Remember way back in October when we had a little surprise? That's when our hen Frightful stole an autumn nest and hatched out two chicks. One chick died, but the other survived.
To keep the other hens from picking on the baby, we kept Frightful and her chick first in an old rabbit hutch in the coop, then later when they outgrew that we wired off a portion of the coop and tucked them in there. This winter has been very mild with virtually no snow, but the temps were chilly. Still, the chick did well under the heat lamp, and once it feathered out it was fine.
So last week I decided to shoo Frightful and the chick outside and let them get used to being with the rest of the flock. Both were a little skittish after being in their pen so long. Frightful immediately flew up to the perch, and the chick followed. I still call it a "chick," but as you can see it's a half-grown bird (the black and white bird in front).
However once they got down from the perch the chick got picked on by the other hens. I found her huddled behind a board, hiding, so I scooped her up and put her back in the pen, to her relief.
Then a few days ago I shooed Frightful and the chick outside once more. But this time the chick hid herself in a place I couldn't find, so when dark fell I couldn't find her. I searched and searched, but no luck.
"Don't be surprised to hear squawks in the middle of the night," I told the girls.
Sure enough, I awoke at 1:30 am to hear squawks.
In the morning I went out and saw a trail of black and white feathers leading down into the woods. Coyotes have to eat too, I guess.
So much for hatching out fall chicks....