Chicks and Kids

For any interested, and who didn’t notice the postscript to yesterday’s post, the hen has happily adopted all twelve chicks now.


She huffs up like this to make herself look more dangerous


Here she’s settled down

Isn’t it interesting that these hatchery-chicks, who were hatched in an incubator and had never seen a hen, recognize a hen and understand what they are to do? She clucks and they come running to her for protection and warmth. Makes me think of the hundreds of millions of chicks (nearly every chick hatched in the developed world these days) that never see a hen or have the opportunity to act on those instincts.

It’s pouring down rain this morning, so I fully expected to find shivering newborn kids in the pasture. But, alas, still waiting.


20 comments on “Chicks and Kids

  1. Ed says:

    Nature versus nurture questions have always intrigued me and I sometimes think I should have gone the science/biology route versus the math/engineering route I took.


  2. What a great surrogate mother she makes.
    : )


  3. thecrazysheeplady says:

    I always find it interesting that bottle lambs grow up to be perfect moms :-).


  4. Glad to see that the hen has taken all the babies in!


  5. hilarymb says:

    Hi Bill – nature is extraordinary … and the sheep were wise to wait – rain so young doesn’t help … but lovely to read about – cheers Hilary


    • Bill says:

      There is no reason for them to kid in the rain, given that we have nice warm dry stalls they can use. But sometimes they do and if it’s a cold rain it is very dangerous for them. It’s raining now, so I’ll have to go check on them soon. 🙂


  6. valbjerke says:

    We had a banty Cochin hen who spent the first few years of her life trying to hatch her own clutch of eggs to no avail (lack of appropriately sized rooster to blame). However, if one of the other regular size hens hatched any chicks out, she would promptly take the whole lot as hers and fuss over them and rear them. As our ‘hatching’ hens got older and did not get replaced, she would instead perk right up when the new layer chicks came in the mail and got put in the brooder room. She would stand by the wall and listen to the peeping for the next few weeks until we deemed the chicks big enough to move out of the brooder – at which time we simply popped them in with her. There is no funnier sight than to watch a hen that couldn’t have weighed a total of two pounds – fluff herself up and spread her wings and happily fuss over twenty or so regular sized chicks. That little hen lived until she was twelve, two winters ago we noticed she was moving slower than usual, and not so talkative. We hung a heat lamp for her, made her a nest of hay, put food and water low so she could reach it. Of course she simply was at the end of her time, a week later she was gone. I always understood that she naturally had the ‘mother hen’ instinct – but like you, found it interesting that hatchery chicks would happily gravitate to a hen 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bill says:

      The chicks and the hen seem to love each other, notwithstanding their unorthodox introduction. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • barnraised says:

        Chickens are so interesting I’ve come to learn this past year. Our goats and lone sad hen were able to bond and become a “flock”. Long story, I might write a post on it but anyways-it worked. She also hangs out on the horses backs.


  7. Everyone love a happy adoption story, Bill. Congratulations to the chick and chickens. 🙂 –Curt


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