It was almost uncomfortably warm on Saturday so we let the chicks into the chicken tractor to play while they’re current enclosure was cleaned. It was a good chance for them to really meet Jim, Princess Jane, and Katie.
Jane and Jim inspected the chirping babies and, discovering that the tractor was secured by wiremesh at all sides, spent most of the day feigning interest in a chipmunk hunt.
I sat with the chicks for a while, cleaning some garden implements and getting them used to the idea of me as Mother Hen. Eternally loyal, Katie sat with me. As she moved, the chicks often moved with her. She would sniff at them and wag her tail a little as they chirped at her.
The chicks came out of their eggs at the feed store, so the only “mamas“ they’ve ever known are a heat lamp and the changing hands that feed them. Katie was abandoned to a kill shelter as a puppy, and I doubt she had much contact with her mama.
Something in her past or her nature, however, made her loyal and gentle, more than a little bit of a pushover, and, when she has to be, brave. It seemed fitting that, for the moment, they saw her as the “Mother Hen.“