Missing Hen Returns With Chicks
We recently had a hen go missing. We’re not sure exactly when she disappeared, but for a few weeks she hasn’t been returning to the chook run at night, and we weren’t able to find her anywhere around the yard.
I figured maybe a fox, dog, eagle or snake might have gotten her, although there were no signs of a struggle or scattered feathers anywhere. I knew it was possible she might have found a hiding place to sit on some eggs, but I didn’t think it likely.
Turns out I was wrong!
On Saturday, we were walking around the yard deciding where to plant a few new trees. I noticed a tiny little animal scurry into the cover of a sweet potato vine, and thought it was a mouse or an injured bird. When we approached to investigate, the hen ran out to protect it and we realised it was a newly-hatched chick.
She had four chicks with her. They were tiny, and could only have been a day or so old.
The hen is a cross between an ISA Brown mother and a Barnevelder father. She turned out with a very pretty brown and cream banding, and lays lovely chocolatey-brown eggs. The father of these chicks was our Light Brahma rooster. The cunning blighter managed to sneak in one last clutch before we dispatched him!
I love the three cute little butts in this picture!
I checked the area near where we found the little family, and found her nesting place right in underneath a huge lemongrass bush. She must have been well-protected from the elements in there (we’ve had both pouring rain and scorching heat over the last three weeks!), and obviously no predators found her.