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Almost a grandma

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Fairy Godmother, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. I am still very new at raising chickens. A little history: 4 chickens, 2 Golden Sex Links and 2 Cuckoo Marans. They are 9 months old. I have an enclosed run with the hen house sitting on stilts above ground. There is a ramp leading up to the house and 2 nesting boxes inside and a roosting bar. The nesting boxes are avg size dish pans sitting in 3 sided enclosed boxes. I use pine shavings on the floor of the house and a mix of shavings and straw in the nesting boxes. Food and water is available down below in the pen. The girls are allowed to free range in the fenced back yard but are brought in in the evening. All had been laying fairly regularly, 3-4 eggs a day.

    OK, here're the questions. One of my Cuckoos went broody a month ago. I couldn't bring myself to cage her as I know it would stress everyone. They go nuts when separated at all. So after a couple of weeks of removing her from the nest throughout the day with no luck we decided to give her some fertilized (I hope) eggs to sit on. She has been doing a good job, only lost one so far (I think it is because the other Cuckoo sometimes sits on her to lay!) We are 8 days from expected hatching and I am starting to get nervous. We were taking her off the nest for a few minutes to get water, eat, poop and dust but have stopped at this stage. Altho I have put water and scratch in the house she only eats from my hand and doesn't appear to drink. Do I continue to offer her food? I don't know whether to keep removing her or just let her alone. Next questions, IF any chicks hatch how will they get out of the nest box, down the ramp? Should the mama and chicks be moved somewhere else or left alone? Since the other Cuckoo keeps sitting on her, should I put a curtain up or will this change stress her? SO MANY QUESTIONS!!!

    I know that I tend to worry too much about the animal kingdom, be it puppies, kittens or chicks but any knowledge would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    First thing, breaking a broody is way less stressful than letting a broody hatch. If you are lucky things will go smoothly, especially if the broody is a dominant bird. Otherwise get ready for some drama.

    How big is your coop? Your broody will need to separated from the others for about 1-2 weeks with a wire enclosure in order to let the chicks get strong enough to keep up and stay out of the way of the other hens who won't be kind to them.

    You will need to be around during the hatch and will have to move the hen and chicks before any try getting out from under, they can quickly die or be killed and don't always return to the hen. Hopefully they all hatch on the same day.

    It might be a while before your chicks can figure out the ramp. How many more can fit in your coop? Hopefully everything goes smoothly, but often it can turn to chaos.
     
  3. Poultry parent

    Poultry parent Chillin' With My Peeps

    put the mama somewhere that when the chicks hatch they won't fall to their death, and the other hens may try to eat the chicks as they kinda look like rodents.
    broody hens eat when they want be it night or day so don't take her off the nest.
    and don't let any other chickens mess with her
     

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