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Letting Mom raise her chicks

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

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?  

post #2 of 4

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

post #3 of 4
Good question! The broody hen is not laying eggs so she does not need the extra calcium in Layer. Chick Starter is actually better for her than Layer because of the calcium level. A standard way to feed a mixed flock where some are laying and some don’t need the calcium is to feed a non-Layer chicken feed (Starter, Grower, Flock Raiser) hat is suitable for the chicks and offer oyster shell on the side. Normally the hens that need the extra calcium for the eggs know to eat it and the ones that don’t need it (chicks, broody hen, or rooster) don’t eat enough to harm themselves. I never feed Layer but I almost always have younger chickens in my flock.

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.

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

 

"If you make every game a life-and-death proposition, you're going to have problems. For one thing, you'll be dead a lot." — former North Carolina coach Dean Smith

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks. George is sweet and protective of Charoltt. He even gets in the nest with her at night rather than roost. The two of them are in a smaller coop by themselves. I separated them when she started to act broody so I would be sure to get her eggs and they would be fertilized. We keep two roosters. The Cochin is friendly and the RIOis stand-offish. Thanks for the advice.
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