The first week, the chicks stuck with momma, wandering no more than a foot from her warm side and taking frequent naps beneath her downy feathers. During week two, the chicks began exploring, wandering just outside the chicken yard, and running back to mom for protection, comfort, and warmth. They would often stand between her feet, their heads just reaching her fluffy belly.
That week mom moved the whole family from the broody box back into the coop to sleep at night, all snuggled together in a nest box. During week three and four the chicks began spending more time outside the Big Chicken enclosure, but would return to nest with mom at night. Meanwhile, Calamity Jane stopped clucking. She also started ‘assuming the position’, and her comb and wattles returned to a bright fuschia I hadn’t seen in 6 months. She seems ready to get back to the business of laying eggs.
One night this week, after starting the night off in the nest box with her chicks, she eventually moved next door. This quickly graduated to roost sleeping, all of them fighting to sleep next to mom. Finally, last night, CJ spent the night up on the highest roost with the ‘big birds’ and the chicks slept in various other places in the coop. No one spent the night in a nest box.
I think the wee ones are finally on their own! Sweet and a bit sad…