Thursday, 9 October 2014
Releasing Ginger and the chicks
Ginger, the surrogate mother to whom we gave some eggs in July to hatch when she went broody, had been living in the quail house with the chicks for two months. Recently, we decided the chicks were big enough not to need the protection from vermin the quail house afforded them. We also assumed the chicks would want to make a dash for independence from Ginger.
On Friday last week we removed her and the chicks from the quail house and out onto the allotment proper to be with all the other hens and ducks. As expected there were a few scuffles. Since then however, all the chicks have stayed close to her. She has taken over one of the hen houses and the chicks continue to huddle up to her at night and she spreads her wings to cover them, even though some are approaching her size.
This is the first time we have let a hen raise chicks. Previously all our chicks were hatched in incubators and grew up in their first 8 weeks without adult chickens around. They became independent quite quickly. I guess we are still learning.