Been away, woke up this morning to sound of cheeping! what do I do??? DESPERATE PLEA

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Porcupine34, Jan 3, 2014.

  1. Porcupine34

    Porcupine34 New Egg

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    Please help!

    I only have a tiny flock of silkie chickens 3 girls 1 boy since july had them since they were five months and they live a very happy free range life with a massive chicken coop my children can get in!
    We went away for Christmas my friend has been coming in and feeding them and letting them in and out , I had noticed one of the hens wasn't out as much but we have only been back a few days and its cold and windy/stormy here and just thought she didn't like the weather (doh)
    This morning I woke up to the sound of cheeping and my son went out to feed them and said he could see two chicks and she was sitting on eggs.
    I never had any intention of having chicks and I don't know what to do??
    I have put the other chickens outside the coop as I was worried about them upsetting her or standing on the chicks but what do I do now?
    Do I move her and the chicks to the shed?
    Do I leave her there and move the other chickens to the shed?
    When Can I go in to check on her properly without upsetting or stressing her?
    Do I need different food?
    Can I clean out the coop?
    I don't have a heat lamp or brooder or anything as I didn't want chicks ? Do I need to intervene?
    Now I have an 11 year old and a nine year old worrying about them as well and I don't want to do the wrong thing!

    PLEASE HELP!!!
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Welcome to BYC! And congrats on the unplanned flock additions [​IMG] At this stage it will be better to leave mom and the new chicks alone. She will remain on the nest for another day or 2 and then start moving around with the babies. The chicks won't need food or water for the first 2-3 days, so don't worry about feeding them until mom decides it's time to get up. Chicks should be fed chick starter or grower feed, but they must not eat layer feed until they are at least 16 weeks old, or at point of lay. One way to work around this is to feed the entire flock grower feed and supplement the layers' calcium intake with crushed oystershell fed in a separate container/feeder.

    It would be best to leave them and mom in the coop with the other chickens. You said you have a big coop? Mom will protect the little guys and they will grow up as part of the flock and be accepted as such. Just make sure she has a safe, dry and warm place to sleep with them at night. She will make sure they stay warm enough. Mom will take care of everything and all you need to do is make sure they have food, water and shelter.

    You can clean out the coop and continue with your regular routine. Mom may get upset and have a go at you if she feels you're getting to close to her babies, so watch out!

    Now relax and enjoy them! Hens and chicks is one of the nicest things about keeping chickens IMO.
     
  3. Porcupine34

    Porcupine34 New Egg

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    Thank you so much for responding! I am so worried about doing the wrong thing and there being a problem.
    I put the other three silkies out to wander round the garden today and closed the outside coop door as I didn't know what to do and I read on somebody's personal website that the other chickens in the flock can turn on the chicks if bored ?? I was so worried...
    Is that true?
    I may not have wanted them but I don't want anything to happen to them now there here...
    So at the moment the rest of the flock are free ranging round my garden but unable to get back in..
    Are you saying Im okay to open the gate and let them all back in together as I do feel a bit mean.

    Also I had two roosters initially but lost one to a fox a couple of weeks ago , I know this seems ridiculous but it wont make a difference to muppet (my other rooster ) will it whos chicks they are?
    Can you tell I just really want everything to be okay :)

    I feel like a paranoid new parent lol
     
  4. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    You can let the rest of the flock mingle with mom and the chicks. I've had some incidents years ago where some of my flock members killed the chicks, but I've since spoken to many other flock owners and found what happened with mine was an exception. In a small flock like yours it's unlikely that they will mess with the chicks and a good momma hen will protect them, don't worry!

    Neither the rooster or the hens will care about the chicks' parentage [​IMG] I've given a broody hen some eggs to hatch that I bought from a lady in another town. While she was sitting I added a rooster to the flock. We had no problems. He's great with the chicks and the hens.
     
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your so lucky!!! Some of us wish our hens broody!! I have one hen out of 10 that goes broody and we finally let her raise a brood last summer... She was an absolute Momma bear with the other hens and our Roo that we got at the same time I got the fertile eggs has been a great dad, two of the chicks ended up being Roo's and he is great with them (they are now over 5 months old and crowing)
     
  6. TK421

    TK421 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree. At this point, it's too late to change anything with regard to access or flock makeup. Momma will protect the little ones and show them the ropes. If momma's normal cozy spot is unreachable by the chicks, or if (like mine) the chicks could follow mom into the coop, but not out ( because my coop has a big step up leaving), you could make a new on-the-ground cozy spot using a sturdy box, but she's not likely to use it. Switch to grower feed for everyone and supplement calcium away from the chicks. (Up high out of reach).
     
  7. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

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    How exciting!

    Unless there will be access issues for the chicks when they start moving around just let them be. Switch all the feed to some kind of Unmedicated all purpose flock food or chick starter (Unmedicated is important if you intend to gather and eat eggs from the other birds) and make sure there is water available for the wee ones. Do have oyster shell available for the other birds soon after switching from layer food if that's what you've been feeding ... But I don't know that you need to protect the chicks from the oyster shell. They will likely not eat more oyster shell than they need. Supervise human children well.

    It is SO much easier to let the momma take care of the babies. They know what they are doing and the best humans can do is make informed guesses. The mommas don't care whose eggs they hatch ... and you can probably give that hen store-bought chicks right now and everyone in the coop would be equally happy. If the other big birds get too close, momma will straighten that out right away.
     
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Quote: Medicated chick starter contains small amounts of Amprolium, which does not leave a residue in the eggs, so if the layers eat medicated feed their eggs will still be safe for human consumption.

    Quote: In my experience the chicks and non-layers showed no interest in oystershell, so not to worry.

    Quote: Agreed! [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. LeslieDJoyce

    LeslieDJoyce Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you for the correction!

    Acording to the Nutrina website: "Laying hens can be fed amprolium, and eggs are safe for human consumption." http://www.nutrenaworld.com/knowled...try-feed-frequently-asked-questions/index.jsp

    And here it is from Purina: "Amprolium itself remains in the birds digestive tract (stomach, cecum and large intestine) itself - it is not absorbed by the bird.  So Amprolium will not be deposited into the egg. Eggs remain unaffected when Amprolium is fed. Amprolium itself is approved by the FDA as a medication for egg-laying hens.  " (sorry for the funny coding ... that's how it appears at the link, and I chose not to edit it) http://poultry.purinamills.com/ASKTHEEXPERTS/FAQs/ECMD007942.aspx

    Other sources have said otherwise, but they are less "official." It is good to have accurate information floating around out there!
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Congratulation with your new surprise chicks!!!

    Just relax, do nothing, and carry on as normal.......only change the food so there is a pot of chick starter in the run for the chicks to eat, and a shallow container of water for the chicks to drink from.

    Mother hen does all the work for you.

    No need to worry, just relax and enjoy the new babies.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014

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