Amenadiel, my Buff Orpington, decided that February was a great month to hatch some chicks.
(Yes, I watch Lucifer, and the only reason I named a “blonde” chicken after a black character on the show was because when the chicks were small, there were three that were easily identified, and it was a roll of the dice who got what name. And it was too early to tell if Amy, as we call her, was a boy or girl, so there we are. For what it’s worth, Lucifer ended up a Luci as well, but that’s what they call him on the show, anyway.)
I could have stopped her. You just take the eggs away and put a bit of ice under the hen. That stops the broody behavior quickly, but I honestly thought it was too cold for the eggs to even hatch. Silly me.
When I got home yesterday, I found Amy huddled on the ground with four chicks under her. And five dead chicks scattered throughout the enclosure.
I removed the little corpses so that decomposition didn’t poison the flock, and set Amy up with a well-lined box that she used exactly once and promptly ignored thereafter.
I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s way too early for this, but since the flock has completely accepted them, we’re going to let it go and see what happens.
It’s not worth it to bring them inside. If I do, I will have to reintroduce them to the flock after keeping them inside for weeks, and that is a long, miserable process that might end up in death, anyway.
Right now, Azrael, the alpha rooster, is being a wonderful daddy, tuttutting at the chicks and tossing crumbs to them and Amy. He also pecked hard at Einstein, the Grande Dame of the flock, when she almost stepped on a chick.
Castiel, the beta rooster, is completely useless, but pretty, so here’s a picture of him. Yes, that Castiel.
I have to somehow clean the big coop (deep litter method!) with a pitchfork and new straw, without somehow stepping on a chick or causing a riot with the other chickens who go nuts over new straw. (SEEDS OMG SEEDS!)
Cross your fingers. They’ve lived about four days, from the looks of them, so with luck and a good mommy and daddy and a careful Treat and Cleaning Lady, they might make it.
Update: 1:38 p.m. We’re down to three chicks. Looks like this one succumbed to pasty butt. *sigh* The other three look pretty perky, so continue to cross your fingers.