There’s been a bit of a baby boom of the feathered variety at Cockamamy Farm this summer!
This Mama Hen went broody (that means she gets all hormonal and is bound and determined to hatch out some babies so she sits on a nest) and quickly started hoarding eggs from every where she could get them. Unfortunately, we didn’t get in the game soon enough to mark her eggs (lesson learned!), so we ended up letting her sit on about two dozen. She was working so hard and reaching as much as possible to keep all those eggs warm, she looked like the chicken version of a Chubby-Bunny game winner.
After her three-week stint of sitting, two things happened. First, three other hens decided to pitch in to help (Read: take over. The white hen you see there is the one we call “Bitchy.” As our oldest and bossiest hen, she’s earned the title.) Second, she hatched two chicks. Yup. Just two. Out of all those eggs! The first one was gray (in photo above), and the second was blonde/red (in photo below).
Soon after, another hen went broody and was nesting at the other end of the coop. She, too, was stealing eggs, but we were smart this time (Thanks, Grandma, for the tip!) and were able to keep her stash down to about 10. She hatched the two silver chicks you see below.
The first two babies feathered out at about two weeks old. It is amazing how quickly they go from little fluff balls to looking like tiny versions of the grown ups.
Here they are with Bitchy at about three weeks old.
And a few days later, Ben snapped this amazing shot of Bitchy quite literally taking the darker chick under her wing while they both perched at bedtime.
In the meantime, this red hen (above) has adopted both the older blonde/red chick and the two silver puffballs (who are now putting on feathers) after their mama mysteriously disappeared (raccoons?) when they were just a few days old. She’s a very protective mama who is sure that her babies get to eat breakfast first. As you’ll see in the video below, she and the chicks are waiting at the coop door as soon as it is opened each morning and they pile out into the the food area and she makes every other hen wait inside the coop (or exit very carefully) while her babies nosh, uninterrupted. She gets a little upset if other hens even try to leave the coop, much less grab a little grain.
Last week, babies of the human kind arrived, alongside my sister and brother-in-law for their family’s annual Independence holiday weekend at Cockamamy.
In anticipation of their arrival, we found ourselves:
- Cleaning house like maniacs, specifically focused on floors and everything knee-level and lower.
- Putting the screened doors on the back porch, complete with hardware so we could latch the doors and prevent any rolling-down-the-stairs style escapes.
- Trying (in vain) to remove dog hair from furnishings and surfaces (see #1).
In my gotta-get-it-cleaner fervor, I found myself giving thanks for what amazingly laid-back and dog-hair-and-germ-embracing people these parents are. They completely believe in exposure making the child (and her immune system) stronger. Thank you, Lord, because neither Ben nor I were blessed with the cleaning talents that other folks seem to come by naturally.
In the end, our guests seemed to have a good time, despite the dirt and fur and feathers. It is a farm, after all!
Totsie, 2 and almost a half, swiftly claimed this tiny stool made by Ben’s grandfather about 90 years ago as “my seat” and wore evidence of her daily fruit smoothie like a champ!
Baby Ellie, 5 months, is so happy and easy and has more hair than I do.
SO. MUCH. PUPPY. LOVE. And kisses (see above for parental approach to germs. Also see above reference to smoothie remnants/dog snack on Totsie’s face.).
These two!! And their parents. Wow. So much fun and we love that their visit has become a farm and family tradition! Can’t wait to make a whole-hearted attempt at super-duper power cleaning the house for you again next year!
The holiday weekend also marked the second anniversary of Okra and Fletcher’s arrival at Cockamamy Farm. We’ve made a bit of a tradition of recreating (as best as possible) the photo we took with these crazy, hairy (and crazy-hairy) litter mates the day we brought them home.
Here we are in 2015:
And, here’s a series of hilarious attempts at a 2017 family selfie with 85-pound Fletcher and 55-pound Okra….
Why is it so incredibly difficult? And hilarious? Sigh.
So here’s what we posted on Instagram…as good as it got.
Wishing all y’all a very happy summer! Stay cool out there and thanks for following along on all our Cockamamy adventures, despite my less-than-regular posting these days.