i have a hen sitting on a clutch of eggs. they are in the coop, but in a big kennel. i know i need to provide chick starter and water for chicks, i have the feeders for that. but what about hen? just let her eat the chick starter? how long should i keep them in the kennel segregated from the regular hens/roosters/ducks? assuming mom will protect them, should i just leave the kennel open?
chicks due soon and need to make sure i got it covered
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Regarding separation / integration I think that opinions seem to differ. I have no experience with ducks so I'll leave that to others but personally, I let my hen and her chicks mingle with the rest of the flock after 2-3 days. The chicks are born in the main coop which is a shed and then put in a mini-coop the day they are born. After a couple of days the mini-coop door
Is left open so mum takes them there to sleep ( I then close the door) and eat / drink. It seems from my experience that adults only feel the need to teach chicks required etiquette when they are around 4-6 weeks, so the chicks are quite safe with mum to protect them - Roos sometimes help as well as other hens in the flock. I should add that my flock free ranges.
This is just my experience however, so let others also share their experiences so you can decide what suits you.
so hen is ok.
i keep the chicks and hen in the kennel for a few days (its a large kennel for a doberman pincher, so plenty of room. the kennel is in the coop now, so i just leave it there, then after 2-3 days i just leave the door open so they can come and go as they please. sounds easy to me. i free range too. i use deep litter for the coop, and at the door there is a 2x6 to keep the litter in the coop. should i build a little ramp for the chicks to get out? outside the coop is a pen that is open to the ground, but covered on top and on the sides. so they should be fine in there once they venture out that far.
A ramp would be fine but even a block of wood will still be ok I would think - they seem to be agile from day 1. Just make sure they can get back into the crate.
Mum knows best so let her decide what to do - they will even decide when to take their chicks to roost with the adults - I find it quite amazing.