I love seeing animals function the way God designed them to. Today I witnessed our mama hen take her 2 day chicks out for a "nature walk" for the first time! It was one of the neatest things I have ever seen in my life.
Just under 4 weeks ago, this hen decided to accept the invitation of a bowl of eggs we had left for her to sit on. She is a year old Buff Brahma Bantam hen, and we had left an assortment of Buff Brahma Bantam and Buckeye eggs.
After 21 days, the allotted time for incubation, we saw no sign of hatching, no pipped eggs, no peeping from inside the shells. We decided to leave them for a few more days to see what would happen. Finally, on day 23, the first chick hatched, and several others were pipped. By day 24, the rest had hatched. We lost 2 chicks the second night when they weren't able to get back into the nest, so now we're left with 4 Buff Brahma Bantam chicks and 1 Buckeye!
Today they ventured outside, the bantam chicks are smaller and have a little difficulty getting around on the grass, but they soon figured it out and were dashing around pecking at this and that. Occasionally the hen would make a certain cluck and the chicks would all come running, good practice for when danger is near.
The Buckeye chick caught a moth (below), and the hen chased the chick around for a while, not really trying to take the moth away from the chick, but it seemed she was just trying to make sure that whatever the chick had was safe to eat.
Seeing such young chicks learning how to survive outside is so cool. No heat lamps, no carefully monitored temperature, lighting, and cramped quarters, just a mother hen teaching her chicks how to feed themselves, come to her for warmth when they get cool, and watch for danger.
Just the way they were made to.