Made has always had a thing for having lots of animals around. In fact I think it’s a Balinese thing – most family compounds will be home to a few dogs, a family of chickens and various other creatures. New visitors to Bali are often woken by the many cockerels that seem to have no concept of when it’s night or day – in fact it’s important for families to own at least one fighting cock as ceremonial cock fights are an important part of temple ceremonies and the male representative from every family is required to bring one – if they don’t have one they borrow one!
Anyway, in the time I’ve known Made we’ve gone through many many chickens, ducks, puppies, even a squirrel. None of them last very long and eventually either die, wander off or are stolen. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll have seen the two ducks that we had as pets for the last 6 months or so – raised from babies they ended up being the bane of my life, eating every single green thing in the garden (including all the grass so now we have a big patch of soil instead of a lawn) and pooing everywhere. When the girl duck started laying eggs I was happy they were at last being useful but then they ran away and decided to join the herd (flock?) of ducks that were being farmed in the rice fields. The farmer kept bringing them back but then the girl duck died suddenly (the farmer brought her back, said she was sick and she was dead within 1o minutes. The boy duck was supposed to be sacrificed for a ceremony but made couldn’t bring himself to do it so he ended up living back at the inlaws for another few months… I think he’s still there now.
So I’m not a big fan of chickens, especially the stupid loud cockerels but they make Made happy so whatever. We’ve gone through several since we’ve been at the new house, all boys that eventually lose in a cock fight and meet their demise. He came home one day with a white chicken not intended for fighting but because it “looked pretty”. It surprised us both when it started laying eggs (Made thought it was a boy). Being a small chicken, it lay rather small eggs so instead of eating them, Made decided to try raising chickens. See our ghetto nesting box:
Yes that is a wastepaper bin lined with newspaper.
So the dutiful chicken sat on her eggs, barely coming out to eat or stretch her legs for around 21 days. If felt much longer and I was convinced that all the eggs were duds and we were going to end up with a depressed chicken. But to my surprise I came home one morning after a night over at the inlaws and found a tiny black and white chick running around the yard!
None of the other eggs hatched so the mother hen only had one little one to look after and she took to motherhood well, sheltering her baby under her wing and shooing us off if we got too close. The little chick seemed to be happy and healthy but then I found him dead on the ground when he was about 2 weeks old He was still in the place where they slept and had been running around fine the night before so I’m inclined to think that the mother smothered him by accident
I knew nothing about chicken rearing before this but after doing a little research, the death rate for baby chicks seems to be fairly high so it’s not too surprising, although a bit of a shame as we only had one and he was so cute! I guess we will just wait for the mama hen to get broody again and try again – it’s nice that it’s so easy and we just provide somewhere safe and dry to nest and let her get on with it! I always thought you needed a load of expensive equipment for raising chickens…
Here are a few more photos. RIP baby chick!