Jasmine has been talked about here often, she is a wild bunny that joined our flock of chickens years ago. She is always in or around the barn, and most of the day, hangs out under a shade tree with our free roam hens. She very often has babies stashed in the holes and tunnels she digs in the barn. She gathers chicken feathers for her nest and quite diligently tends to her young. And then… when they are old enough to meet the outside world, she moves them somewhere during the night. Once in a great while I see her youngsters, but as a rule, she hides them.
Again, this morning Jasmine is looking for the proper place to make a new hole for her soon expecting babies. She never uses the same hole, which for obvious reasons I’m NOT a fan of. Nevertheless, it is what it is, and I just go along with bunny nature.
Yes Jasmine! Under the brooder coop, that’s a great place for you to dig a hole, tunnel, and completely destroy. At least there I won’t likely step in it and further tweak my already tweaked back. Well, Jasmine didn’t think so, and went on to find a better spot. And this is where she picked…
Here? Really Jasmine? She decided the chicken coop is a great place to dig a hole for her baby nursery. Right smack in the middle of a 10×10 chicken coop. Ah yes, now there’s a perfect spot, perfect for me to step in and fall to China everyday.
There’s no discouraging Jasmine from a chosen spot, she’ll tunnel from Timbuktu to get where she wants to be. Like I said, bunny nature, just go with it. After all, a bunny mom knows best.
Mamma hen was separated from the flock five weeks ago to hatch and raise her baby chicks in a quiet and safe environment. The chicks are now two weeks old and it’s time to move Mamma and her babies back to the coop. To keep harmony among the flock, I’ve closed off a corner with hardware cloth to allow visibility between existing flock, Mamma and babies. The frame is merely PVC pipe cut in 3 foot sections with wire attached using zip ties.
Here’s the set-up I’m using from Nursery to Coop…
Inside Nursery Coop
Coop Transition Pen
Moving the hen with her chicks is best done at night when all the birds are sleeping. Last night wearing my handy head lamp, I headed out to the nursery coop. Throwing a blanket over the nest, I took Mom and her chicks, nest box and all, and placed it in the designated transition pen inside the coop. Come morning it will be introduction time! Safe, peaceful, and everybody is happy.
After a week or so, I’ll allow Mamma to take her babies out of the enclosure. She will protect her babies from the existing flock, and at about five weeks, she will begin putting distance between her and them.
Many chicken keepers allow their hens to hatch their eggs in a secluded area within the chicken coop. Others move hen and eggs back to coop three or four days before the hatch, both ways are certainly okay. I just like to give my hens a quiet place to do their mothering, it’s merely a personal preference.
This is the only shade this little gal could find. It’s 115 degrees, her babies are about 20 feet away under a vacant dog house. She’s very been careful to make sure her babies are out of the sun and near a water source.
Although she’s made an effort to keep her babies safe and comfortable, in about two weeks she’ll bring them all to a large grassy area to graze.
Bunny sounds like a good mom, except this is the same grassy area shared my bunny murdering dog Timmi.
Before we let the dog out, we have to yell “Run bunny run!” This ritual is definitely better than picking up dead baby bunnies.
The worst part of it all is Timmi kills them for absolutely no reason.