama's butt:) pity that it's only one - it might end up spoiled like DS over here:)

Renee Nefe said...

bummer that you only got one chick...this mamma looks like she's a good one!
Hope that the new coop is up to keeping the varmints out.

The Homestead Lady said...

What a cute little chick...We have hatched chicks both ways...I like the incubator to replenish my layers quickly...And I like using broody hens(right now I have 6 broody all setting on clutches)as it just so cute to see mama with babies...but around here stray cats and a various sundry other critters always, always get the when mama hatches them I take and brood them...they are brooded in the hen house and incooperating them into the flock has never been an issue for us...Again, such a cute and warm pic of mama and baby...Loved it!

Cat Eye Cottage said...

Congrats on your baby, and it looks like mama is doing an excellent job. I believe in letting mama hen do it as well. Like you said, work smarter not harder. This year my Vanilli hatched 10 out of 13, and I have two more sitting on 6 each. One of my muscovy ducks hatched out 13, but we've lost two. Lots of babies around here, so extra mamas are necessary. I couldn't keep up with everyone of them!

Mama Pea said...

It always amazes me that a mama hen will have her three-day old chicks out in the foulest weather while we need to keep hatchery ordered chicks tucked in a warm brooder for weeks and weeks!

So far, hubby and I both like the Black Australorp breed best (and we've had a lot of different ones). They are such good egg producers for us and are a fairly big, bird for stewing BUT we've yet to have one go broody on us. Good thing we have bantam mamas who will sit on and hatch out anything!

Sandy Livesay said...


The little chick is adorable, I have to agree with you. Letting mama sit on her eggs, and take care of the hatching and the chick is something I would go for instead of an incubator.

Velva said...

Very cool- You are right sometimes it is best to let momma do her thing, and let her teach her chicks about chicken life (smile) Love it!


Unknown said...

aww... they are cute! One of my many dreams is to have chickens. Hopefully one day will come through!

Ellen and Adrian said...

Are you having any concern with your cats out on the prowl? We're about to close on our property, and DH is wanting some barn cats so terribly (he's allergic and can't have them in the house). We've had rat issues on our suburban farm, so I know cats would help with that, and our experience hatching out a chick is definitely something I want to repeat. I'm not sure how to introduce both species without some serious forethought.