I’ve stolen a chicken!

Meet my new baby

Meet my new baby

Our chicken fence is a bit of a joke.  When we took the fences down to build raised beds, we were left with all these farm gates so we lashed them together and built a fence of sorts for the chickens. Over the years the weeds have grown through the fence, taking a firm strangle hold and slowly but surely pulled the fence down.

Not exactly what you would call secure!

Not exactly what you would call secure!

One of our more determined chickens took full advantage of this loophole  and snuck off to lay eggs in secret and found a perfect spot not far from the fence and created an igloo amongst the bindweed, which is another corner of shame we have.

Of course now all the other chickens have figured out they can get out that way too, and with no regard for the rules, walk over the weed infested gate like it is little more than a hill to be climbed, and make their way casually to my veggie patch. Luckily at this time of year there isn’t too much for them to destroy before I discover them and march them back in through the front door.  This situation will be rectified really soon.

Anyway, back to my tale of fowl felony….

The mum chicken, who doesn’t have a name because having a rooster has meant chickens come and go with such regularity that you don’t want to get attached to the babies in case they become boys, so you hold off with any naming ceremony until the boys have gone, only for some other sneaky mum to show up with a secret brood.  We aren’t all that great at managing livestock.  Imagine what we’d be like with cows!

A proud mum

A proud mum

Anyway… yesterday the un-named mum chicken wandered out from under her igloo with seven cute little cheeping and peeping egg shaped fluffy bums. Who were immediately photographed and put on facebook – as you do….  As the evening closed in we thought it would be safer to round them up and move them into the coop. Armed with a mop and a broom,  Hubby the Un-Gardener and Tim the Helper attempted to herd them in.  They weren’t having a lot of luck as the theory ‘an army marches as fast as it’s slowest soldier’ also applies to a new chicken family.  It was then we noticed an eighth chick who seemed to be the one holding things up.

Not being afraid of a broody overprotective mum, I – at great risk – swooped in and gathered up chicks in great handfuls and took them into the coop to the nest I had pre-made for them – to which I might add – they didn’t use!  Then I shooed an angry mum in after them and all was well.

I noticed in the igloo there were some un-hatched eggs that didn’t stand a chance as the babies didn’t appear to want to sit still, and mum was constantly up chasing them all about, rounding them back up.  Once she had them near, she would purr like a contented cat…  She seemed to be doing a great job for an octomum.  So I put the eggs in with another broody chicken who is in for a bit of a surprise if they hatch and an even bigger one if they explode!

There is nothing more restorative than a good sleep, a good feed and something to drink.

There is nothing more restorative than a good sleep, a good feed and something to drink.

That was yesterday.  This morning she taught her brood how to escape, but left one behind and I found the smallest eighth chick crying all by itself in the coop while the others were out frolicking under the trees with mum.  I took the little fella over to mum, but he struggled to keep up and when they clambered over a log, he was on his own again.  (I say he – but I think and hope it’s a girl)  So I gathered him up and took him inside.  He was hungry, thirst and not at all steady on his feet.  So I fed and watered him and tucked him up in a bed on a hot water bottle with a teddy bear for company and he had a good sleep.

Chicken is such a mild mannered rooster.  He really looks after his girls and his kids.

Chicken is such a mild mannered rooster. He really looks after his girls and his kids.

Having perked up a little I took him home again to mum, who was hanging out with Dad and they were all having a lovely time learning how to look for food.  Chicken is such a lovely rooster and a fantastic Dad.  He was being so gentle to the babies.  All was going well, although I could see just how small and unsteady my chick was next to his siblings.  Then they all moved away and my baby was left disorientated and unnoticed by his family.  Once they had gone some distance, I went in to see if bubby was OK and mum decided to charge me and came out all aggressive – but in the process, she stood on the baby and squashed him.  Well that was it!  If she wasn’t going to look after him – I would, and at great risk of peckage – I reached in and scooped him up – He’s mine now.

Shhhh  he's sleeping.  He's in good hands now.

Shhhh he’s sleeping. He’s in good hands now.

Come again soon –I wonder how a four day old chicken will enjoy a six hour car trip as we go away for the Easter break?

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

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28 Comments on “I’ve stolen a chicken!

    • Hi Claire. She’s a lovely wee bird – although a bit noisy with all the peeping and cheeping. I found that just like newborn babies – if you wrap them up all cosy it settles them and they go to sleep. Too cute!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  1. Lol, urm can I ask how long before you find out the sex (never kept chickens so don’t know these things) and, urm, how are you going to cope if he is a he and not a she? Lovely little fella though and I cant quite understand your need to rescue him form his mum 🙂

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    • Hi there. I spent a lot of time this evening looking on line at how to determine the sex of a chicken and luckily there is a way you can tell in a day old chick by looking at the feathers. If I’ve got it right I think she is a girl – Phew!
      I think if we had left her she would have died, and I couldn’t bare the thought. Can you tell we’re not proper farmers?
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  2. He’s soooooo tiny! I can’t help it but I’ve been nurturing emu chicks for the last month and now chickens look like teacup miniatures. (And I’d rescue him, too.)

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    • Hi there. I am calling the chicken a she in faith that she will be a she. She is such a cute we poppet and makes her siblings who are only hours older look big. I’m not entirely sure of what we have gotten ourselves into though.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Lol I had no idea the rooster was called Chicken 🙂 Perhaps a shoebox may be an idea for the trip?

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    • Hi Mel. That’s what happens when you get a three year old Joey to name a chicken. So far the cat cage and Toms shirt pocket are places she likes.
      Cheers S : o ) xx

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  4. Awww…what a tiny little thing! We keep our babies inside for a few weeks before we turn them loose with the rest of the flock. You do get used to the peep peep peeping. 🙂

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    • Hi Jenn. The rest of her brothers and sisters are outside being taught the ways of the world by mum. I think this one is going to be a little spoiled. I hope when the time comes to be a normal chicken things go smoothly.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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    • Thank you for your kind words. I think there is something irresistible about those fluffy little egg shaped bodies. I couldn’t just leave her to her fate. She’s too cute for that.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  5. I feel a “Pingu” coming on! Pingu was our deserted baby that Steve found on her last legs in the coop and we brought her inside and bought an expensive infrared globe for her (she had her own disco in Steve’s music room 😉 ) BUT Pingu is a “strange” chook and I think that her near death experience has left her permenantly flighty and a bit mental. She was almost dispatched 3 times by Earl, the last time we were sure she was a goner but she escaped and flew off the deck. Rather than leave her terrified of dogs she now stands her ground with a steely eye and a crazed look of “Bring it on dog!” that is entirely suicidal as Earl can still taste those tail feathers from last time…we were bad chook landlords as well till our chooks went ballistic and we had babies coming out all over the place and we got very tired of everything being denuded of mulch, greenery and now we only have 3 chooks outside the coop (we couldn’t catch them…they were born feral). Its a good medium at the moment as there are 2 roosters and a hen. If they breed they can be the “outside” chooks that eat the grubs etc. They don’t do much damage (so far) aside from tunnelling halfway to China in search of bugs. Good luck with your chook and here’s hoping its a girl 🙂

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    • Hi Fran. Those cute wee babies just suck you in. This little one is keeping warm with my wine making heat mat under a cat cage, when she’s not sleeping in Hubby the Un-Gardeners shirt pocket! I had a look at the pin feathers on her wings, after extensive research and I have decided she is a girl – so I girl she will be. I do hope I’m right!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  6. Pingback: Speckled Eggs | gardeningnirvana

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