Under her wing.

Rhode Island Red chick, day old

“Mother’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She won’t let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.” – Pink Floyd

Hardy in all weathers, Rhode Island Reds don’t seem to mind the snow or the sun and are prolific egg layers, making them a popular backyard chicken where their dark red, almost mahogany feathers make a striking contrast to green pasture. They do, however, have a tendency to go ‘broody’, and this week one of her hens proudly presented us with five ginger chicks.

Within a day they were exploring the forest of clover. Unfortunately their second day in this world was a cold, rainy one and their legs are just not long enough to get back up the ramp into the hen house for shelter. I found mother hen sitting in the pouring rain with her chicks safely hidden, warm and dry amongst her feathers. While I picked her up and lifted her in, she held her five chicks tight to her body, under her wing. An instinct that gives rise to that old adage “to take under the wing”, meaning to take care of someone, often while teaching them something new.

Rhode Island Red hen with day old chicksRhode Island Red chick, day oldRhode Island Red chick, day old

Rhode Island Red hens are generally very placid, while the roosters take their job of guardian very seriously. They can be quite aggressive towards an intruder, especially when he has hens with chicks.  Our original rooster had to be ‘moved on’ when he became a bit too much to handle. Right now our young replacement is proving to be good natured… we’ll see if he turns cranky as he gets older!

Rhode Island Red rooster


About Jane Fowler

We are working towards a sustainable lifestyle, homeschooling our children, growing all our own food and creating art. Join us in our journey, learning with us along the way.
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2 Responses to Under her wing.

  1. Aw, poor little chicks. Actually, poor mama, she was the one getting wet! 😊 The chicks are quite adorable. Good luck with your new rooster!
    – Christine


    • Jane Fowler says:

      Hi Christine, She’s a good mama, keeping them warm and dry. It’s amazing how waterproof her feathers are, she hardly felt wet at all when I lifted her up, although she was happy to be back inside. The chicks are growing fast and within a few days were able to get up and down the ramp easily.

      Liked by 1 person

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