Mean Girl Hen hatched two diddles yesterday -- one yellow and one black and yellow. From their little combs, I think they are both hens. Anyhow, MGH, who is one mean gal on the nest, is a terrible Mum. She didn't worry with the little ones, taking them out into the bad weather (wind and sprinkles) and then digging holes and kicking the diddles in and then out of them! The poor little guys would go flying this way and that, head over tea cups, crying and fussing all the way.
The Mister and I watched for a few minutes and then made the decision: they were coming inside. I was their Mum now. We scooped them up; the yellow one was nearly gone from the cold and abuse. I tucked them into my shirt next to my body while I finished feeding the goats while the Mister rounded up the feeder, water, and light and carried them to the kitchen.
I located a small box and in they went. The little black one ran around, tested the water, pecked at the feed, while peeping Quite Loudly all the way. The little yellow one stood and rocked. I picked her up, blew warm air from my mouth on her until she quit shaking and then put her back the box. She rocked some more. I think now that she was consoling herself.
Soon, she jumped on the edge of the watering dish and had a little sip. And another. And another. The black one joined her, chortling all the time, as if she were encouraging her sister to drink up and live. As I had no chick feed, I crumbled up whole wheat biscuits and cornmeal for them. They ate Every Bite and asked for more. At 5:30 this morning, they were both scurrying around the box, gathering bits of food, and singing, as only chicks do, at the top of their lungs.
Lesson? One doesn't have to give birth to be a good mum or, I could argue, I am one Darn Good Hen...