Homestead Photojournal: 7.14.21
Broody's clutch of eight chicks is energetically exploring their new world today. After the anticipation--and concern, given the extreme heat--that we have felt over the past three weeks, we are almost as pleased as Broody seems to be. From the first moments they began scampering around her in the coop, she has been talking to them, directing them, and showing them how to eat and clean and live as a chicken.
When I went out to get some photos of them this afternoon, she was sitting very still in the shade, tucked behind a clump of grass and presiding like a sentinel over her peeping flock. They wandered back and forth, alternately exploring away from the group and then hurriedly running back to the safety of their mother hen. They tried eating raspberries. They tried eating button weeds. They tried scratching themselves, and lost their balance. They laid in the sun and imitated their mother's behavior as she sunned and dust bathed, stretching out their tiny wings that have no feathers yet.
There were three eggs that didn't hatch, and we opened each to diagnose what went wrong. One was infertile, another was midway through development, and the third was fully developed. The second two were probably victims of the heat, either getting too warm during development or becoming "shrink wrapped" in the shell membrane when the humidity dropped too low. We are deeply grateful for the eight who survived. They are mostly black with some cream and gray thrown in, showing their Marans, Barred Rock, and Australorp parentage. It is a beautiful little flock--balls of fuzz with legs.