Miracle Max’s Greatest Miracle Yet – A special Week-a-Versary

So last night, I reported that Ashley’s chicks had vanished and were not in the coop, unable to be found and I was certain they were dead.

This morning, I went to the coop with a heavy heart, intending to feed and let the bigger chickens outside, go about my routine and then search for little yellow bodies in the wet grass.  I was met by Dots and his sons crowing in unison, and the sound of Ashley buck-bucking because she still thought she was mother hen.  I felt sorry for her because she didn’t realize she had lost her wee ones.

Outside, I heard chirping, but I thought it was wild birds enjoying the sunshine after yesterday’s rain.

So I filled the food dish to take outside and opened up the barn doors — and nearly dropped it when saw three little chicks on the steps.  Miracle Max, one of the little spotted Dalmation babies, and the peachy-red one I’m calling Cinnamon Bun.



Ashley reunited with the first three babies.

I reunited them, got them food and water, and went to send my DH and My Girl a text message so they would know the good news.

When I returned to the task of feeding the chickens, I found this…

The fourth baby, a little Dalmie.

He was standing on the steps with Pavel, cheeping and looking a little lost. I scooped him up and happily brought him to his mother and siblings.

All four babies together.


I truly named Miracle Max correctly.  I did not, could not hope for this ending to last night’s horror story.  But there they are… all four babies, safe and sound.

I’m going to be observing Ashley.  I know it’s hard taking multiple chicks outside for the first time.  Abby had a difficult time with her six summer babies.  They couldn’t negotiate the ramp, she couldn’t herd them all together.  I found her several times sleeping with them on the steps.  But it was raining last night and Ashley might erred on the side of ‘get out of the rain’ and didn’t realize her babies had not followed.  Then it got dark in the coop and she tucked in for the night, got broody tranked and didn’t realize.  This morning, she was flipping out buck-bucking.  If they get a little bigger, they can do the ramp on their own without too much help.

But if she can’t take care of them, they might have to go to the brooder box for the next  few weeks and Ashley may go on the “No Eggs Ever” list.

We’ll just have to see how the next couple of days go.

14 thoughts on “Miracle Max’s Greatest Miracle Yet – A special Week-a-Versary

    1. She is! I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt because even my best momma hen (Abby) had trouble the first couple of times her Littles went outside. But she only gets one more shot at this. The brooder is clean and ready.

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  1. Hooray! This is just the best thing. 🙂 They are little smarty pants’ for sticking together and keeping warm. C’mon, Ash, pull your socks up! I’m starting to feel nervous about the logistics of 12 potential babies!

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    1. I just got finished checking on her. Ash had them in the coop (good place to be) and was attempting to teach how how to jump/climb/fly? onto the window ledge. When they wouldn’t do it, she got back down and tried showing them how to use the ladder into the laying beds. A smart call on her part. I will give Ash credit for being a critical thinker and smart enough to adapt her plans. I think in a couple more days, maybe by next week, getting separated like that won’t be an issue. But for now, it still is. I’m still watching her and them closely!

      I don’t think you will have trouble with Frodo. She is a veteran Mother Hen and she handled 8 babies with ease. Ash is a first-timer and not as protective/aggressive as Frodo or my Abby & Claire. She has a timid “let’s just stay close together” method that neither Abby or Claire took, and I don’t think Frodo did either. I may not think it’s the best mothering approach, but in this case, I think it served a purpose. She taught her chicks to band together in scary situations and it looks like it saved their lives!

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      1. Yeah, at least she is making a good effort to teach them and has not abandoned them. You’re right, Ash teaching them to stay close together and to hide definitely saved them! What a weird situation. It’s funny how they all have their own ways of mothering.

        Frodo was good last time. The only thing she had trouble with was getting them up the ramp into the coop, or sometimes out of it, so 12 could be chaos! If I wasn’t there to help she would have just settled either in the coop or under it with wherever most of the babies were. Mind you, I’m planning to move them into the big cage for a few days after they’ve all hatched, so we’ll see. No babies by nightfall tonight. I’m even more impatient than last time! I’m a little worried as she came off the nest for a few minutes yesterday. I just about had heart failure when I saw her in the orchard later in the afternoon. After all those days when I had to take her out myself! She wasn’t out for long so I’m just hoping it won’t affect the babies… She was sitting tight and very spread out today.

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      2. I had that same heart flipping moment with Ash when she got off the next on the first day of lockdown, too. I was so afraid they wouldn’t hatch because her eggs were cooler than I thought they should be, but in the end, only one died in the egg. One died trying to come out, so I only got 4 of the 6 eggs. But it’s not spring here, it’s on the verge of winter. So it’s colder and that was a big factor. Frodo has the advantage of warmer weather. Hopefully her eggs didn’t get too cold. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

        At least we know about the ramp issue. It was problem for Abby until they got big enough to not be afraid of it. Once all six got big enough, and understood that’s what everyone did at night, they did fine. You and Frodo will out how to make it easier on her this time around.

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    1. The barn is old and there several places where the side of the foundation has cracked and fallen away. They are close to the ground and big enough for chicks to get into. Claire and Abby both encouraged their babies to hide there this summer to find shade and sanctuary from the big girls who might tease them. Or to hide from me when I wanted pictures/etc. Also, there are barn board broken just enough to make holes… if you look here (https://www.instagram.com/p/BKWQ0PWg97s/) you can see that a full sized hen can fit in them. If they managed to get up there from the steps, it would be dry and safe for the night. I’m leaning towards that option, because I found them on the step and not out in the grass. There are a couple of different hidey-holes like that in the same spot, and while the one in the video is easy to see into, the other is deeper. We looked in all of them but if the flashlights didn’t go back far enough? Who knows?

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