This time of the year when I hear Rick coming in the side door to the house (a door he seldom uses) and saying “Lora Lea, Guess what?” I know it is chick season!
On Easter an Ameraucana hatched out five little chicks and today a Naked-neck hen showed up with six more. The gestation period for chickens is twenty one days.
Rick had been watching all the nests, collecting most of the eggs. He always leaves a few eggs in the nest so the hen will keep coming back and laying more. If you take all of the eggs she knows that some predator, especially those sneaky humans, are getting them and she needs to find a new hiding place for her clutch of eggs.
When the hens start setting and won’t leave the nest, Rick stops taking the eggs and notes the date so he has a pretty good idea when it will be hatching time. (No, he doesn’t write it on the calender, he usually associates it with some event, like the WSU Agriculture students that were here in March)
In this rainy spring weather it is easy for the chicks to get chilled when their Mom takes them out of the nest looking for food. To protect the babies from the elements or predators, we pen them up in the barn and give them a dish of food and a chick safe waterer.
There are a few more chickens on nests around the farm, some we know about and others, well, some afternoon I will hear Rick come in the side door and say “Lora Lea, guess what?”