I actually have a card to share with you today, but first I must write this post. It's just too fun!
A little background: Crazy Dark Brown Hen went missing about a month or more ago. We were sad. Then one day, Alan saw her milling around with the other chickens. All was good. Then she went missing again...
We figured she'd made herself a little nest somewhere hidden from view and was sitting on who KNOWS how many eggs! Did you know it only takes 21 days for an egg to develop into a full-sized, ready to hatch chick?
One day, Alan saw her go into the TALL weeded area near our drain field, so at least we knew where she was. We just couldn't find her nest. It rained and rained and RAINED for several days and nights. I was sure that she would get rained out of her little hidden nest, or if she managed to stay on her nest, that the eggs would take in too much water and wouldn't hatch.
Then one day, Alan saw her out on the sidewalk all fluffed out like she was guarding baby chicks under her wings! Sure enough! She not only managed to survive her time sitting, but she also managed to hatch some babies even though we received several inches of rain during that time!
To keep her and her babies safe, we've been keeping them in a brooder until they were a bit bigger and could better tolerate being around the larger chickens. I started letting them out during the day so they can run around and be busy little chickens, but still keeping them in the brooder at night for safety.
Yesterday evening while I was out and about taking photos on the farm, I found Crazy Dark Brown Hen next to the garage getting her and her babies ready for bed. How they managed to get on top of a double stack of hay bales is beyond me. They're just so little, they must have really given it their all.
These photos aren't the greatest ... the sun was almost set, I was in the shadow of the garage, I had the camera set to allow as much light as possible for the shot, but that meant I had to have a really shallow depth of focus. So as much as it pains me, the photos are not as good as they could be. But they capture a moment in time here on the farm that was just too cute NOT to photograph. So please excuse the soft focus of the photos. It was the best I could do with the light and camera gear I had with me.
Can you guess how many chicks she has in this photo?
The day that we saw her with her chicks for the first time, we also found her nest. She had been sitting on 14 eggs. She hatched three. Just in case there were others about ready to hatch, we gathered the eggs and put them under another hen who'd just started sitting in the chicken yard but didn't have any eggs to sit on. We don't like to let the hens in the chicken yard sit because the other hens are a danger to the babies if and when they hatch. But she was a good, immediately "warm" spot for the eggs.
A couple of days passed and I decided that since there weren't any other hatches, that I would toss out the eggs. I didn't want them to be a mess for the sitting hen. I lifted the sitting hen off the eggs and saw that three of them were in the process of hatching! Not wanting the babies to hatch with all the other hens around (it would be disasterous), I gathered up the eggs and took them in the house and put them in the incubator. Three chicks hatched that day, and three more hatched in the two days to follow. They're being raised by me in a brooder with a couple other specialty breed chicks I hatched in the incubator the week prior. *grin*