Baby chick born in coop

RValdivia

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 13, 2016
5
2
54
One of my hens hatched an egg earlier this month (we think it was earlier this month). She walked out of the coop with the baby for the first time on October 5th. at the time I immediately read a bunch of posts here regarding chicken feed. The mother hen was crushing the adult food to feed the baby. But we then switched everything to medicated starter feed. I read to get oyster shells and sprinkle them around so the older hens can have calcium. But my concern is how do I keep the baby from eating the oyster shells?

Other than switching the food and keeping mom and baby in the coop/run area, we have not intervened with the natural process. The coop/run area is very large - the coop is a converted horse stall and the run is completely protected - 40 feet by 20 feet. The free range in about a 1/2 of an acre fenced off from predators (I've lost hens to coyotes before I set up their sanctuary). As I mention above, my thought was to sprinkle the oyster shells in the area outside the run, but then how do I get the mother hen to get the oyster shells when the baby chick is with her always?
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,516
26,879
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop

RValdivia

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 13, 2016
5
2
54
I keep my oyster in the run in a feeder. My chicks don't eat it, nor does my rooster.

Is the chick trying to eat the oyster?
I haven't put any oyster shells out just yet. I wasn't sure how to keep them away from the chick.

Is your feeder hanging so the chick can't reach it or is it on the ground? Will the chick not eat it naturally?
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,283
15,992
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Nevada County, CA
I haven't put any oyster shells out just yet. I wasn't sure how to keep them away from the chick.

Is your feeder hanging so the chick can't reach it or is it on the ground? Will the chick not eat it naturally?
Mine is on the ground. The chicks don't eat it at all. Maybe naturally averted to it? Idk.

You can try to put it out there and watch them for a bit. I've never had an issue, though. My rooster doesn't eat it, either.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,037
22,674
907
Southeast Louisiana
The mother hen was crushing the adult food to feed the baby.
By the time my chicks are two weeks old they are flying up to the elevated feeders to eat. They do not need Mama's help. So, yes, feeding them all an acceptable feed is the best way to go.

But my concern is how do I keep the baby from eating the oyster shells?
You don't. You trust it to not eat enough to harm itself. Chicks, roosters, and non-laying hens may all eat a bite or two, but one bite won't kill them. It's how many total grams of calcium they eat all day, and even that is spread out over a few days.

how do I get the mother hen to get the oyster shells when the baby chick is with her always?
A broody hen is not laying eggs. She does not need the extra calcium.
 

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