Sam in Coop

Sam in her coop sitting on her chicks

So if you follow me on Facebook you’ll know that we have a hen named Sam that went broody on about a half-dozen eggs soon after we ordered our two dozen mail-order Hot Chicks you saw here in an earlier video. As of yesterday Sam has hatched four chicks with two no shows. Here she is hunkered down on top of the chicks in the back of her small coop.

I’m writing this post about the first of those new chicks. Last Saturday around noon I went out to check on Sam and there was this tiny chick laying on the floor outside the nest, stiff and lifeless. I placed it in the nest, but Sam pushed it away. I examined it a bit, did a bit of prodding and couldn’t discern any signs of life so I removed it and set it outside the pen for later disposal.

I realized that this was probably my fault, since the day after Sam went broody I introduced more eggs to her nest. I read, after the fact, that while a hen won’t reject additional eggs, it throws off her timing at the end since some eggs hatch while she’s still focused on the others. So I assumed that Sam had abandoned this first chick to concentrate on the remaining five eggs.

I go about the rest of my Saturday and it isn’t until around six in the evening that I’m walking up from my office and go past the place where I’d left the dead chick. That’s when I hear a very weak “peep.” I look at the chick and see a twitch of a wing. So it’s not dead, I think. I quickly return it to Sam’s nest, but she’ll have nothing to do with it. In fact, she aggressively pecks at the poor thing. So I take it in the house, introduce a bit of water to it’s beak and we put it under a heat lamp. Slowly over the next hour it started moving first one leg, then the other, kind of scooting around in circles on its belly. Then it started blinking and opened its eyes, and eventually it stood up. And within two hours it was the noisiest thing in the region.

Long story not quite so long, we cared for it for 48 hours while Sam hatched three more chicks, and this morning we reintroduced the first chick and it was old home week in the coop.

Linda named the rescued chick Tara, but I’m leaning towards Spinal Tap in honor of their recent album “Back from the Dead.” Either way, here it is at about eight hours old:


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