Saturday, April 30, 2016

New Chicks At Windmill Farm-Loving All Things Beautiful In Nature

Nature still inspires me even after all these years.  The wonder of seeing a plant growing after I place a tiny seed in the ground in the garden. The beauty of fruit trees blooming.  Seeing honey bees congregating in mass at our fountain, drinking water.  The Cecile Brunner Rose blooming with so many blossoms, you can't see the green of the plant.
We have always had animals and livestock during our years ranching and farming.  I love geese and have had many, many little goslings that grew up to enjoy themselves as adults on our pond.  We raised beef cows and during the worst snow store in Nevada City, a mother cow was having difficulty giving birth.  The only enclosure that was dry was our huge greenhouse so that is where we put her to have her calf.  Of course, it wasn't during the day, but at 1 am on a work night.  Baby pigs that escape from their pen to take off and we spend hours trying to round them up.  After giving up, we head back home and all 6 of them are at the front gate of their house wanting to get back into it.
I mentioned before that I used to raise canaries and finches and at one time had 100s of them in outside aviaries.  Beautiful songs, but lots of heart breaks too.  
Chickens have been at every place where we lived, from chicks to exotic to the normal.  I guess I am getting a little nostalgic as Mother's Day is getting close.  But as I watched one of my sweet hens sitting in a nest box for weeks and weeks, I felt sorry for her.
 Most of the time, there wouldn't be any eggs under her.  And I do not have a rooster anyways, but nature is telling her she needs to nest, to make a warm and safe place to hopefully, hear the cheep cheep from a new born chick.  
She fearsley claimed her one spot that she guarded during all this time.  I removed her a few times, much to her anger at me, but within minutes, she would quickly go get a drink, a quick bite of food and then back to her task of "brooding".
I got up early yesterday and did some errands and somehow, I ended up at Wheeler Ranch and Feed asking for 4 baby chicks.  
The last time I raised chicks, I said I wouldn't do it again since it took so much time, sometimes a baby chick wouldn't make and 
I would be sad; I constantly had to make sure our dogs or neighbor's cats would not kill them.  But there I was, determined to make this sweet hen happy for all her efforts.  And I might add, I have done this before and 90% of the time, the brooding hen wouldn't accept the chicks, so they would be raised separately until old enough to be included with the rest of the lady hens.
My thought was that I would wait until dark and put them under her when she couldn't see them, just hear them.  So I kept them in the garage with a light, food, water for most of the day.  But I grew impatient to see if this experiment would work with her, so I put all of them in a towel and gently placed each one under her to see what she would do.

Have you ever heard a mother hen talk to her baby chicks??? Amazing, she calms them, she teaches with her voice, she sends loving cooing noises as they move around under neath her body and wings.  If she doesn't want the new chicks, you know immediately, her sound is harsh, loud, mean.
I waited to see what she was going to do and I only heard the soft cooing sound as they settled under her warm feathers.  So much nicer to stay warm under a down blanket of "Moms" feathers, than a heat light. She was so happy, so proud, she touched each one.  I didn't want to leave, I was afraid one of the other hens in the house would hurt the baby chicks, I was afraid she might change her mind; I was afraid that if she decided to get up, the chicks would fall out of the nest.  But I had to let nature take over and went into the house to cook dinner.  After a few hours, it became dark and I went into the hen house to see what happened.  All was quiet and safe and 4 baby chicks were as happy as they could be and so was the "Momma".
The next morning my immediate thoughts were how the chicks were and how the other hens were treating them and was she going to be a good mother to them.  They were in the same spot, nothing different so my next worry was that if she didn't start moving around, the chicks wouldn't have food or water.  So I picked all 4 out from under her and placed them in the corner of the hen house with water and food next to them.  Boy, the new Momma was out of the nest, all her feathers fluffed up to their maximum, mad as, well "Mad As A Wet Hen", at me for taking her babies.  The mother instinct was working, she chuckled some new sounds and they rounded up around her and she made a nest on the floor in the corner.  One thing I had never seen before, as they were under her in their new location, she started pulling feathers from around her tail and under her and pushing them around her.  She was making a new soft nest for her babies!!! Again, the wonder of nature.  After 6 or 7 more trips to check on her today, all is well and they all seem to be happy as can be.  I tried taking photos of how cute they all are, but some are not as sharp as I would like them to be.  I think my adoption intervention has worked.
I guess as Mother's Day approaches, I do get sentimental about my mother, my grandmother and memories I have of them long past.  And our life together, Frank and I.  The sweetest and dearest event of our lives was when our daughter was born, but it was topped by another wonderous moment to be with our daughter when she gave birth first to our grand daughter and second to be there at the birth of our grand son now giving us our two beautiful two grandchildren.   
From Mary Lake Thompson, LLC
I hope you are enjoying the wonders of spring and nature and if I don't get back here until next weekend, Happy Mother's Day!!!

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