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King Solomon’s Dilemma August 19, 2006

Posted by Laura in Farm.
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We have a new round of chicks.  The determination of the hens to repopulate the chicken yard has finally paid off for them.  In addition to the broodies in the nesting boxes staging a sit-in, a Barred Rock chicken found a feeding pan in the window of the toolshed/barn and laid a nice stockpile of eggs.  Two weeks had gone by before we realized it.  By then, we knew the eggs weren’t any good anyway, so we just let her do her thing.

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About 3 days later, we noticed that the black and white hen setting them had been replaced by a White Rock hen.  Strange.  The displaced Barred Rock hen then chased another chicken off her stash of eggs and began setting in the nesting boxes.  Sunday morning, she was the one with a new baby chick. 

Here’s where it gets sticky-  her baby (that would have been another hen’s baby if she hadn’t been muscled out) disappeared.   This is one that we believe was eaten by a snake.  But, by golly, she wanted a baby and was going to get one.

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The next morning, another hen had a hatchling.  Looked pretty much just like the lost one.  Both mamas decided to claim it.  They are both trying to feed and defend it.  I’m not sure how both of them are managing to sit on it to keep it warm (like it should need that in August!), but thus far they have worked it out.  We’ll see if they can keep living in harmony or not.

What about the feedpan mama?  Well, seven identical-looking black chicks began to peck their way out of their shells on Monday.  One never made it all the way out into the big world and two others died within the first few hours (it still bothers me when that happens).  The remaining four are healthy chirping fuzzballs running around their mama’s feet.  I wonder if it bothers the mama that her babies don’t look like her, but then again, what did she expect when she stole another hen’s eggs?

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