Basic needs of Broody hens so they can raise their chicks well

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Carolyn252, Mar 13, 2012.

  1. Carolyn252

    Carolyn252 Mother of Chickens

    I know full well that hens have been raising chicks without human assistance since the world began, but...

    still, I'd like to know if there are some items that the mama hens and their chicks would benefit from in our backyard flocks.

    The appeal of letting a broody hen raise her own chicks is that I don't have to deal with mechanical incubators, heat lamps, etc.

    I'm assuming she'd keep them in the nest box, right? About how old are they when they begin to follow the mama down the chicken ramp to the floor of the coop?

    If the hen is allowed to raise them, should the hen and her chicks be in a coop that the other adult hens can't get into?

    Should I let the mama hen out of the coop to free range in the fenced backyard with the other hens all day?

    At what age should I let the chicks go with their mama to free range?

    If I leave the mama hen's coop door open so she can go out to free range, are the chicks that are left back in the coop liable to be chased/pecked/hurt by the other adult hens walking in to investigate?

    If raised by mama hen, do we still provide chick starter feed for the chicks?

    If so, will the mama hen also eat from the chick's starter feed bowl? and/or will the mama keep feeding from the adult hens' feed bowl?
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2012

  2. BroodCoop

    BroodCoop In the Brooder

    Jan 13, 2012

    This links to a set of articles about working with broodies. It should answer many of your questions.

    My second broody just hatched and I am looking for fertile eggs for my third broody. We are putting our broodies at ground level so that there is no ramp involved. They are outside as soon as all are hatched. Mama knows best.

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