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Broody Midnight and her baby chicks!!!

Posted by on August 2, 2011
At exactly 21 days, we made the trip up to Monroe to pick out some new baby chicks that Midnight would hopefully raise as her own. Monroe Farm and Feed had an incredible selection of chicks; some pullets, some straight-run. Some of them were very young, some of them were starting to develop their combs already! I would have gladly taken one of each but settled for four; two araucanas, one welsummer and one cuckoo maran. These were all pullets at the baby stage — it seemed that Midnight would be most likely to adopt babies, and I like a little peace of mind that there’s more than a 50% chance they’ll be hens. My mother-in-law, Trudy, was with me for the excursion. When I mentioned my grand surrogate plan earlier in their visit, her eyes lit up since she was going to be here to see it all go down.Early Saturday afternoon, we were on our way home with four tiny chicks peeping away in a box in the back seat of the car. I was so excited!

cuckoo maran by stephk
cuckoo maran, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

Too excited, maybe. When we got home, I went ahead and tucked them in with Midnight. That didn’t go so well. Midnight pecked at the little maran and seemed agitated, so we moved the babies to the other end of the coop, making sure they couldn’t get out, and others couldn’t get in. Naturally we couldn’t help but peek in on them throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

sleepy peep by stephk
sleepy peep, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

As it started to get dark, I decided it was time to try it again. We barricaded Midnight into the nesting box, and placed the peeps under/around her. She didn’t immediately reject them, so we sat outside for a while so that we could hear any troubling squawks and squeals. Everything sounded good so we checked on them one last time for the night and headed inside.

Protector, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

The next morning, I headed right outside to see what was going on. Mama and babies were all together and everyone made it through the night. Whew! Hooray! I rather-obsessively checked on them throughout the day, and we removed the barricade and took measures to make sure that no one would fall through the trap door.

Untitled by stephk
Untitled, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

It’s now Tuesday and the five of them are one happy little family. This little project has caused some upset for the other birds. The red birds (Ginger and Penney) and the two old birds (Jazzy and Yogi) don’t get along, so sharing a coop is out of the question. G+P have their coop to themselves, and J+Y are sleeping in a cardboard in the ‘downstairs’ area of their coop. For now, this will have to work. I am thinking that I will move Midnight and her brood to the other coop and give them half of the upstairs, and the red birds the other half. I just want to make sure that she’s not going to abandon her flock and I would think that a week is long enough for them to form that bond.

Mama Midnight and baby araucana by stephk
Mama Midnight and baby araucana, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

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