Mama started laying eggs again yesterday (7/8/10), a month and six days since her chicks hatched. I went out to refresh the chick feeder, and saw an egg in the nest box. I thought maybe another hen had laid it there, since the other hens were out by that time. But I heard her singing an egg song this afternoon, and went out, and there was another egg. (Plus, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the other hens lay anywhere else but in their own nest boxes.)
I think the weaning process has begun. I noticed this afternoon that while all five chicks took a snooze in their favorite spot (the lower branches of the cedar tree), Mama wandered clear out to the pasture and started circling the big hoop coop, almost like she wanted to get in. That was quite far away from her babies. To see what would happen, I used the soft end of a broom to kick one of the chicks off his roost, and he squawked and peeped. She didn’t come. I knocked another one off the tree, and more started cheeping, since I kinda freaked them out. She finally came running, but it took her a while.
They still all range together, and she’s fiercely protective of them, but she is wandering further from them. I need to mark Mama and babies with leg tags before she integrates back with the old flock.
Happy Six Month Birthday, Callan!