A little excitement on Ashridge Acres...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Ashridge Acres, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Ashridge Acres

    Ashridge Acres Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2010
    Orange County, IN
    One of my hens "Black Betty" (black Australorp) had been trying to go broody on my lately and I had been discouraging her every chance I could, until we lost Goldie (golden lace Wyandotte). Goldie was a beautiful girl and was the largest of the flock, even larger than the hens a year older than her. This was her second spring and was just starting to develop the nicest, largest eggs. She is greatly missed.

    So with the loss of Goldie, I decided to give Black Betty a shot at motherhood. I added 3 other eggs layed the same day as her egg that she was sitting on, and she's been sitting like a trooper since a day or two before my daughter's 5th birthday (4/7). I've been making sure there is plenty of feed and fresh water in the coop so she doesn't have to go far, and checking in on her each night as I gather the other eggs. My children are extremely excited to think that we may have a couple new chicks in the flock!

    We have a small variety of hens (GLWs, SLWs, BRs, RIRs, NHRs) in the flock and a single BR Rooster (Luke), so I'm curious to see what comes out if the chicks survive. I know if they do, I will need to protect them for a period from the rest of the flock, but is there any need to isolate Betty any more from the flock at this point?

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've never isolated a mama with chicks from the flock, once the mama took the chicks off the nest and they started foraging. And I've never lost a chick to other hens or the rooster. Now, this is only 5 or 6 batches of chicks, granted -- and anything can happen. But I'm sold on this method, because when the mama stops mothering the chicks, they will probably be 4-6 weeks, not full size, yet they will already be integrated with the flock. They will hang together, separate from the others, but will be safe. At least that is how it's gone here. The mama protects her chicks from any hen who thinks about getting aggressive, or even too close to her chicks.

    I've also let them set in with the flock as well as separated them while setting. The eggs I think are more likely to get broken or stolen if the others can get at them or the nest, so I've decided separating while the hen incubates the eggs is the way to go. There's no need to make the food and water too handy to the broody while she sets; she needs to get up and get some exercise every day. Actually I remove them from the nest daily to be sure they eat, drink, move aorund. Sometimes they will even forage or dust bathe, for a few minutes, before returning to their eggs.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by