First off she told me to remind you her name is not Lana but Svetlana.But she is not sure how it is spelled. We call her Lana for short and for a long time before I could remember her name it was just ‘Blackie’.
She is only about a year old, but she already had her first ‘broodiness’. Thats when a hen decides it’s time to sit on an egg or two and waited for it to hatch. If anyone tried to remove her from the egg, she would make noises similar to something from the movie Jurassic Park and turn her fluffy-butt backside to you. Eventually we took the egg away, but she just sat on the stone egg instead. She was very sure she was doing things right and if everyone would just leave her alone, she could go about her baby hatching business.
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she would need a rooster to hatch a chick and we ain’t got no roosters. As for the stone egg, well…you go girl.
When oldest son heard about her broodiness, he got very excited. He is our poultry expert and wanted to raise more chicks. The easiest way to raise chicks is, of course, to have a mama hen do it for you. That eliminates the need to use a heat lamp, keep them in a box with water, litter and feed, move them to a bigger box and so on. She is the heat lamp, teaches them to peck and forage, look both ways before crossing the street, keeps the predators away all in one package.
He had originally bought Lefty and Lana to raise here at home, complete with lamp, box and so on. Then he promptly left for Scotland. Leaving you-know-who in charge of the babies. The time before that he purchased chicks to raise, then he promptly left for New Zealand. I am looking rather askance at him these days after getting 2 more chicks. Hmm. He says he isn’t planning to go anywhere else soon, but there are chicks.
Anyway, in my last post I described a little about how we stumbled out in the dark and shoved the baby chicks under Lana’s bum. Well, the next morning came and while we waited to see the new mommy come strutting out with her new babies, the morning sped by. Hello Lana mama? Anybody home?
She was in there with the babies all right, squinting at them suspiciously while they climbed all over her. Her instincts might have told her to sit on the eggs for a few weeks, but the instruction book forgot to mention what would hatch out of them. For all she knew, these were large fluffy spiders! But she did not want to look stupid in front of the other chickens, so she played it cool.
Now it is a new day. She figures these little fluff balls of trouble aren’t going away and it would seem someone put her in charge of them, although why she doesn’t know. (Big sigh)
I may as well get on with it, she is thinking. Someone has to do this so I guess its up to me!
So first thing on day two, she takes them on a tour of the yard, which is currently a mess with chicken wire and tools thrown willy-nilly while the chicken run gets a face-lift.
Now it is the third day and this whole ‘mommy’ thing is sinking in her little hen brain. She waddles around teaching them to scratch, to look for bugs, to respond to her various clucks and noises and to all hold hands when crossing the road, which chickens are always doing, just to get to the other side. The first night we moved the coop and had taken it apart to clean. Lana took the chicks around dusk and wedged her head under the ramp leading up to the coop door. As far as she was concerned, they were ‘inside’ even though 75% of her was still hanging out. A couple of the chicks managed to dig under her feathers and the other two kept wandering around looking confused.
We went out last night to find where she took them to sleep, since she is now fenced out of the coop and we found her in the nice soft cushiony dog house! (The dog prefers sleeping out on the lawn in this heat). So that is her home until Jack-the-dog says otherwise. If he gives them an eviction notice, we will let them back in the coop. By then the chicks will be bigger and the other hens won’t bother them. Not with the reluctant but intrepid Lama Mama watching over them!