?? about hatching eggs the old fashioned way

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by usalbrechts, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. usalbrechts

    usalbrechts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
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    So, I have these 4 silkie girls and I just know one will become broody eventually (I hope). I want to hatch chicks when it warms up. The only thing I know about said topic is what my mom has told me from when I was young. She said when dad had chickens he let some hatch eggs out. Every day when he came home from work more of the babies had been killed by other chickens. This went on until there were no more left. So, are you supposed to remove the hen brooding eggs from the coop she is in and keep her alone? If you do that how and when do you put them all (mom and chicks) back together with the other chickens or do you have to keep them seperate forever?? Some tutoring on the matter would be greatly appreciated...Thanks
     
  2. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

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    Jan 30, 2007
    WV
    I always take my broody hen and put her in a wire dog cage in the henhouse, add the eggs I want to set under her in a nice nest and keep food and water close where she can get to it....works for me, but I do take the chicks when they hatch because of not wanting to lose them to the other hens or rooster......I then raise the chicks alone til they are 3 or 4 months old before introducing them back into the flock and they can fend for themselves...
     
  3. ole-crone

    ole-crone Chillin' With My Peeps

    I've heard it done both ways. Some people must have more problems than we do with other hens and/or roosters killing the chicks.

    The only reason I remove our broody hen and her eggs now is because I became tired of keeping track of eggs. The other hens would lay theirs with hers and I'd loose track. All the movement in the nesting box would rub off all of my markings.

    We have an old outhouse that we now use as a garden shed. Last year, I put three old beehives in there and into each went one broody hen. One hen lost interest in setting so the eggs were moved to the other two. The abandoned eggs all pipped but something was wrong with each chick - maybe she knew and that's why she abandoned them. However, we ended up with two EEs from that hatch and the other hatched all of her eggs. Luckily, the hen who hatched all was one that I was hatching for a friend so I delivered the crew - broody hen and all to her house that day.

    After they hatch, we move our little family to ground level so the chicks can easily jump in and out of the nest. From the first we open the door to the yard and let the mothers decide when to take their brood outside. Once the chicks are used to running for cover they are introduced to one of our lower populated coop areas. A good broodie hen won't let anyone around her chicks and smart chicks know when to 'dive'.

    I've had more damage occur to chicks once they are older and no longer being protected by their mother.
     
  4. coopist

    coopist Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 2, 2008
    Midwest U.S.
    When the chicks hatch, you move the mother and babies to a small pen with a shelter, a doghouse, etc. In the safety of the pen, the mother hen raises the babies for about 3 weeks (til they're big enough to duck/run effectively). All the while, the other chickens should be within sight, so that they get used to the idea of the new birds. Then you should be able to re-integrate the mother and her chicks. But do so carefully and watchfully, and only if they have room to get out of the way of the other birds if they need to (if the flock is in a small run, this won't work; if they free range or have a larger area, it will). Otherwise, wait until they're grown. All of this is general info, because it really does depend on your setup and the temperament/rank of the mother and the other birds in the flock.
     
  5. Hi!
    It really all depends on your individual birds, I think.

    It is *safest* to separate the broody hen on eggs so the other hens aren't trying to lay eggs in the nest (what is it about an 'occupied' nest box that make it the most attractive one?).

    Having said that, I don't separate broody hens. I have so many broody hens on eggs at any given time the logistics would be overwhelming --- I just figure I'll lose a few.

    If you have the space, a hen with chicks will keep them out of the way of the other chickens.
    But again, it's *safest* to separate them.

    One of the last hens I let raise chicks was the only bantam in a mixed flock of large fowl and a turkey. She (the bantam hen) and the turkey had been brooded together and he (the turkey) stalked around the yard 'guarding' the hen and chicks.
    It was a funny sight to see.

    OleCrone, if you mark the eggs with a Sharpie, it won't rub off [​IMG]

    Lisa
     

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