As the chicks grow, they range further from their mom. Sometimes one realizes she is alone. When this happens, I get to see one of the really cool things about watching a hen raise chicks (as opposed to raising them yourself in a cardboard box) – instinctive parenting.
Baby chick stays put and calls out – louder and louder: cheep cheep cheep Cheep Cheep CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP! CHEEP! CHEEP!
Momma hears this cheeping and makes her own calls: Cluck Cluck Cluck! Cluck! Cluck! She has been making this sound since before they were born, so they know it means Mom. And, they find each other. It has been fascinating to watch how Calamity Jane responds to these desperate cries. She will eventually become frantic if the CHEEPing continues and she cannot get to the chick.
This morning a downpour hit us. I was outside closing up the shed and checking on the cisterns, so I went to see how the chickens were faring. CJ had wisely taken shelter in the covered run. The two Red chicks were with her. Very close by, but on the other side of the hardware cloth, was Lavender. Cheep cheep cheep, as she paced back and forth, her wee beak knocking against the fence. It amazes me how the chickens will do this, as if expecting that on the next pass the barrier will have evaporated.
I began to think, I Should Help. So I looked around for a stick that I could use to coax little L out of her awkward spot along the back fence and into the opening of the run. But, by and by, when I look again there she was next to her mom and sibs.
Chickens are Not Very Bright, but they are bright enough for what they need to do.