Thursday, June 10, 2010

ATTACK Chicken!

While I know all (ok, MOST...) hens will protect their babies, I have a particularly evil hen who isn't the LEAST bit afraid of just about anything when it comes to protecting her brood.

It started a couple days ago....

There is a different hen - one of the Buff-Orphingtons - sitting on her nest in the corner of one of the rooms in the barn. It's a nice place to be - peaceful, quiet, and nobody disturbs you - except me - so I left her there. Her eggs are getting close to hatching, so I have been watching her pretty close.

The other day, Sunday, I believe, I was in to check on her and heard peeping noises. "Great!", says I, "I wonder how many she has...." I deftly slid my hand under her feathers and eased her up to look. She "squawked", but didn't really "fight" me.

I found exactly ZERO....

Odd - I still heard peeping. Now, instead of going to where I was SURE the chicks were, I used my super-bionic one-ear hearing to follow the sound.... Amazingly, the sounds lead me to a spot about 12' across the room, where I found ANOTHER hen on a nest. In the two weeks I had been watching the first hen, I had never seen the second one.

Give me a break, though, it's a dark room, the hen is small, she was tucked into a "hole" amongst the remnants of a hay bale, and inside a pallet. Oh yeah, she was also BLACK.

She was the one who had a large brood last year hiding inside a plastic feeder. She is mostly Black Maran, but has other breeds in her. Black beak, black feathers, black legs, black eyes, black comb - basically, she looks like a Crow on steroids.

At any rate, she KNEW what I was up to when she realized her position had been compromised.

She jumped off the nest, and ran/flew at me at full speed. She was so adamant at keeping me at bay, that I got what glimpse that I could - counting 6 chicks - and let her calm down.

Momma Crow

I managed to snap a couple photos of the chicks, before I was rudely "escorted" out of the room. Some of the chicks have odd legs - black with yellow toes. More odd, some of them look like little owls.

Six Chicks

This morning, I figured she had had enough, and decided to move the brood into the brooder house so I had a better chance of them surviving.

Mom didn't want ANY part of it....

Once again, she knew what was going on right when I walked into the room. As soon as she saw me, she tried to chase me away from her youngin's. I was on the receiving end of dive bombing, all out Bonsai charges, hit and runs, even swift kicks. She just DIDN'T want to give up without a fight.

Meanwhile, the first hen just sat there on her eggs, and let us duke it out, unfazed by the whole process.

Sitting Tight

At one point, when I was bent down to snatch up a chick, mom broadsided me in the side of the head. I'm lucky she hit me with her side, and not her feet.

I finally got all 6 chicks caught and into a bucket. It took about 10 minutes, and a LOT of dodging, but they were all snagged.

I picked up the bucket, and headed for the door. Mom, refusing to give up, kept hopping up 3-4 feet in the air and kicking me in the back and on the back side of my legs. It was more annoying than anything, but it was nifty to see just how far she'd go. At that point, she HAD to know her kids were snatched by the evil human, but she refused to give up.

The last I heard from her was a LOUD squawk and a THUD against the door I shut between her and I.

I haven't seen her in about 5 hours - and don't WANT to.

I'm too chicken to face her....

3 comments:

  1. Could mama have some Easter Egger/Americauna in her? Her hawkish head and dark legs (and fluffy-looking cheeks/chin from what I can see in the photo) are suspect. I hatched several Easter Egger x Black Australorp chicks last year and most had the oddly mixed yellow and gray legs/feet. Just a thought. (As a sidenote, the rooster I kept from that brood was mean as all get out...he's been "rehomed."

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  2. Ha, ha............what a good momma!

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  3. She DOES have some "Easter Egger" in her, but she sure looks and ACTS like a Maran. I've seen her fly up to the top of the barn where the others only get about 4' off the ground.

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