It's a fact that some chicken mums are pretty bad at being mums. They may like the idea when they're sitting on an ever-growing clutch of eggs, many of which they steal from their hen friends. But when it comes down to the nitty gritty of actually dealing with a chick it can be a pretty poor show.
In the case of poor old Pengy, it's a story straight from a chicken soap opera. Her momma couldn't resist the urge to keep adding to an ever expanding clutch of eggs and she lost track of what was what. She stayed longer than the 21 days needed to hatch an egg but eventually gave up, her labors fruitless. The poor hen grew sad and went through a few days hiding in bush feeling bad about herself. The whole thing broke my heart.
Luckily, she had a nest buddy who had managed to hatch her own chick she allowed her chick-less friend to co-parent her little one.
In the midst of the hen's story came the start of little Pengy's dramatic entrance. We found Pengy, a lone chick that had hatched in the pile of eggs on the 3rd March during a particularly cold evening.
We didn't think there was much hope for the poor little thing but we kept her warm and dry and the little cold and wet mess of sticky fluff started chirping and moving about.
The next day she was a fuzzy little ball but she spent lots of time simply standing still and staring. Standing in a corner and staring blankly is a bog standard area for concern for most species I'd say, so we got a little gang of hens to keep her company.
You'd never know the challenges she faced when first emerging in to the world but here she is, happy and healthy and hanging out with buds.
Left and middle: Pengy at day 2.
Right: Pengy and one of her buds at day 7
Why Pengy Meringue? Our eldest son named her. When she emerged from the egg she was flat and slick and looked like a penguin so he called her Pengy. Meringue because she smelled like freshly whipped egg whites..not surprising based on the fact that she emerged from an egg but there you go.
It's now April 7th and Pengy has, through a series of events (more soap drama chicken stuff) she has been reunited with her momma, her momma's buddy and the co-parented chick! We have blended chicken family and all are doing well. Her momma and friend will let all the chicks under their wings to keep warm and although Pengy was immediately drawn to the momma that kept her warm all those days in the egg, she still recognizes her adopted human family. That's right! We call her name and she comes right over for a cuddle.
It just goes to show you that although there are always ups and downs in life, there is always hope.
Standby for Pengy updates!