Night Moves

Day 19 of 365

Well, dear readers, it worked! Kate remains broody and has accepted being broody in her new digs!

Late last night, I snuck into the coop where she was sleeping in the nest box. I bird-napped the poor girl but took her warm eggs with her. Well, most of the eggs.

I had left three eggs under her, but when I scooped her up, I could find just two eggs. I have had broody hens hang onto the eggs, so I kept feeling around her the best I could. I finally had to give up and just accept the two eggs and Kate. Just as we made it to the garage, from some Kate crevice, out popped the egg onto the garage floor. No matter though. The two eggs did the trick.

Look at Kate in her new chicken mama house! She’s so cute in there I almost can’t stand it.

When I went to check on her this morning, she was on her eggs! She had even built up a little nook of a nest with the straw and seemed quite content. Phase 1 of operation Copper Maran complete. Next week will be the most stressful part, but I’m thankful for finally convincing Kate the dog crate will be a safer starter home for her baby chicks.

I have discovered, over the years, that you can get away with a lot at night when it comes to chickens. That’s why I decided to move Kate at night. It also has to be at night when we switch out her eggs with baby chicks. When I have to do any kind of health check on chickens, I do that at night as well.

I don’t know exactly what happens to chickens at night, but I guess they sleep hard. I may have to research this. In fact, I will have to research this. One of the best tricks of chicken keeping is learning to do the stuff you need to do at night. In fact, when you introduce new chickens to your flock, it’s best to do it at night. I mean, you do some minor daytime introduction, but you make the big move at night. This is considered a chicken keeping best practice.

If the chickens wake up together, they are more likely to accept each other. It’s like, “oh, I guess you’ve been here all along. I’ll go with this.”

There are many ways chickens are like humans. Chickens are curious, brave, stubborn, social, petty, mean, and they definitely have cliques. Temple Grandin, scientist and animal behaviorist, has said that animal emotions are like human emotions, only simpler. Not that she needs confirmation, but I can definitely confirm this through my observations. I am forever amazed at basic similarities between us, I guess because chickens are also social animals.

One of the cutest things is that my flock conveys hope and disappointment so obviously. My wonderful neighbor feeds our chickens healthy scraps at the garden gate all the time. The chickens know her very well, so every time she comes out to her garden, they come running–so hopefully! I will see her sometimes say something to them, something along the lines of “I don’t have any treats today.” Those chickens will slowly turn around, heads dropped, and gradually head back to what they were doing with such an air of disappointment. It’s the cutest thing ever.

But chickens and humans differ in some key ways, of course. If I woke up in the morning to find five or six new people in my house, there would be some freaking out.

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And I have to add a quick Ruby update, of course. She’s doing well. She had watermelon for a treat today, and she has just three to four days to go! Babies should start hatching on Tuesday or so.