after hens hatch their own egg(s)

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by RoosterDon, Sep 29, 2014.

  1. RoosterDon

    RoosterDon Chirping

    Jul 19, 2014
    Austin Texas
    When an egg hatches by a hen, do you immediately take the chick away? Or do you leave it with the hen in the nesting box for awhile? We have 11 chickens now and I am worried that they will be attacked by other hens or roosters. Is this something to worry about? All we have ever done is incubate, hatch, then move them to a small cage with a heater.

    My thought is to move them like we would after hatching from incubating, but then again I wonder how important it would be to leave the chick with its mom?
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams

    Hi there RoosterDon :)

    I do not have an incubator and have only raised hatches from broodies so I am definitely no expert and just speaking from personal experience.

    I totally understand your worries regarding other hens and roosters and even if you have the best broody in the world, if all 11 hatch she may have a little trouble keeping an eye on all of them. For this reason, my broodies are separated by wire from the rest of the flock; they can still see each other but the chicks are safe with their mum and she appears less stressed as she knows that the others cannot get in.

    I have only had to take a chick away from a mother hen for a short period of time to check for illness etc and I know how distressed she gets when one is gone; I couldn't imagine taking them all away from her just after they have hatched. They form a bond very quickly and have their own little language.

    Is it possible to leave the chicks with their mum and set up a temporary boundary to keep others out? Nothing like their own mum to give them love and some good lessons in life :)
  3. darkbluespace

    darkbluespace Songster

    Jun 13, 2014
    Portland Oregon
    Broody hens are great because they not only incubate and hatch the eggs but also take care of the chicks! I give my broody a separate away from the flockspace to safely raise her chicks... and sometimes if I have extra chicks hatched in the incubator I give them to the broody because it is much easier to let them do all the work! I would never take all the chicks from a broody... mamas just don't take that sort of thing lightly and she would be looking for her babies.
  4. RoosterDon

    RoosterDon Chirping

    Jul 19, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Thank yall for the feedback. We actually have 14 chickens of which 2 are roos, 2 are prelaying age, 2 are one week olds. The broody hen is sitting on 3 eggs, not all hers. She is very determined and I am really proud of her.

    So........when they hatch, what will happen? She has laid on the second level of a 2 level nesting box (she is like 3-4 feet from the ground). How long will they stay in the little nesting area before wanting to jump out and explore?

    Other hens use this nesting box to lay also, yet they have avoided laying in it, I guess because this hen has taken it over. I guess I could fence around the entire nesting area. I am not sure what I will be doing from here on.
  5. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams

    Sorry RoosterDon, I misread the 11 chickens and thought 11 eggs :)

    "How long will they stay in the little nesting area before wanting to jump out and explore?" They should not wander far from mum when first hatched so if she does not leave the nest box, they should not try and leave it either. Mum will stay in the nest box until all of the eggs are hatched or until she decides that it is time to forage for food and teach her bubs (1-3 days maybe). There may be a day or two difference between the first egg hatching and the last and the first hatched chick will be fine, surviving on the egg yolk it absorbed in the shell just before hatching.

    3-4ft is a bit of a drop for chicks and I personally would not like my little ones up that high.

    When the chicks are little, if another hen tried to use the nest box there may be some fighting and the chicks may get injured.

    Again, if it was me, I would be looking at moving the broody to a spot closer to the ground.

    Do you have a dog crate or cat box you could pop her into? Can you make her something on the ground, in a corner where her and the little ones will be able to explore without risk of injury?

    How long has she been sitting on the eggs? There is a slight danger in moving her and the eggs as she may not accept the new location and give up on being broody. But, if you move her and the chicks after they are born this may stress her more. It is a hard call to make and dependent on individual chickenalities.

    If she still has a couple of weeks to go and you are not concerned that she may give up, I would try setting her up somewhere lower and moving her; just my thoughts; somebody may come back with other options [​IMG]

  6. RoosterDon

    RoosterDon Chirping

    Jul 19, 2014
    Austin Texas
    Thanks for the great responses. So she hatched one of the three yesterday. She moved to the next door nesting box leaving the two unhatched eggs alone, but I am sure she knows what she is doing. After reading these responses I am going to fence in a portion of the large fenced in yard, and put chicken wire over the top and predator proof it, as well as to keep the chick in.

    We may put the two other chicks (who are two weeks older) in with her. I wonder if they are too far along to do this?

    Any opinions on that?
  7. calichicken

    calichicken Crowing

    I would not try it as 2 weeks is quite a bit older when you are trying to get a broody t adopt chicks. She will probably see them as a threat to her newly hatched baby and that is not a good situation [​IMG]
  8. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I would not try to put 2 week old chicks in with a broody and newly hatched chicks. The mama could well kill the older ones. There are many experienced chicken keepers who put the broody and chicks in with the flock right away. In the past couple of years, I have put the broody and her babies in with the flock when the chicks are 1-2 weeks old. Mama still has enough broody hormones that Heaven help the hen that tries to mess with her babies! What has happened here is - I open partition, some hen will try to take on broody, causing a kerfluffle and the rooster will get in the middle of things, protecting the broody and chicks and driving the other hen off. With my last batch, when I let them out, the broody went straight outside to dustbathe while the rooster stood guard over the chicks. It's much easier to integrate them in the flock this way. Mama protects them while they learn proper flock etiquette. It worked out really well for me this summer when my broody got killed and the month-old chicks were orphaned. They were already accepted by the flock, so there was no trouble. If they had still been separated, I would have had to wait until they were close to full grown before integrating, and it would been much more stressful for them.

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