My Tiny Brood of Backyard Chooks

chooks, hens or chickens?

Mama Chicken teaching her baby chicks to scratch and peck


New mama

I have never had the opportunity to watch a mother hen with her baby chicks. I have been amazed at how she teaches them.

Watching a mama hen teaching her babies to eat is something I am so glad I have experienced. She calls them over with a special clucking sound and when they hear this sound they come running so fast, often with their little wings flapping to give them that extra speed. (Well most of them come running. Harry seems to have a mind of his own and does what he wants to do and not what his mama wants him to do.)

So the little chicks have been called over and they know it is to eat something but sometimes they don’t understand quite what it is that she is wanting them to eat. They poke their little beaks at the ground right beside hers and look quizzically about.

Today there were some very tiny bits of apple that she wanted them to try. So she picked up a bit as though she was going to eat it and then dropped it back down in front of the chicks. If they didn’t catch on straight away, she did it again and again until they understood just what it was they were meant to be eating. She kept this up until each chick had eaten what they wanted and then she had some for herself.

The other thing she has been teaching them is to scratch and peck. She does this amazingly exaggerated scratching of the grass with her funny little legs going so fast and then pecks at the ground calling her chicks over. (I have chick crumble sprinkled on the ground as well as in the chick feeder.) They come running along and start pecking at the chick crumble as she scratches the ground for them. They know to keep out of the way of mama’s feet.

Today I saw some of the baby chicks scratching the ground with their little pin sized legs, just like mama does, only maybe not quite so vigourously.


8 thoughts on “Mama Chicken teaching her baby chicks to scratch and peck

  1. Wow! I got baby chicks and ” raised them”. They all started scratching and pecking on their own, but not this early. But I am sure there is other stuff their mother would have taught them. I am sure she would have done a better job. We always think we can do better than nature does and we are always wrong! I think I will try to get some fertile eggs in the spring if one of my hens gets broody. I would love to watch her teaching the babies. I wonder if she would though since she never had a mother to teach her…hmmm. The dilemmas we create. Anyway, I am so glad you are watching and blogging about this…it is really fascinating. Thanks so much! Patti

    • I think they would know exactly what to teach their babies, even if they didn’t have a mum to teach them. 🙂 Glad you are thinking about getting fertile eggs for the next broody.
      Glad you are enjoying my stories 🙂

  2. I want to come over and just sit still and watch these amazing little creatures. Chickens have such sweet temperaments I’m sure they make great mothers. Enjoy yourself and know you are making at least one person out there green with envy.

  3. That is so cool. I have never seen a mama hen teaching her chicks, either, but I would love to experience that! Maybe we’ll have to arrange a conjugal visit with a random rooster here this spring. 🙂

  4. Amazing and wonderful! It’s awesome that you are taking the time to observe and share such a beautiful example of pure love!

  5. This sounds so fun! I don’t have a rooster for “my girls”, but you are sorely tempting me to get one. Babies!

  6. Thanks for your lovely comments.
    I used to be green with envy of people who had baby chicks. That is how I became determined to let her raise chicks next time she became broody. I am also a little bit jealous of people who have hatched using an incubator and hand raising the chicks. That way you can see the hatching process and also get to see the chicks up close and pick them up. Mama hen gets very bossy and so we keep our distance.

    There is a way to get chicks without a rooster. You can do what I did and buy fertile eggs from a breeder and pop them under your broody at night. She will love you for it.

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