Monday, July 11, 2016

Empty Nest Syndrome

When last we checked on the the chicks, they were little balls of fluff 
who could barely hold up their heads. In the subsequent week, 
I kept a very close eye on them...probably too close...peeking in whenever I walked by.

Last Monday, I wore the GoPro when I brought Lucy and the boys home for breakfast.

The chicks were barely 10 days old when they went missing, 
and there's no way they could have left the nest on their own.
I'm thinking: a) the parents got fed up with my prying eyes 
and relocated them or b) something else happened.
Either way, that nest should not be empty and I take full responsibility.

Maybe not so coincidentally, I noticed another nest 
being built in another cholla a few days later. 

I took one picture, checked it the next day and saw a turquoise egg, 
then got the hell out of there and have not been back. 
I'm going to leave this family alone to raise their kids in peace.

Meanwhile, back in the barn, Peach is dealing with her own empty nest syndrome.
Six years old and well past her prime, she hasn't laid an egg for months, but
she's gone broody and I can't seem to convince her that motherhood is not in her future.


  1. I'm not sure parents could relocate a nest of babies, however, birds grow up and leave the nest super fast, so maybe?

    I suspect snakes are public enemy Number 1 when it comes to baby birds... :(

  2. Actually, the babies probably fledged. They do so between 11 - 18 days of age, before a lot of the primary feathers develop. Very fast development and you mey be getting lucky to have a second (or third) brood.

  3. You can get some fertile eggs for peach to hatch out.

    I agree with C. Snakes or some other critter got the babies . I have a bird box on my porch and I regularly open the door every so often to show neighbor children the 3 babies inside . The parents swoop me a bit, but continue with their tasks once I close door . I sit on my porch and enjoy the music of their chirping, grateful I don't have to feed the 3 hungry mouth inside. Best wishes , carol in Washington.

  4. I am 99% sure that was not your fault they left. Only if you touched the nest and left your odor, then can be your fault.

  5. You could try buying some fertilized eggs from a farmer and letting Peach sit and hatch them? She just wants the joys of screaming little kids :)

    Poor nest babies, hope they survived.

  6. I too suspect snakes.

  7. Being a bird mother is one of the toughest gigs. You almost never get all your kids to adulthood; what a thankless task. Poor Peach -- don't we all reach a time when we have to accept we will lay no more eggs? I used to have zebra finches, whose females get mentally unstable (who'da thunk it?) without eggs to sit on; you can actually buy tiny fake ones for their nests. It kept them busy for a while but even bird brains figured out they never hatched, so their value was limited.

  8. You could get some day-old chicks and put them under your broody. I have had good luck with doing this, but I always put the chicks under the hen in the dark, and I only put a few under. Chicks are fun!!

  9. I bet your cholla babies fledged. Birds leave the nest really quickly, often before they can fly very much. Then the parents chase them around feeding them wherever they find them. (Thinking positive here!)
    I'm casting my vote for putting three or four fertile eggs under Peach in that henhouse box she keeps snuggling into! I know you probably don't need any more eggs than you're getting, but wouldn't it be fun?!!

  10. yes I agree and vote too, get some fertilized eggs or small chicks for Peach and let her brood (you could get males only so no problem with more eggs!)

  11. Ugh - I have three broodies at the moment.

    Besides the lack of production (these gals are just a year old) they are raving beyatches. Apparently it just has to run it's course, unless you give them some eggs or sneak chicks under them.

  12. An American in Tokyo7/11/16, 7:57 PM

    Oh, the babies are gone! Fingers crossed, they just relocated.

    Peach sounds so cute! Do the different chicken breeds have different "songs"?

    And JCC sounds so timid, even when he's up high, far away from the ladies!!
    I guess they still scare him? lol

  13. I bet the babies left the nest. We have a bird feeder hereand the baby quail are always flying up to it. They are tiny little balls of fluff but they still fly.
    Also my brother found a nest that blew out of the tree and the babies were on the ground. He put the nest and babies in a hanging basket but the babies keep falling out. He keeps picking them up and putting them back in. Mom still takes care of them even after he's handled them so many times. I don't think you were the problem.

  14. Have you ever looked at this blog? The blogger, Julie Zickenfoose, regularly handles the babies and nests with babies and it doesn't chase the parents off. She has very good reasons for what she does. Read the blog for more information. My point is similar to the others...don't feel guilty.

  15. I never had any luck breaking my broody hens. They would always go back broody again. The key is lowering their body temperature. Mine were put on screen instead of straw. Those who had an egg to lay didn't really care, they just got in and got out. Broody hen couldn't keep her body temperature up and would finally stop making the weird broody hen call. Two months later, she would go back at it again. That is when I call it. Two strikes and you're in the freezer.
    Wild birds also prey on the babies of others. My robin's nests were robbed in the egg state and in the chick state. It's hard to be a wild bird!

    1. Two strikes and you're in the freezer! Ha ha haaaa!

  16. I don't think you caused this. I've watched nests pretty closely and not had an issue. Julie Zickafoose (great birder/artist/horticulture blog if you don't already follow her regularly goes into nests and even moved a baby from one to another recently. I'd guess snakes.

  17. rest assured, birds rarely if never get disturbed by people behaving as calm and respectful as you did.

    I AM sorry to say though, they cannot relocate their young, like mammals can.

    Most likely one of those HORRIBLE snakes got to them. Sorry!

    The birds trust you as they already started a new nest. I hope this time it'll all work out!


  18. Awww, if she sets long enough to have hatched the eggs, get her some day olds and tuck them under her at night. I've done that with mine at times, even one very silly layer hybrid who didn't know she isn't supposed to have those sorts of urges but who stuck it out long enough to earn them. It gives them so much joy to raise their babies. :)