Lucky spotted me scooping duckweed out of the pond for the chickens. She’s come running to give her chicks a treat. All the chickens go nuts for fresh duckweed. Not only do they like the fresh green duckweed, they scratch through it to pick out all the bugs that live in the duckweed.
I never tire watching the interaction between the chicks and their mother. All day long, the chicks are watching every move she makes. All day long, they are at her feet or scurrying close to her. When she finds something good to eat, their beaks are immediately next to hers. When she rests, they rest. Her chicks are now two weeks old.
Sadly, on Saturday she lost one of her five chicks. I was in the kitchen looking out and saw her chase a Coopers hawk. I ran out to check on her. She was safe and so were four of her chicks. One was missing.
Giving chicks as much freedom and space as I do has its consequences. It’s possible to protect them from land predators with adequate fencing, but it’s a challenge to keep them safe from hawks and eagles. The dogs do a pretty good job, chasing the bigger raptors away. It’s the smaller raptors that manage to sneak in and snatch the chicks. Maybe a fleet of heat seeking drones could detect hawks and eagles and automatically chase them away, or at least alert us ground animals to their presence.