24 November 2015

A Hard Knock Life

Growing up fast!
Like Henry, the chicks that our hen hatch shortly after our son's birth are growing up fast. They're now much too big to snuggled under their mother's wings for warmth (thankfully they've feathered out themselves nicely and stay warm just fine) and though the mother hen keeps an eye out for them, she's also the first to push them out of the way when it comes to eating time.
Mother watching over her chick.
Speaking of an eye out, one of the three surviving chicks was named Cyclopes. I'm not entirely sure how it happened--if it was a genetic deformity, disease, or, most likely, someone poking her eye out with a sharp peck--but, for a time, we had a Cyclopes.
Meet Cyclopes!
Of course, I speak of Cyclopes in the past tense because, well, she didn't last long (and I didn't really think she would). She was blind on her bad side and it was only a matter of time before a sneaky predator got her. It's not clear if it was a hawk, a fox, a stray dog or cat or another of the myriads of hungry animals that gets desperate as winter sets in and their food sources hibernate, but one Sunday afternoon before we headed to church, all we found of Cyclopes was a pile of meticulously plucked out feathers. Poor Cyclopes.
The chicks are quick when it comes to fetching scraps.
It's a hard knock life for chickens, especially if you're a chick. Of the eggs that were fertilized, one was cracked before it was ready to hatch, another couldn't escape her shell because she had an under bite that prevented her from being able to use her egg tooth, our cats ate one, thinking it was their very own feathered hors d'oeurve, and an unknown predator got Cyclopes. There are only two chicks left and, if they happen to be roosters, well, we know what happens to extra roosters around here.
Look how tiny they were...
Once winter is over, we'll be hatching more eggs and with a bit more diligence and luck, will make sure life isn't quite so hard knock for them.

(As long as they don't turn out to be roosters...)

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