When the chicks were two days old, Momma Hen decided their confinement was over. Contrary to my imaginings of Calamity Jane herding the chicks out for the first time under the shelter of her warm wings, when I opened the door she simply strolled out. After a few minutes (during which time the chicks had their first interactions with the Big Bad Hens), I noticed the wee Lavender was out there with her. How did she sneak out??
One minute later I saw a frantic Red peeping up against the chicken wire. She poked her head through and then, with a shake and a squeeze, she was through! LOL. The other Red found her way around the door and they were all reunited. They walked around for a bit, Momma demonstrating some scratching and pecking techniques.
Momma was seriously interested in taking a bath after several days locked up with her chicks. She chose a less-than-ideal spot in damp dirt because of the overhead protection from the cascading weigela. It was not a warm day. By now the chicks were getting a bit chilly and their instinct to burrow into her warm feathers took over:
Another few minutes and they all retired to the nest box for a snuzzle (that’s a snuggly snooze).
So freakin’ cute!