This is the first chicks I have tried to raise, and they are not due to hatch until April 28th. My question is "How do I go about feeding my chicks if they will remain with the hen?" This will be the first chicks she has raised as well. I know the chicks need starter feed, but is it ok to have the starter available to the hen as well. Also, with the hen in with the chicks do I need another heat source for the new chicks. Lastly, is it safe to have the rooster in with the new family?
Letting Mom raise her chicks
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My broody hens are in a big dog crate in the coop, or in my coop 'annex', so the other birds aren't invading her nest all the time. I feed Flock Raiser to the broody hen, and then her babies, in their separate digs. After a few days, the cage door is left opened, and they integrate into the flock. Mom guards and protects them very well! Chick starter with amprolium is also fine for the broody. Layer feed isn't as good for either. Mary
In all the years I’ve been keeping chickens the broody hen raises them with the flock. I have never had a rooster threaten one of his kids. Even if they are totally different colors the rooster assumes young chicks are his. I have had several roosters help Mama take care of the chicks.
I realize this is mostly a women’s site and to some women a rooster is evil incarnate, the source of all evil, and deserves to have his head chopped off just because he exists. I imagine your question came from something you read on this forum. Some roosters do deserve to have their heads chopped off, some can be aggressive toward people or rough on the hens, but the other hens are a much greater danger to the chicks than the rooster. The broody hen will take care of any danger from the hens. I have never lost a chick to another adult flock member, hen or rooster, when the broody hen was raising them with the flock. I have had problems when I tried to isolate them and did not do a great job of isolating them.