Every year, the Bantam chickens try creating secret stealth nests to hatch out chicks. We don't want any more Bantams, so each year I find most of the nests before they hatch out. But they ARE clever, and each year, at least one hen succeeds in hatching out a batch before I can find her nest. Here is this years batch:
Just a few days ago, I heard some peeping sounds from a cardboard box on our back porch. The box had been filled with scrap pieces of wood. Not enough room for a nesting hen, I would have thought, but I was wrong. A Bantam squeezed her way in among the wood pieces. When I removed the largest wood piece, I saw her, with her seven little chicks running around her.
I suppose a real farmer who didn't want them would drown them in a bucket of water or something. I guess they are lucky I'm not a real farmer.
Each chicklet is smaller than my thumb! They can run through chicken wire, just barely slowing down enough to squeeze through the holes.
I used to fuss over the Bantams when we first got them, making sure everything was just right, by the book, when the chicks were hatched. But that seems funny now. Why? Because they are like cockroaches; almost impossible to eradicate!
And for such small birds, they eat like horses. But on the plus side, they eat a lot of bad insects, so they aren't completely useless. We use their eggs (and the excess roosters) as dog food.
In this last photo, the mother and babies are next to a full-sized chicken, so you can see how small they all are.
This group of chicks we have nicknamed "The Pleiades", because there are seven of them. And because we hope they will all be females, instead of dog food.