☆ June 8, 2021

One of our hens got broody and made her nest on the edge of the haystack, three bales high. One day, I went into the barn and saw a scattering of eggs on the ground that the hen had kicked from her nest. Nestled under her body were two little chicks. I’m guessing the hen kicked out her eggs so her babies would have more room, to protect them from falling off the haystack. But it was still too dangerous for them there on the edge, still too easy for them to fall.

I put the chicks in a bucket, then grabbed the hen and carried her to our chick nursery – a dog house made out of logs and filled with straw, which the dogs have never used. It sits in my garden and is the perfect interim home for chicks before they graduate to the chicken house.

I put the hen in the nursery, trapped her in with the chicken wire door, then brought her chicks to her and set them up with water and food. Then I gathered up the eggs, which had landed gently on the loose hay blanketing the floor of the barn, and put them in my yogurt maker to see if any would hatch.

It was a long shot – I didn’t know if the eggs had sat on the ground overnight or if my yogurt maker incubator would even be the correct temperature. But two days later, this happened!

They say baby birds imprint on whoever is present when they hatch, but I imprinted on this chick. I tucked my sweater into my jeans and carried the chick around in the pocket of warmth between my sweater and skin like a chick-mama-kangaroo. When I was in bed, the chick slept on my chest under the covers.

The following afternoon, once I was sure the chick was healthy and strong, I carried it out to the nursery and introduced the chick to its mama. When I placed it in the straw, the chick began cheeping desperately. The hen ran to it, gently herded it to the far corner, and nestled down on top of it as her other two chicks scurried beneath her body.

Doing the right thing is so hard sometimes! But they’re a happy chicken family now. And who knows, maybe another egg will hatch – the rest are still in my yogurt maker.


43 Responses to “Hatching”

  1. Stacey
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:04 am

    It’s so good to hear from you Shreve!

  2. Valerie Martin
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:13 am

    You ate angel!!!

  3. Jerry Johnson
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:14 am

    Good morning, Shreve. It is so good seeing new posts from you when they appear in my email. Life has gotten so busy and different that I don’t make it around to all the places on the web that I would like to be. But your stories have always held a special place in my life. Ever since your book on Charlie and reading Vespa Vagabond, I have been a fan.

  4. Caitlin Sullivan
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:32 am

    I live in the country now and I love how we have to come up with creative solutions for just about anything. You are the genius of creative solutions though. I love how you tell a story!

  5. Rita
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:34 am

    Just read your post….Tears of joy in my eyes.

    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:38 am

    So happy to hear from you!!! How wonderful you were able to help the baby chick, what a cutie!! Think of you and the farmily often and send love and light your way.

  7. Heather
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:40 am

    You are my favorite person on the internet!

  8. Stacey
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:55 am

    This is a metaphor, isn’t it?

  9. Marg
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:55 am

    Great to hear from you. I’m curious if that chick will remember you once it’s grown and follow you around.
    How are the rest of the Farmily? Daisy okay?

  10. Carolyn
    June 8th, 2021 @ 8:04 am

    How sweet. I love chickens. I hope you get two more!

  11. Kathy Russo
    June 8th, 2021 @ 9:09 am

    This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read~thank you so much for sharing♥️

  12. annnoe
    June 8th, 2021 @ 9:54 am

    This was the post I needed this morning. Thanks, Shreve. <3

  13. Torre
    June 8th, 2021 @ 10:06 am

    awwww so cute

  14. Ginger Klein
    June 8th, 2021 @ 10:25 am

    I love that you cared for the eggs and chick. Great series of photos.

  15. Holly
    June 8th, 2021 @ 10:49 am

    Loved this post Shreve. You have saved another wee soul. Hope the others hatch as well. Mama will be so surprised.!!

    So very great to hear from you. I’ve missed you!!

  16. Pat Bull
    June 8th, 2021 @ 10:51 am

    Love the new addition! I’ve been there many times myself. It’s so heartwarming to read your stories.The chicks are so cute.Did you pick out a name for this particular chick?
    So good to hear from you. I’ve missed seeing your emails.

  17. Julie Michaud
    June 8th, 2021 @ 11:07 am

    Your story of being a chicken mama really warmed my heart Shreve! Dear little creatures

  18. Janey
    June 8th, 2021 @ 11:14 am

    I love you, Shreve. You are such an extraordinary human. Bless you.

  19. Joy Nored
    June 8th, 2021 @ 11:40 am

    Oh Shreve!
    You still got it goin’ on! I am so happy to read today’s post and hear of your happy chick family!
    Hope you are doing as well as they are!

  20. jamie smith
    June 8th, 2021 @ 11:49 am

    Yogurt maker? I shall never look down upon that appliance gathering dust in my pantry ever again. You’re a Wyoming McGyver.

  21. mlaiuppa
    June 8th, 2021 @ 11:50 am

    At first I thought maybe she had kicked them out because they were bad and not going to hatch. But she was wrong about at least one of them. I wouldn’t dismiss that imprinting so soon either. You may find that despite being with her chicken Momma this chick may grow up to be a hen that follows you around and is more affectionate than the rest.

    So happy to hear from you.

    How is our best girl Daisy doing?

  22. Lorrian Ippoliti
    June 8th, 2021 @ 12:43 pm

    Aw this made me happy cry! Such a lovely tale. Thank you so much for sharing it, Shreve.

  23. Penny Kipley
    June 8th, 2021 @ 1:09 pm

    I heart this Shreve. You continue to make magic with animals. :)

  24. Mary Jo Kluth
    June 8th, 2021 @ 3:05 pm

    Hmmm… and life goes on. Thanks for sharing your rich life with us!

  25. Morgan
    June 8th, 2021 @ 3:22 pm

    Reading this was like drinking a cuppa hope

  26. Carol
    June 8th, 2021 @ 4:34 pm

    What fun! Adorable story and chicken. I did a double take when you said you put them in your yogurt maker!

  27. Carol
    June 8th, 2021 @ 4:35 pm

    What fun! Adorable story and chicken. I did a double take when you said you put them in your yogurt maker!

  28. Pamela Cady
    June 8th, 2021 @ 4:48 pm

    Such a lovely, wonderful story about hatching a chick! Yea for you. . . We raised 3 baby robins in our large bathroom, from 1 day old, a few years ago. Turned into a nice big aviary, the babies were fed every few hours (by us) and learned to fly inside too! It was an amazing experience. Finally, we opened the window and they cautiously flew out into the big world. We live in the country, so lots of trees & grass for birds of all kinds.

  29. JoDi
    June 8th, 2021 @ 7:48 pm

    Look at that pretty little face!

  30. Joyce Edder
    June 9th, 2021 @ 9:32 am

    What a beautiful story! Hope there is even more success.

  31. Theresa Szpila
    June 9th, 2021 @ 2:24 pm

    Oh, Shreve, how wonderful to hear all this from you. Heartwarming and spirit-boosting news is something we all need, and I am very grateful you’ve shared this with us. I hope you get some more hatchlings, and that they all live very happily ever after.
    Hugs and blessings to you and all the Farmily!

  32. Jill Trudeau
    June 9th, 2021 @ 5:08 pm

    LOVE , LOVE this story, Shreve!!!! You are the most amazing person when it comes to animals and loving them!!!! This made me smile huge!!!! Always so terrific to hear from you and please know how much we all appreciate you, your love and care for all the animals-they love you right back!!!! Think of you everyday, Mike, the farmily and all those that have crossed over the Rainbow Bridge-you are so special !!!!! Thank you for being you!!

  33. Maggie
    June 9th, 2021 @ 5:52 pm

    Awww!!! I love this so much!!
    You’ve got the best mama instincts ever.

  34. bonnie
    June 9th, 2021 @ 11:29 pm

    Thanks Shreve. so good to hear from you. and for the reminder that life does go on… Does your yogurt maker have a brand name? seems to me that might be the name for the chick… or maybe just Yogurt.

  35. Debbie
    June 15th, 2021 @ 1:38 pm

    When you said you put the chick under your sweater, I thought, “Of course you did!” So good to hear from you again. It’s been a long, cold, lonely winter. And the little furry boy that we will always love watches with admiration and love and approval at the love his Shreve-Mom shares.

  36. Judy
    June 18th, 2021 @ 8:35 am

    Oh Shreve, smiles and joy here. You made my day with your boundless goodness and love.

  37. Suzette
    June 21st, 2021 @ 1:15 pm

    I hated when the hens would nest on the hay. They’d sneak up there to build a nest, several bales high, out of sight. When the chicks would hatch, they’d often fall between the bales and we would be summoned by the panicky hen to carefully unstack the hay bales and rescue her chicks.

  38. sybil
    June 22nd, 2021 @ 1:03 pm

    This post made me cry. Partly because of (and for) you and everything this year has brought. I hope you’re well.

    That chick may always prefer you.

  39. Scotty
    June 27th, 2021 @ 6:41 am

    i like birds.

  40. Denise Ockey
    August 30th, 2021 @ 11:08 pm

    My neighbor just gave me the Daily Coyote to read. I had not realized that this was awhile back. I am so sorry to hear of Charlie’s passing. I know how difficult it can be and still is.

    Is there any place where I can read about an update on your life? I know that Pita passed. What happened to threir puppies? How much longer was Eli around?

    What is the status of you and Mike? Do you still live in or around Ten Sleep?

    I am a fine art photographer trained at the Academy I of Art in San Francisco. I do film (large and medium format), black and white, Pt/Pd printing, and landscapes.

    I would love to collaborate with you. I have really wanted to get into wildlife photography. I think that my experience with large and medium format as well as alternative printing techniques could bring a lot to the table. Please let me know if interested.

  41. Rockrat
    October 6th, 2021 @ 5:50 pm

    Nice writing and pictures. Way to go Shreve.

  42. mlaiuppa
    October 25th, 2021 @ 2:59 am

    The anniversary of Charlie’s passing will be on Thursday, Oct. 28. Will you have a post updating us on the Farmily?

    I still think of Charlie.

    I’ve adopted a Husky mix end of June. She is small, 50 lbs and agouti. She so reminds me of a coyote in full Winter fluff only she is grey instead of red/tan. But when I look at her, I think of Charlie.

    Daily Coyote is still my home page and whenever I open a new tab or window, there he is. I am so thankful for all of the photos you took and shared with us.

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    February 22nd, 2024 @ 9:41 am


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