At the end of March, Bonnie and Emmylou co parented seven chicks. They did this last year, too. It’s funny to see them each try to get the attention of the chicks – to come snuggle under them for warmth or to come eat the goodies they have unearthed.
Above, Bonnie and Emmylou share one side of the brooder box with all seven chicks.
A week later, Dixie hatched two chicks.
Above, Nastasha awaits her turn to be a mother hen.
Poppa comes along.
And the following week Nastasha hatches ten!
A couple of the hens laid their eggs on this stack of straw. But this is our rooster. A bit confused? Or maybe just a place to get away from it all!
The chickens did a great job of keeping down the winter weeds in the barn garden.
One of Nastasha’s chicks was injured. I found it peeping under one of the elderberry bushes in the barn garden. She had left it out of necessity. With nine other chicks to feed she can’t do anything for the injured one.
We had fun with him for a week and then he disappeared on Easter Sunday when we were in Charlottesville for the day. We had left him in the chicken tractor in the backyard. Our guess is he squeezed out from under it and one of the cats got him. Too bad, but it really wasn’t a sustainable situation. Little chicks are very demanding of food – constantly! A few days later I noticed Nastasha was down to eight chicks. I’m not sure if any others were lost – with so many chicks running around it is hard to tell!
We traded two of our one year old hens for an osage orange tree. We planted it on the property line in the pasture. It is good for a hedge and great for firewood.
Once we can tell the roosters from the hens, we will try to sell, trade or give away some of the chicks. I think we have a total of 30 birds and that is really too many. I’m sure we will end up processing roosters once they are big enough to make it worth while.