Broody Hen hatched many chicks !

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by GuamChicken, Jan 18, 2016.

  1. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello,

    So unexpectantly for me, I have about 15-20 new Buff Orpington chicks under a broody hen. I always use an incubator, but I was out of town awhile and this happened. Long story... So now the chicks are hatching as I write this, I researched the forums and there is so many postings I guess I need so help sooner than later. The flock is 5 BO hens and one BO rooster,who is a very calm rooster. The hen is in a box on the upper deck of the coop. My questions are. Do I need supplemental heating , ie. the heating lamps, or no. I live on Guam so its hot outside now anyway. Do I need to separate the chicks with mom to another place. I hope not, bc the flock has not bothered the broody hen at all that I could see. I also have a feeling the other hens are laying in her box, which i don't understand since I have 4 boxes, but I think they are. I thought about isolating the top deck of the coop from the rest, leaving just the broody hen and chicks by themselves until the chicks were a week or two old, that would be easy to do. But then the rest of flock would not be able to sleep on their usual roost , if that matters ? Thanks for all advice and help. !
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Ultimately do what's best for you but I let my hen hatch her chicks and put them all in a broody coop (within the main coop) at ground level. I usually leave them there for 2-3 days I open the broody coop and mum does her thing. No need for additional heating - mum will sort out everything relating to her chicks welfare, including when it's time to roost with everyone else.

    There's no reason why you shouldn't use your plan of blocking off the top level and leaving them there but remember that mum prefers to poop, have a dust bath etc, so you will need to let her out or give her access to get out. Let the rest of your flock sort out roosting stuff - they always seem to argue over who sleeps where anyway!

    Maybe in future you may find it useful to mark your eggs that you set, so you can identify any "new" eggs in the nest.

    All the best

    Ct
     
  3. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes, Thank you very much for your reply and the information !!
     
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    You're more than welcome- let us know how things go.

    Cheers

    Ct
     
  5. rebrascora

    rebrascora Overrun With Chickens

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    I operate a similar set up to CTKen. My broody hens raise their chicks within the flock and I don't have any problems.

    If she is on that many eggs and the other hens have been adding to the clutch over a period of time, then it is extremely unlikely that they will all hatch. Once the first chicks are a couple of days old she will need to leave the nest and any unhatched eggs to look after them. If she doesn't abandon the nest after 3 days, you need to encourage her to do so for the welfare of the chicks that have hatched, If you have an incubator, you could put the remaining eggs in there and graft the chicks on to her as they hatch.

    One thing I would suggest is that you put some sort of barrier across the front of that nest box and around the nest in general as chicks can easily fall out of the nest and not get back in. The hen will not abandon her nest for one or two chicks that strayed, so make sure they can't fall out and definitely stop the other hens from climbing in there with her to lay as chicks will get trodden on and squashed.

    Good luck with them. There is nothing as heart warming and entertaining as watching a broody hen care for a large clutch of chicks.... dust bathing lessons are the funniest. Chicks that get too close to the demo get sent flying as she enthusiastically scratches and fluffs in the dirt..... It's amazing how robust they are!

    Best wishes

    Barbara
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    The concern I see with your set up as described is the 2 levels. If babies fall or get down to lower level, they may not be able to get back up. You might need to look at your set up in terms of the lack of mobility of a day old chick, and set up an environment that will ensure that they will be safe. Part of that concern will include: access to water, but in such a way that they can't fall in and drown. Attack or getting trampled by other hens in the flock. I had a couple of biddies who were way too interested in the chicks, and caused injury to one of them by grabbing a foot and trying to drag the baby under the partition keeping the babies and Mama away from flock mates. Some flocks, with plenty of space do very well with chicks and Mamas from day 1, while other flocks have a mean bird or two, and a Mama who's not aggressive enough to protect her babies. These situations require human intervention.
     
  7. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Yes thank you. My next question was answered. I was wondering if the hen should / will leave the nest. It is day 1 post hatch and she is still sitting there, I'm not sure how many more hatchlings I will have so I will wait and see. As far as the second deck issue, I decided to staple a some wire cloth as a barrier so the hen can get over it and out but not the chicks. Thank you.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If she can get over it, the others can get in. You wouldn't want to leave the chicks anywhere that Mama was not around to protect them. IMO, either you should block hen and chicks in together, or leave them unblocked.
     
  9. GuamChicken

    GuamChicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok, so I blocked the ckicks in so they dont all out. But my other hens still go in and out. I hope this is ok. The reason I am ok so far is the flock dynamics of this flock is not like I have seen before. It appears the entire flock is protecting this hen and chicks. When I walk close to the nest, especially now with the chicks, I sort of get pecked out of there by the rooster and 4 other hens. Its kind of funny actually. So Im thinking to leave them alone as they are seeing me as the biggest interruption to their lifestyle now . Haha...
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Sounds like they've all got it covered then. Good for you!!!
     

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