Harriet, age ten days
Last night, after some rigamarole, I slipped two baby chicks underneath our dozing and broody hen Harriet. The plan was to bamboozle her into thinking that she was their mother, taking advantage of her broodiness, sleepiness, and general lack of brains. Harriet didn't fuss as the chickies snuggled underneath her. They all slept peacefully.
Then at some point in the morning, one of the babies fell out of the nest. Robb replaced the chick under Harriet, who promptly and viciously attacked it. After a few more unsuccessful attempts at re-introducing the chick, we took both babies away from Harriet. Chickens are social creatures, and we couldn't split up the pair of babies.
None of this was according to our plan.
In our ideal world, we'd stuff the baby chicks under Harriet, and walk away. She'd raise them as her own, and we'd have a wonderfully integrated flock.
Instead, we've got baby chicks in the pantry and have no idea how we're going to introduce these young birds to our flock of grumpy hens.
I'll say this for these two birds: they're incredibly friendly. When Robb and I got our other four birds, they acted like we were Horrible Chicken Murderers, screaming in terror and generally freaking out whenever we came near. These two little birds spent the better part of the afternoon snuggled up with us. The cuteness was overwhelming, and it almost made up for all this stupidity.