Broody Hen and Chicks Questions

Rhys2112

Hatching
8 Years
Mar 24, 2011
9
1
7
Hi
I was wondering a few things about broody hens.
1. Should I remove her from the rest of the flock to hatch the eggs? If she is all alone will she get depressed?
2. Will she raise the chicks or should I take them inside and put them in a brooder.
3. What sort of temperature should I have for the chicks as they are growing.
4. Should I do anything special with the chicks water and food. Other than using chick feed.
5. Should I let the chicks have 'white light' or should I only use a red lamp. Also If so how long should I wait before introducing them to white light.

Is there any other special things I should know about raising chicks?

Thanks in advance
Rhys:)
 
Last edited:

twister

Songster
10 Years
Sep 12, 2009
559
6
131
Mississippi
hey rhys, welcome to byc!

my broody just had her first setting of chicks today! I am a first timer as well! I will share what I know and what worked for me, but i am no expert!

Yes, separate the broody from the flock. They will boot her out of the nest and lay in her nest and get poopy on the eggs - possibly break them-- if you dont.
Remember to set all the eggs you plan to hatch on one day- don't keep adding to the clutch.
Let broody raise them. she will keep them at a temp they require unless it is unseasonablely cool/hot where you live. ( I am not planning on putting a light on mine, unless i read otherwise or someone w. more exp advises me to. They will be in shelter from wind, rain, excessive sun and also in a yard where they can access grass, bugs, etc. ) From what i have read, if she is a good broody, she will show them what they need to know and will raise them without much intervention from you.

I have raised chicks in a brooder w. steady 90-95 degrees before---but as long as she is taking care of them-- i plan on letting her do it.

hope this helps.
 

Rhys2112

Hatching
8 Years
Mar 24, 2011
9
1
7
Thanks
So your hen didn't get depressed being all alone? Also if I was to got the way of the brooder should I use a red heat lamp only or the heat lamp with a white light. Also how long is it before the chicks can function on their own. How many hours should the chicks stay awake for?

Thanks so much for your help
 

mmaddie's mom

Songster
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
1,674
19
141
Elmwood, Illinois, USA
1. Should I remove her from the rest of the flock to hatch the eggs? If she is all alone will she get depressed?

I usually move broody & eggs into a large closed dog crate as soon as she is fully, solidly broody (usually a week to 10 days into broody mode). The move should be done in the dead of night... in the dark... everything as quiet and calm as can be done... I try to set her right on top of the eggs and very gently hold he in place until she feels the eggs under her tummy... this seems to calm and settle her. I have the crate either right in the pen or right outside of it so that she can still see and be seen by all.

2. Will she raise the chicks or should I take them inside and put them in a brooder.

She will raise them.. provide fresh water and chick starter... they don't need it for the first few days but will copy mom as she begins to eat and drink again.
I keep them all together in the crate for at least 4-5 days to give them time to bond, mom to babies and babies to mom... sound, smell, sight, touch.

3. What sort of temperature should I have for the chicks as they are growing.

Mom will take care of this.

4. Should I do anything special with the chicks water and food. Other than using chick feed.

Nope... well maybe some electrolytes in the water.

5. Should I let the chicks have 'white light' or should I only use a red lamp. Also If so how long should I wait before introducing them to white light.

No light needed.

Is there any other special things I should know about raising chicks?

YES... it's a lot of fun and broodies are WONDERFUL!
 

mmaddie's mom

Songster
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
1,674
19
141
Elmwood, Illinois, USA
So your hen didn't get depressed being all alone?

Keep the pen she is in within sight of the flock... but really, she is pretty focused on being broody

Also if I was to got the way of the brooder should I use a red heat lamp only or the heat lamp with a white light.

I never use a brooder because a broody is SOOO much better.

Also how long is it before the chicks can function on their own.

Mom will keep them with her for anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 weeks... sometimes they are as big as her before she lets them go.

How many hours should the chicks stay awake for?

They play hard and sleep a lot... they play hard and sleep a lot... they play hard and sleep a lot.... well, you get the idea.
 

Rhys2112

Hatching
8 Years
Mar 24, 2011
9
1
7
What Will mom eat once the chicks are born? Will she eat the chick starter?
 

eudyptes

Hatching
9 Years
Aug 15, 2010
9
0
7
Bloomington, IN
THIS is a very useful thread. To the point, not too long. Thanks.

(Had a young broody hatch one egg yesterday, so I need as much info as possible--this is great.)
 

twister

Songster
10 Years
Sep 12, 2009
559
6
131
Mississippi
my broody did not get depressed or lonely when i separated her from the flock..actually, i like to believe that she prefered the "alone" time. As you can already notice w. a broody, she gets very irritated when something else comes near ( human, hen, dog, roo) . I did not keep my broody in w. the flock. I made her a makeshift "condo" out of a crate/cardboard box and put her in my house so i could ck her often. I took her out two times daily to poop/eat/drink until day 19. On that day, i never moved her and left her alone except to offer her water. She seemed to appreciate the private time.
She had her chicks Thurs night/Fri morn. Today, Sat, I moved her out back to the coop but she/chicks are isolated in a dog crate. I moved her from crate/box to larger dog crate so that the flock will not bother her and gave her some time in the sun w. chicks. She seems to be broody still...meaning, not wanting to walk around, drink, etc... I am trying to encourage her to move cuz the chicks are running all over the place and I think she "thinks" she has more eggs to hatch..so i am trying to break that mood and get her up and moving. If weather remains good, she will have access to her own private yard and dog crate until chicks get bigger.

If you go the brooder route, you will need a red light ( 125w) and dig thermometer to steady temp of 90-95,and a way to keep all drafts off. If you are lucky enough to have broody hen, let her do the raising, if she will. Honestly, It drove me absolutely batty constantly worrying over the temp. I would freak out if it dropped too much or spiked . During the extremes of the day and night, it is quite difficult to get it just right--- CONSTANTLY. I was up all hrs of the night, checking temp/drafts-- adding this, adding that, raising bulb, lowering bulb, adjust this , adjust that.....

The hen method is so intriging. It is amazing to hear her call to them and show them how and what to eat! call them to come to her, call them to 'get under her' and other sounds. It was a very interesting day , today, in broody world! lol .

well, as i have said before, this is my first broody experience and quite honestly, i rather prefer it. I do hope my broody will do this again in the future so I can try "shipped eggs".... I really would love to get my hands on some of the absolutely goregeous birds (eggs) that some auctioneers here offer... great great lineage/bloodlines/SQ/ and things that you just can not get otherwise. I am absolutely too stupid--- and I too, suffer from CHICKEN ADDICT Syndrome-- to try an incubator...so broody is my only option.
 

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