Mama hen has left the brooder coop, taking her chicks with her. They scramble around so quickly that I wasn’t able to get better pictures of them.
I love watching a mother hen and her chicks. Whereas chickens are normally timid and easily frightened, a mother hen stands her ground and puffs up at perceived danger, to defend her chicks. Whereas chickens normally quickly grab and gobble up any food they find, a mother hen stands over it clucking, to get the chicks’ attention. Then she’ll pick it up and drop it a few times, to let the chicks understand what it is and what they’re to do with it.
At night, and frequently during the day, she’ll gather the chicks under her wings, to warm them with the heat from her bare belly (brooding hens lose the feathers on their underside to enable them to warm the eggs and chicks).
Very few chicks are raised naturally anymore. Even on small, sustainable farms it is normal to use an incubator or to get chicks from hatcheries.
This mother hen was hatched on this farm and now she’s brooding chicks of her own.
That makes us happy.