The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

One chick's incredible journey

White Cochin hen with chick"Soooo...." I said.  "I think the best way to move the hen and her chick to their new home is for one of us to grab the hen and the other the chick.  What do you think?"

Mark had finished building a protected nook in the fenced off portion of the chicken pasture, and we were dying to get the chick to its new home.  The brood coop was damp and stinky, both from accumulated poop and from the ten eggs that didn't hatch (ticking time bombs, just waiting for a wrong move to send waves of rotten egg scent through the farm.)  But the mother hen is pretty intimidating and I was, frankly, a bit afraid to grab her.

Catching a hen"I'll get the hen," said my brave husband, donning his gloves.  And he did --- one minute later, the squawking bundle of white feathers was being deposited into the chicken pasture.

The trouble was, I couldn't catch the chick.  It was just too fast for me, slipping in and out of the brood coop, then fleeing in fright into our barn.  I went in after it, trying to tease it out of a stall full of old boards, until Mark called a halt to the proceedings.

"Just wait a minute and see where it is," he admonished me.  We waited, and seconds later, the fuzzball reappeared.

"Mom!  Mom!  Where are you?!" it cheeped desperately.
Running chick
"Cluck, cluck, over here," she replied from across the yard.

We stepped back, and the chick sprang forward.  "Mom!  Mom!" it exclaimed as it scaled the plum's raised bed.  "Mom!  Mom!" as it trotted through the blackberries.  "Mom!  Mom!" as it crossed the driveway, its mother now in sight.

"Well, get in here," the mother clucked soothingly, and her adoptee slipped through the chicken wire to be reunited at last.

Our homemade chicken waterer keeps brood nests dry and hens hydrated.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Hahahaaa.. been there and done that. I know three tricks to help.. -Do it at night when they are helpless. -Get yourself a few nets. I have a big fishing net for adults and a small minnow net for chicks. The nets are lifesavers.. for me and the birds. -And the best way to deal with a broody is to grab her neck. Distract her with one hand in front of her and then swoop with the other to secure that sharp, biting beak. Once you have gentle control of the head, the body follows. Keep up the good work guys. You are inspirations! jen

Comment by jen Sun May 23 00:50:32 2010
Those are such perfect suggestions --- thank you! I don't know why I didn't think of doing it at night. That's when I usually move chickens around, while they're sleepy. I guess I thought the chick wouldn't be trouble --- boy do I know better know!
Comment by anna Sun May 23 11:27:32 2010

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