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Is 7 months too young for broody? - Page 4

post #31 of 48
Thank you for the great advise! I will see if I can get my husband to help me with some hardwire cloth this weekend. I'm also think about installing a little ramp up to the box. I'm afraid a chick might get out and not be able to get back.
I'll make sure I take down the barrier as soon as possible and give her and chicks some alone time while the others are out free ranging. I have a few that are about to start laying soon (20 weeks) and I'm curious to see how they treat the chicks. They get chased away from food and the roost bar still so they might be sympathetic or mean cause they finally have someone they can boss around?
I hope I didn't hijack your post. It's so exciting to talk and ask questions to someone that has been through it before. I have to remind myself that my friends and family don't want to talk about my chicken haha.
I'll check out the candling link and see if I can get a peek later. Thanks so much!
post #32 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambergds View Post

Thank you for the great advise! I will see if I can get my husband to help me with some hardwire cloth this weekend. I'm also think about installing a little ramp up to the box. I'm afraid a chick might get out and not be able to get back.
I'll make sure I take down the barrier as soon as possible and give her and chicks some alone time while the others are out free ranging. I have a few that are about to start laying soon (20 weeks) and I'm curious to see how they treat the chicks. They get chased away from food and the roost bar still so they might be sympathetic or mean cause they finally have someone they can boss around?
I hope I didn't hijack your post. It's so exciting to talk and ask questions to someone that has been through it before. I have to remind myself that my friends and family don't want to talk about my chicken haha.
I'll check out the candling link and see if I can get a peek later. Thanks so much!


You are quite welcome!  Yes, non-chicken people just kinda look at us like ... it's a chicken, get over it ... after politely smiling for the first sentence or two.  :lol: 

 

If you get a chance to candle, I imagine at this stage you'll probably see mostly dark egg with the air sac.

 

Based on the photo I don't think you'll need a ramp- probably easier to make little steps with a 1x2 or 2x2... or just make a ramp from straw, they won't need it for long. The top board in mine came in very handy for the chick waterer and little shallow food dish.

 

Hardware cloth (1/2") isn't all that much fun to deal with but it's the most fool proof at keeping chicks from slipping through.  We did all 150 feet of chicken run wiring hardware cloth to chain link- we have a farm cat that would love for a chick to slip out the wrong side of the fence.  I cut it using tin snips while wearing leather gloves.  Either zip tie or 16 gauge wire works pretty well to attach it to existing mesh fencing. 

 

On the nest side pictured below (she set up shop in the bottom left), the straw makes the ramp (it's 5" deep to the floor) and I'd made little steps with the thought that one day chicks might need to use them- and our ladies refused to step up 4-6" to enter the nest box without steps.  Now they get it, but I put landing steps anyways. The first pic shows the whole west nest bank and the steps in on the very bottom.  The chicks did fine getting in and out of that- 2nd pic shows the food and water within reach for a stretching broody when she's ready, and easy distance to reach and show the chicks how to eat and drink, which she really did do while still sitting on the nest.  It looked like she was eating but she was really just picking up little pieces of food to show the babies what to do. 

 

Chicks can make it at least 2 days just on the yolk they absorb before hatching.   I waited until I heard the first little chick peeps to put the food and water right by her.  Up until her self-imposed lock down date, she drank and ate from the flock's normal place at her choosing up to that point.  I didn't put her barricade up until I heard that first chick starting to hatch.  Before that it was all her decision. 

 

She's got to stay on the nest while they all hatch so instinctively shouldn't want to eat herself until they're about ready to get up -- because they don't want to leave the nest to poop!  Or worse, poop in the nest.  Anyways, when setting up I used a pint jar with a regular mouth to fit into the chick waterer 2nd pic with a little chickie under her- and I only put about an inch of water total- figured if that thing gets tipped into the nest, it could spell big trouble.  Now I fill it.

 

Ours got up on day 22. One problem we had with her in the little enclosure is she scratches the ground so hard she'd send chicks flying like they were caught in jet wash. They were fine, but it added incentive to get her out ASAP.

 

About the younger birds- The low bird of the flock has been the jerk- she looks to assert her dominance over these wee chicks, which is sad - and momma chases her down- but she still does it because ... she can, but it's not a beat down, it's older sister pinching the baby to make it cry.  Sigh.  Everyone else has been really good with them.  After the family explores the bigger space by themselves and there have been a couple days of meeting through the fence, provided  there's no aggressive behavior from the flock towards the penned family, have a distraction (again, for us it was a flock block)- something more rewarding than targeting chicks for sport.  If broody was chasing the 20 week olds before, she'll probably be able to keep them in their place.

 

 

 

The end of the food and water board is as far as she'd let them get until the day she stepped off the nest.

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post #33 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambergds View Post

This is our set up. It's 4x2 enclosed with a homemade nest box


Also I wanted to make sure I pass along the extremely good advice and/or reminder regarding existing water sources and the danger they can pose to chicks given to me by shortgrass earlier in this thread: 

 

"Oh, and safeguard the water pan; make sure its not a deep open pan or the chicks might drown. I lost one a while back because I spaced out and hadn't changed my water pans back to a shallow chick pan; poor bugger fell in and drowned sad.png Some lessons have to be learned firsthand, I suppose!"

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22 Chickens with 2 teenage roosters and 1 baby roo, 3 cats, 2 goats
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post #34 of 48
Thanks again! All great advice. You have a great mommy hen!
I'll make sure I put marbles in the waterer. I would be devastated if one drowned!
I worry about my hen not eating or drinking for a few days. Will she get dehydrated?
I was able to candle yesterday and 5 of the seven eggs are developing from what I could tell. I got rid of the other two.
How's your hens health? My mommys comb is so pale. I wonder how long it takes for them to get back to their prime health?
post #35 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ambergds View Post

Thanks again! All great advice. You have a great mommy hen!
I'll make sure I put marbles in the waterer. I would be devastated if one drowned!
I worry about my hen not eating or drinking for a few days. Will she get dehydrated?
I was able to candle yesterday and 5 of the seven eggs are developing from what I could tell. I got rid of the other two.
How's your hens health? My mommys comb is so pale. I wonder how long it takes for them to get back to their prime health?

 

Forgot to mention feed.  If you're feeding a layer feed to your chickens- it is way too high in calcium for the chicks (and for roosters).  The chicks WILL get into their food-- the broody might even take pellets from the pan and break them up to feed the chicks.  We've switched to flock raiser which can be fed to all ages and sexes -- a little more expensive, but if they're raised together, feeding them all the same thing is much, much easier- and done until the babies approach laying age or whatever the bag recommends. Some folks also make a 'creep' feeder for chick starter because your chickens covet that stuff and will gobble it all up.  A creep feeder makes openings small enough only for the chicks to walk through to get the starter.  But really, feeding something like flock raiser is the least labor intensive, and the babies will eat what everyone else eats even with starter available.  Just make sure the layers have oyster shells or other calcium rich item available, very important.


I'd be beside myself too if a chick drowned.  They aren't terribly smart as wee babies. Around here, all water is from poultry cups which don't operate on a float so the chickens drink it dry and move the lever if they want more- so they're nearly always dry.  Of course the babies aren't ready for that- so they've got their waterer in the same place in the coop and then outside, because the darn broody kept scratching their waterer over -- so the chicks had NO water ... finally I put a 5 gallon lid down on the ground with a huge rock on it for a shallow source she couldn't screw up-- not that she didn't try.:barnie 

 

Naturally everyone wants to drink out of it ... rrrrrrrrrrr ... so I have to check frequently to be sure there's water.

 

As far as the hen not eating/drinking- you might not catch her in the act but she's probably taking a daily break some time.  They only eat about 20% of normal food, and she will have to stop eating before hatch because she cannot get up once hatch time is here to poop... like not eating lots of beans before a flight to Asia...  :D  Most chickens will take what they need.  She's also not running around exerting herself.

 

Yes, Betty's comb and legs are considerably pale from her time on the nest, especially compared to the other Barred Rock in the flock. As far as condition goes, I'm not sure how long it takes before they get their pre-broody body back- but she's stuffing her beak now.  Since the chicks themselves don't take anything from her nutritionally, those weeks she spends raising them- eating and not laying- should get her plumped back up again. Pretty sure the Flock Raiser has 2% higher protein than standard layer so that should help her gain condition too. 

 

Hopefully soon you get to hear that first cheeping!

22 Chickens with 2 teenage roosters and 1 baby roo, 3 cats, 2 goats
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22 Chickens with 2 teenage roosters and 1 baby roo, 3 cats, 2 goats
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post #36 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickChick16 View Post

i have an 8 month old Black Orpington that i noticed had NO feathers on her underside when my husband picked her up yesterday  -  she's not sittign in a box ever but she is picking on 2 of my other hens relentlessly -  im new to chickens....only owned them a week.. could the 8 mo old be starting to get broody and that is why she is attacking my other hens?

Definite possibility. Some breeds feather pluck, and some don't. I have an Australorp that has that tendency; her belly is bare (and so oddly, soft!) A good way to see if she's broody without damaging any eggs is to out 5-6 golf balls in one nest and see if she starts to set them; that is, if she won't get up to eat with everyone and will ruffle her hackles and make a strange purring/growling sound. And possibly a pecked hand if you try to reach under her.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
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http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
Reply
post #37 of 48
They're doing great, @shezadandy smile.png She sounds and looks like an excellent broody, yay! Such adorable chicks; love when they're learning to steer clear of mom when she's on a mission lol wink.png I get a kick our of watching them get booted a couple of times before they figure out to stay BEHIND mom when she's scratching... the little guys are a lot tougher than we give them credit for!

On the feed; switching to an all flock type feed is a good option as too much calcium can cause problems for growing chicks. You can always put a small dish of oyster shell for the hens to supplement with, but unless you notice problems with weak shells, an all flock should have plenty of calcium for layers. I ferment my own feed mix, so I toss oyster shell in the mix, but its easier for momma to pick the good stuff out and leave the oyster shell, and the chicks avoid it too. I've never really worried about the feed just because of that. I've worried that they seem to try to grab too big of pieces of grain, but mom breaks it up for them and their gizzard handles the big chunks. Nice not to worry about adding grit and medicated feed etc smile.png They get all their immunity and food from scrounging in the soil with mom, and they grow so much faster; they will be on their own at about 5 weeks old, compared to being in a brooder for at least 8 weeks. Big difference on how fast they mature, there.


So glad your broody got some babies to tend. They seemso happy to be mommies and its amazing how they just naturally know how to do everything to take care of them smile.png

Was going to mention, guessing breeds before their feathers and combs start showing will be tricky unless tthey're purebred. The EE will be obvious because of the beard or muff, but the others could feather out completely different than their respected breeds, for example, crossing an EE with a black silkie, twice now I've gotten birds that are completely black, 5 toes, feathered feet, muff and beard, and a weird Polish like poof, but they can fly... lol colored like their useless silkie daddy but feathers like their mum. And I crossed a red star hen with a blue Andalusian and got a very pretty splash pullet out of that combo... they were impossible to tell who was who until their feathers were all in and combs visible.. except the obvious 5 toed silkie or the EE muffs... but I find that more fun than anything, adds to the fun of having chicks at random pairing since its almost impossible for me to tell whose eggs those are in the first place and which roo has bred which hen, haha... more mystery chicks wink.png
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
Reply
http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/990759/chickens-in-permaculture

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1008185/lets-talk-relocation

3rd generation of Colorado ranchers, raising organic alfalfa, corn, Red Angus cattle, Suffolk sheep and of course, chickens! Comitted to a lifetime of health without chemicals, I am entirely dependent on what God has given me to nurture soil, plant, and animal. Sharing...
Reply
post #38 of 48
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortgrass View Post

They're doing great, @shezadandy smile.png She sounds and looks like an excellent broody, yay! Such adorable chicks; love when they're learning to steer clear of mom when she's on a mission lol wink.png I get a kick our of watching them get booted a couple of times before they figure out to stay BEHIND mom when she's scratching... the little guys are a lot tougher than we give them credit for!

On the feed; switching to an all flock type feed is a good option as too much calcium can cause problems for growing chicks. You can always put a small dish of oyster shell for the hens to supplement with, but unless you notice problems with weak shells, an all flock should have plenty of calcium for layers. I ferment my own feed mix, so I toss oyster shell in the mix, but its easier for momma to pick the good stuff out and leave the oyster shell, and the chicks avoid it too. I've never really worried about the feed just because of that. I've worried that they seem to try to grab too big of pieces of grain, but mom breaks it up for them and their gizzard handles the big chunks. Nice not to worry about adding grit and medicated feed etc smile.png They get all their immunity and food from scrounging in the soil with mom, and they grow so much faster; they will be on their own at about 5 weeks old, compared to being in a brooder for at least 8 weeks. Big difference on how fast they mature, there.


So glad your broody got some babies to tend. They seemso happy to be mommies and its amazing how they just naturally know how to do everything to take care of them smile.png

Was going to mention, guessing breeds before their feathers and combs start showing will be tricky unless tthey're purebred. The EE will be obvious because of the beard or muff, but the others could feather out completely different than their respected breeds, for example, crossing an EE with a black silkie, twice now I've gotten birds that are completely black, 5 toes, feathered feet, muff and beard, and a weird Polish like poof, but they can fly... lol colored like their useless silkie daddy but feathers like their mum. And I crossed a red star hen with a blue Andalusian and got a very pretty splash pullet out of that combo... they were impossible to tell who was who until their feathers were all in and combs visible.. except the obvious 5 toed silkie or the EE muffs... but I find that more fun than anything, adds to the fun of having chicks at random pairing since its almost impossible for me to tell whose eggs those are in the first place and which roo has bred which hen, haha... more mystery chicks wink.png

We were feeding Layena which definitely has the extra calcium.  I watched her break those pellets down to feed them and that was the day I switched to the All Flock.  Haven't talked DH into fermented feed yet.  Everyone has access to oyster shell in the coop and they make good use of it, so I'm not too worried about the eggs - was more worried about chicks eating Layena 'oyster strong' stuff.  I hear you about the bigger chunks of grain- when the scratch bucket comes out they all come running and the chicks are just as drooly as the rest of the gang.  The stuff I've got now does have larger chunks of corn and sunflower seeds without the shell- watching her do her thing is wonderful.  She's also the only chicken I ever see chasing flies... two seem to be taking up the cause.

 

We'll definitely give her fertile eggs again- so many good bonus broody points, I wouldn't hesitate.  Our two roosters, one intentional (super blue) and one hatchery error (welsummer) are still just 10 weeks old, so I've still got a wait ahead before I might get my own fertile eggs. That will be even more exciting, except for the straight-run nature of hatching.

 

I don't know if the chicks actually get confused about which Barred Rock is mom- I've caught them try to jump on the back of the wrong one, and trying also to pick food of the wrong one's beak, and run to her when they get left behind.  Fortunately she's nice about it but it's a little bit of a head scratcher. 

 

 

Breed wise, the only givens are one chick came out of a green egg and one out of the white egg (has to be the WFBS, only white layer)- beyond that it's a guess.  It's hard to see in the pictures but the gray chicks mayyyyybe starting up a little crest.  Then again, that could be my imagination too!  Two are definitely EEs.  Plain yellow doesn't seem to have the muffs like the other yellows but maybe she's just understated compared to the chicks with markings.  RIR is one of the breeds- seems like a dilute version.  Still very very early and I'm fishing in someone else's gene pool- so I know what egg goes to what chicken in mine because they're all different enough, but am clueless for our mystery chicks from totally separate stock. They're healthy and vigorous and that's what really matters.  World's best guessing game! 

 

 

So much fun watching them grow.  It's hard to believe they're already 11 days old.  All pictures are from today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two yellow chicks with brown markings both have the muffs and seem to have pea combs. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally I got a good picture of the plain yellow- light chicks can be tricky to photograph- they wash out so easily- here's the plain yellow today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Gray chick is getting something of a green sheen to the feathers.

 

 

 

Light gray is the most interesting one.  I really hope it ends up with a little crest and some white ear lobes! 

 

22 Chickens with 2 teenage roosters and 1 baby roo, 3 cats, 2 goats
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22 Chickens with 2 teenage roosters and 1 baby roo, 3 cats, 2 goats
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post #39 of 48
I'm glad everything is going well! They are so cute! I'm interested to see what breeds you've got!
Do you find the chicks are more scared of people than ones you've raised yourself?
post #40 of 48
I woke up to this
4 lavender Orpington chicks! One more egg left to hatch. Looks like my broody is doing a great job so far! Yay!
A couple of the baby's look to have a more yellow tummy. I wonder if that is a way to sex them? Does anyone have experience with this breed?
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