She's a very protective momma. As you can see she fluffs up her feathers when I come near in order to make herself look larger than she really is. She makes some different sounding clucking noises that probably tell her chicks that danger is nearby. I'm impressed at her strategy of protecting her chicks. She doesn't venture far away from the fence and there is good reason for that. If danger approaches, her little biddies run through the welded wire fence safely to the other side of the fence. If I go on the other side of the fence, they dart back through to the other side. This works well against predators like dogs, possums, people, etc.
|Don't mess with me or my chicks!|
|Four little biddies across the fence and hiding in the weeds|
An effective strategist must foresee other types of danger and this is where Momma Hen's plans went awry. This plan does not work during driving torrential rainstorms. We had a 2 1/2 downpour Saturday afternoon. Russ ran out once the deluge ended to check on the chicks and came running back with two chicks in his hands. They were soaking wet and near lifeless. Russ reported that the chicks must have gotten separated from the momma hen during the rain. The yellow chick was perfectly fine and healthy under momma hen's feathers. Two of the darker colored chicks were soaking wet and suffering with hypothermia. The other darker colored chick was dead!
Before chicks get all their feathers, they really need the momma hen to keep them warm. If you incubate them and there's no momma hen, that's why you use a heat lamp. The chicks got wet, cold, and were unable to regulate their body temperature. Russ' quick thinking and action saved the two chicks' lives. In mere minutes under the heat lamp, the little birds were dry, warm, and healthy. Russ transported them back to the momma. We started with four chicks... and then there were three...
This is just part of life. Sometimes, even despite having good momma's, young ones are going to go astray. (This works with people too.) The Good Lord gives animals instincts and they do the best they can, but sometimes catastrophes happen. We do the best we can and move forward. A friend was over visiting and we recounted this story to her and she made the observation that the three dark colored chicks must be roosters (males). I didn't catch it at first, but then realized that they aren't smart enough to come in out of the rain. Ha ha... Touche!!