Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Foraging Lesson

Have you ever heard the phrase, "Feeling like a Spring chicken" and wondered what that must feel like? Well, watching all our little chicks out in the barnyard has answered that question in my mind. It looks like an awful lot of fun being a Spring chicken. You might remember Silkie, the determined little hen from my earlier post, One Proud Mama Chicken. As things turned out, one egg didn't hatch and one chick didn't make it, but she has two healthy little offspring following her around wherever she goes. Neither one hatched from her own eggs, but I don't think she's ever noticed or would think anything of it if she did.

Lately, I've noticed her efforts focused on foraging lessons. She goes over to a spot where there's some grain, a worm or a little bug, and makes a series of fast clucking sounds to call the chicks over. She scratches, they scratch and then they feast. I've seen her feed them a worm or two from her beak, but I think they're really getting the hang of it on their own.

Everywhere she goes, those chicks aren't far behind.

They've got following their mama down.

Silkie is such a good mother in fact, that other chickens wish they were her baby. This little brown silkie chick with a crossed beak deformation has decided to adopt itself into the family. Every time Silkie clucks the food call, this one comes running over and eats along with the chicks. Sometimes she chases it away, but usually she is okay with sharing.

I have to say these chicks are really getting their foraging technique down. When I threw out the cracked corn this morning, they were right there, scratching and pecking along with the best of them (all 62), and doing their mama proud.

62 chickens. I really am a crazy chicken lady now, or a farmer. It's a fine line.


  1. 62, holy cow! Now I feel better about our 22. :)

    Great pics!

  2. It's so funny to read about your little silkie mamma because I feel like I'm looking at my Pearl. She looks just like your silkie and is raising a set of Americauna peeps. She was so broody that she sat on a nest of phantom eggs for more than a month. We finally got some peeps and put them in a box for her. She went right too them! I really love silkies. They make such great mammas.

  3. We only have 40! We may all very well be crazy but I sure do like it here! Sweet babies!

  4. I ought to start a Chicken's Anonymous group. It's good to hear other folks out there have a lot of chickens too, even if not quite this many. Some are meat birds, so the population will be less by the Fall.

    And silkies do indeed make great mothers. I had heard this before, and it is so true.

    Happy chicken raising!

  5. I haven't got my own chooks yet but hope to later this year, until then I will live vicariously through yours :)
    I am a new follower.

  6. OH! This makes me so excited for what is to come. We had a hen go broody on Mother's Day weekend, the first of our girls to sit on her own eggs. All the rest of our chicks were hatched in the incubator and raised in the brooder. I can't wait to see some mama-loved chickies running around the yard!!

  7. Oh my goodness, that chicken is such a beauty. We live on a farm with 19 chickens, and I thought that was a lot!

  8. Sooo cute!
    And your last line cracked me up!