A New Mom, Fuzzy Chicks, and Celebrating Mother’s Day in the Cooking Light Garden

Mothering sometimes means being multipurpose: a jungle gym, source of food, and cozy lap for a nap. See the little chick peeking from her wing?

Mothering sometimes means many things—being a jungle gym, source of food, and cozy lap for a nap. See the little chick peeking from her wing?

Nothing shows the unconditional love of a mother like a hen sitting on a nest for 20 straight days. She’s huffy, puffy, protective, and foregoes food, water, and stretching her legs all but once a day. Ladybug, our Cuckoo Maran, plucked her own feathers from her breast, feathered her nest, and hunkered down to make an incubator only Mother Nature could design. This update from the Cooking Light garden, just in time for Mother’s Day, shows lots of future fertilizer makers hatching now.

The ten eggs under Ladybug were a motley crew, collected from many colorful breeds in our coop. Broody hens just want eggs–any eggs–and will rear them all as their very own. In fact, two other broody hens in our coop want to mother so badly that they wrestle eggs from under each other and gently roll them back into their own nest.  It’s like watching chickens in their own Olympic competition of curling, only more interesting.

A pair of hens hunkered down in the same nest box next to Ladybug—apparently these girls’ hormones are all in sync—and declared their turf shortly after Ladybug marked hers. These two are Mother and Daughter, a gorgeous Blue Laced Red Wyandotte and her lavender-gray offspring from last summer. (She makes a cameo in the dreamy garden photography shot here for the June issue’s Summer Cookbook feature.) This dynamic duo seems to be making it a team effort and should hatch their clutch on Mother’s Day. How poetic is that?

Mother and daughter are sharing one nest, hoping to hatch a clutch together. That side-eye stare means back off!

Mother and daughter are sharing one nest, hoping to hatch a clutch together. That side-eye stare means back off!

Perfect for this weekend’s holiday of hailing the women who raise us, Ladybug’s babies have hatched and made her a puffed up, proud mom. They are scooting around as fast as those tiny feet will take them and quickly collapse into an unforeseen nap, face first. True to form, they’ve made a jungle gym of her, nestling under wings and leaping from her back. It’s been joyful to see how she changes her clucks to sound a note for food, showing them how to peck and drink. Take a peek at a collection of photos from the last two days of hatching, and get a few ideas for treating the moms in your life this holiday. May she be well-fed, pampered, and free from jungle-gym status this weekend!

Be sure to keep an eye out for a story all about these lovely ladies in the July issue, which will be on newsstands next month.

This little peeper was the first to hatch two days ago. It then proceeded to act like a bowling ball, knocking around eggs and talking to those still in shells.

This little peeper was the first to hatch two days ago. It then proceeded to act like a bowling ball, knocking around eggs and talking to those still in shells.

This chick has better eyeliner form than Cleopatra.

This chick has better eyeliner form than Cleopatra. Photo credit: Harris Brabston

Nine other eggs are hatching underneath while the first chick raises an eyebrow at this new world.

Nine other eggs are hatching underneath while the first chick raises an eyebrow at this new world.

Newly hatched chicks, before they fluff up. We were lucky to catch them as they popped from the shell.

Newly hatched chicks, before they fluff up. We were lucky to catch them as they popped from the shell.

Cuteness overload.

Cuteness overload.

Like every eventful family occasion, the rest of the flock decides to gorge on a buffet from the Cooking Light garden.

Like every eventful family occasion, the rest of the flock decides to gorge on a buffet from the Cooking Light garden.

They just keep coming! Fluffy chick No. 7

They just keep coming! Fluffy chick No. 7

Hiding under mom.

Hiding under mom.

First bites of food, after mom clucks a "come and get it" call.

First bites of food, after mom clucks a “come and get it” call.

Fuzzy chick checking out the camera. "Are you my mother?"

Fuzzy chick checking out the camera. “Are you my mother?”

Breakfast with her babies. Ladybug shows them how to eat and drink for the first time.

Breakfast with her babies. Ladybug shows them how to eat and drink for the first time.

 

 

COMMENTS

  1. A New Mom, Fuzzy Chicks, and Celebrating Mother’s Day in the Cooking Light Garden | A Growing Curiosity

    […] – Read the full post and view 12 photos of adorable day-old chicks at: http://simmerandboil.cookinglight.com/2014/05/09/a-new-mom-fuzzy-chicks-and-celebrating-mothers-day-… […]

    May 16, 2014 at 7:04 am
  2. diane champagne

    Your brooding girls are beautiful. I’m seriously thinking about raising free range for a small family’s egg consumption. I see your hens use cardboard boxes. Why is this? Advice what I need and how to start.

    May 11, 2014 at 4:27 pm
    • Mary Beth Shaddix

      Thank you! They are happy hens. We used a simple cardboard box so that she’d feel “contained” and it was the same size as the nest box from which we moved her. I moved her to a brooder in our coop away from the laying hens and used this makeshift nest box. We’ve also used plastic milk crates. You could use a thick bed of straw as well. Definitely visit backyardchickens.com for a fun forum and real-time updates on many chicken keepers! Keep us posted. ~Mary Beth

      May 16, 2014 at 11:27 am
  3. Susan

    So cute..reminds me of my days on the farm growing up and the excitement of seeing the chicks hatch and join the flock in the chicken coop.

    May 11, 2014 at 7:56 am
  4. 370 recipe cooking

    Thank you very much for your post of the most wonderful

    May 10, 2014 at 12:04 pm

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