Thursday, December 10, 2009

Episode 10 Day Old Chicks

Episode 10 Day Old Chicks

Welcome to episode 10 of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals, Day Old Chicks.

I wanted to make a special, short episode about todays great news. Ms Chicken's chicks hatched today! So far, I dont know how many there are in total, at least two chicks, possibly 3, because Ms Hen is sitting where the eggs are. The hatched chicks are all sheltering under her, they burrow under her feathers for warmth. The ones I have definitely were either the traditional blonde chick colour, or a dark brown. The darker chick will most likely be the same glossy black colour as its mother in time.

I've uploaded some photos of the chicks to my flickr account. You can find it on my blog, coexistingwithnonhuman animals I also have photos of some of the Wandering Ringtail Damselflies I found, the first of that kind this year. Two videos of the chicks are uploaded, mainly so you can hear the noises they make. Heres a generic sound effect of chicks peeping, 

They do sound quite similar to that. Here is the audio from the two videos. You can hear the rooster, the hen and the chicks. The high pitched noises are the chicks, the lower clucks are generally Mr Rooster being concerned, with Ms Hen commenting every now and then.

Spending time with Mr Rooster and Ms Hen, and now these chicks, has made me realise even more the faults of free range eggs. All eggs involve suffering, all hens love their eggs. Ms Hen obviously worked very hard to make her eggs, and she waited until she had exactly 10 in her nest. She then sat on them for a few weeks, only rarely leaving the nest for food and water. When she did come off, she looked close to death, and out of her mind. She was VERY upset to be just a few metres from the nest. After a very short time, she'd hop back up to her nesting box, and begin her sitting procedure. She'd straddle the eggs, and carefully sit down, before working out how to extend her wings over the eggs. Her wings formed a skirt, somehow managing to cover up all the eggs. I'd imagine this would be very uncomfortable, imagine having your arms outstretched for a days at a time.

No matter how farmed hens are treated, we all know how the baby boy chicks are treated. They are roughly handled, thrown about by workers, and males are generally ground to a pulp by a machine. There are different names for what happens, one I know is "instantaneous maceration", it really is no different to putting these baby boys in a giant industrial blender. How people can be fined for dropping spiders on a hot plate, but not for killing millions of roosters a year is beyond me.

Hens really do make the best mothers, I cant wait to see how nicely Ms Hen is to her chicks. So far, I havnt seen any of the chickens leave their nesting box. Ms Hen hasnt moved, she just sits there as the hatched chicks climb all over and under her. Mr Rooster is guarding the nesting box, hes quite cute as he cocks his head at odd angles, to listen to the peeping . And, I still dont know how many chicks there actually are! Two of the eggs didnt make it, I found 2 dead chicks, as well as the 2 or possibly 3 alive chicks.

Thank you very much for listening to this ultra short episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals. I just couldnt wait any longer, they only stay a day old for a short time you know.

You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals at coexisting with nonhuman animals .

If you want to contact me, even just to say you listened, send an email to, j a y w o n t d a r t @, I'd appreciate it.

Thank you for listening.

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