Red Passion Flower
I spent the morning doing stuff around here including this-
which I am pretty proud about. Yesterday the county came by and collected the huge branch that had fallen and I got out there this morning and picked up small branches and raked up smaller branches and then I swept the whole thing and it looks pretty fine. We have a few boards missing from the fence that problem is above my pay grade.
When I was eating my lunch, Mr. Moon showed up with Jason and Maggie to cut up a deer that Mr. Moon shot about ten days ago. I saw them pull up and then Mr. Moon came hurrying up to the house and said, "Come look!"
"What???" I asked. "Is it babies?"
"Ten of them!" he shouted.
"What???" I asked. "Is it babies?"
"Ten of them!" he shouted.
I grabbed my phone and this is what I saw.
She did it! That very young little Jungle Fowl Dearie had hatched ten babies! Six of the yellow ones and four of the brown. They are so soft and so tiny. It was thrilling.
Here's a little video for you.
Can you see them popping in and out from under her wings? She's the Mother Ship! I am so, so proud of her. She sat on those eggs during a hurricane! They are the most darling little chicks in the world. The brown ones are like tiny puffs of mink. I assume that Liberace is the father of the yellow ones and Ringo the father of the brown ones. Of course I don't really know if they're all Dearie's babies. As we know, hens certainly do sit on other hens' eggs.
Forget who's your daddy? We don't even know who's your mama?
I didn't really know what to do though. I got them some water- as you can see- but as to whether or not I should pick them up and put them in the chick coop in the big coop was a question I could not answer. My heart wanted me to let them be and to let Dearie take care of them. And so for awhile, that's what I did. I offered them some rice.
They loved it.
And soon Dearie had them all over the back yard with the rest of the flock, scratching for bugs for the babies. The rest of the chickens seemed mildly curious although Ringo truly did give them a once-over.
They followed their mama around as chicks do, chipping and responding to her clucks, running about as if they'd been doing it for years instead of an hour.
Maggie had been asleep in the car but when she woke up, her daddy and Boppy showed her the babies. She didn't quite know what to think. I picked one up (they have no fear yet) and let her touch it's soft little head. She liked that. And then she wanted to come into Mer's house to play.
The first thing she had to do was to attend to her babies but then she jumped on the horse.
Before she left she tucked all of the dollies back up again underneath their blankets.
I decided to go to Monticello to get some chick starter feed, which I did. When I came back, Dearie and the babes were still in the backyard and I scattered some feed out for them to eat. Chicks are eating machines and Dearie is hungry from her long days on the nest and they devoured it.
And still, I just did not know what to do. Let Dearie take them back under the pump house for the night where I'm sure they'd be fine, or transfer them to the coop?
Finally, when it started getting a little closer to sunset and I saw Jack lounging a few yards from them, I decided to put them in the baby coop. I picked them all up and put them in an ice chest and transferred them and then got Dearie who let me easily pick her up too, and put her in with her babies. They have food and water but in a way, that makes me so sad. Like putting babies in a nursery and bottle-feeding them. I mean, they have their mother but they don't have the food that their mother would naturally provide which is bugs and tiny shoots and leaves. And I know that Dearie would fiercely defend them should a predator come about but she is no match for a cat or a hawk or an owl. She's just a tiny little Jungle Fowl mama.
Is it best to let nature take its course and let them run free or is it better to keep them enclosed and safe?
Oh, who the hell knows?
And Jack and Maurice might never give those chicks a second glance but there are feral cats who frequent the yard and one never knows when they'll show up.
And frankly, I don't trust that Jack and Maurice could not be tempted.
Well, anyway, perhaps I shall get more clarity on this issue and in the meantime, I have 25 pounds of starter feed.
Jason called me after he'd picked up the boys and told them about the new chicks and Gibson was thrilled that HIS chicken, whom he had named, was a mother. He told his dad that he's a grandfather now. Gibson the Grandfather.
Yeah, I can see that.
And as Jason pointed out, each grandchild can name two chicks since there are ten. Not sure that Levon's up for that yet but who knows? I certainly hope that they develop some identifying characteristics as they get older, otherwise they're going to be like Viv/Vera whom I still cannot tell apart and never will be able to which is an odd feeling.
So, that's the news from here today. Mr. Moon and I are quite thrilled to have new babies in the family. Maggie's coming back over tomorrow morning so that Lily can go on a field trip with Gibson's class to the fire station. Always a good time. Magnolia June will boss me around and play with her dolls and whatever else she wants to play with and we will eat some lunch. We'll probably go see the goats and pet the new chickens and do all sorts of fun things.
I feel sorry for Darla but she doesn't seem concerned at all. Chickens are pretty Zen about these things.
Once again, I am grateful to my friend Kathleen who brought me my first chicks and a bag of starter feed. Sometimes people know what you need even if you don't and I needed chickens. I do not believe in an afterlife but if I did, I would like to think of Kathleen looking down and giggling at the new babies, those little puffballs of softness and love.
Life certainly does go on. And this is how it goes in Lloyd today.
what a huge surprise to find Dearie babies! They are already quite well developed.....so she's been quietly doing her job! I'm so happy for all of you and yes, I think you did the right thing putting them in the *inner* coop for safety. Oh, how fun!!!! Your grands will all be thrilled to..... naming them is a very important job for them!ReplyDelete
Susan, you're right- they are all so very healthy and sturdy looking. Bright-eyed and ready for the world!Delete
Well, this post just made my day.ReplyDelete
Those babies made mine.Delete
Such fun to see the video you made. Lots of excitement in Lloyd today!ReplyDelete
I love the constant communication that goes on between the chicks and the mama. They have their own language, for sure.Delete
What a wonderful surprise, even just to read about it is exciting! Baby chicks are so sweet. 🐣🐤 I love the idea of Gibson as a grandfather...what a creative kid he must be to think of that. And Maggie June is a cherub!ReplyDelete
Gibson has an amazing imagination. He always has. And you are so right about Maggie. She is the very definition of a cherub.Delete
I don’t believe in an afterlife either, but our loved ones live on in our imagination and that’s almost the same. Maybe better, because we tend to edit out their faults and hang onto the love.ReplyDelete
Having had the same situation, I would (and did) secure the chicks. The cats and other predators we have here would eat them for sure. Heck, they eat adult chickens if we don’t lock them in at night, and early, too. Nature is cruel, which a lot of people would like to forget.
I think you're right, Annie, about the way we keep people alive in our imaginations. As long as someone remembers us and thinks of us, we aren't really quite gone, are we?Delete
And yes, sadly I know I need to keep these babies and their mama in a safe place although if any hen I ever met could keep her chicks safe, I think it would be this one.
It surely is for me.Delete
I visit your blog first thing every morning, almost without fail. You and your family have claimed a special spot in my heart.ReplyDelete
Today I am also swept up in the excitement of Dearie’s new babies. How absolutely thrilling! They are too adorable and I think you did the right thing by keeping them safe.
Maggie is an Angel. Can’t wait to read what you two got up to when I wake up tomorrow morning. I live in South Africa hence the big time difference.
Desiree- I did not know you lived in South Africa! Wow! Thanks for visiting me from so far away.Delete
"Little puffballs of softness and love"--how perfectly you've said it!ReplyDelete
They are! It's like you could blow them away with a good breath of air.Delete
Yay! So exciting! And TEN of them -- that's a pretty impressive brood. I feel bad for Darla too but I guess that's they way nature works. It does make you wonder what went wrong with her brood.ReplyDelete
Gibson the grandfather -- hilarious!
I know! Ten! And they're so lovely.Delete
I think that nest that Darla was sitting on was just too damn hot. It was probably cooler under that old photo shop where Dearie made her nest in the dirt.
I can totally see Gibson as a grandfather.
I know nothing about chickens so I don't know if this story is as amazing as it seems to me. Seriously! They lived through that storm!? Those are some special chicks no? Congratulations to Gibson! XXOOReplyDelete
Well, I think it's amazing, Yolie. I really do.Delete
They're so beautiful and sweet! Congratulations grandma.ReplyDelete
Or great-great grandmother if Gibson is a grandfather.Delete
How wonderful! And in a hurricane! There is big excitement at the Moon farm for sure.ReplyDelete
I know! I love how that little hen made such a wise choice as to where to make her nest.Delete
what a fun surprise! I'd be worried too and would probably keep them safe but sad that they can't just be all natural.ReplyDelete
Such a sensational gift!ReplyDelete
It is a difficult decision, for sure, as to whether to shelter them at night or let them be free. You have to follow your heart. It would be awfully hard to loose any of them right away ... for you and your grandchildren who feel so attached to them already.ReplyDelete
Love the picture of the munchkin tucking her baby dolls in for the night. She's going to be a nurturer, that one.
She really is a nurturer. You hit the nail on the head. No one is encouraging her to do these things with her dolls and she certainly has access to all of the toys the boys have. And she plays with those too but her dolls keep calling her back. She loves her mama...Delete
Oh this cheered me up real good. Wonderful.ReplyDelete
I wish you could hold them, Sabine. They are so soft and weightless.Delete
My mother used to put hens with new chicks in a stable by themselves for the first little while and we didn't have half the wild things around you do. I think you're doing the right thing. They can keep going out a bit during the day, maybe?
I'm afraid to let them out at all, Jo! I see feral cats at all times of the day. Not often, but sometimes. But when they're a little bigger, I'll let them out.Delete
Ah, well, fair enough. Better bored then et!Delete
"He told his dad that he's a grandfather now." Oh thanks for that laugh-out-loud!ReplyDelete
We have two barn cats that I can't tell apart except that one loves to be petted and one is too skittish to be touched. I figure the tame one is the one whose life I saved when I found it as a still-quite-small kitten tangled tightly in a piece of baling twine (around its neck and one of its feet), having likely been there cold and hungry for many hours. That was a horrible discovery and I learned I'm still able to run when I dashed to the house for scissors. I like to think that kitten/cat knows whose side I'm on.
Oh my! I'm so glad you were able to save that kitten. No wonder it loves to be petted.Delete