A baby chick’s time with its mother is all about learning. Can I eat that? What about that wriggly thing? That part is pretty easy to teach. For a chicken, if it moves and can fit in your mouth, it’s food. The more important lessons to learn are how to watch for danger. A shadow in the sky, something moving in the brush, a rooster or hen sounding an alarm, a mother hen teaches her chicks how to hide and be perfectly still. These chicks were born five days ago.
Compared to birds whose chicks are helpless in their nests for a long time and who need food delivered to them constantly, chickens have it easy. Within one or two days of hatching, baby chickens are ready to follow their mother wherever she goes. She can go scratching for food, her chicks in tow, and she doesn’t have to take food back to the nest.