1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Broody Hen in main coop with other chickens--safe after babies hatch?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by horsepowerhaven, Mar 16, 2011.

  1. horsepowerhaven

    horsepowerhaven Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    39
    Dec 20, 2009
    Queen Creek, Arizona
    So I tried to move my first broody hen to my smaller coop so I could separate her from the main coop for raising the baby chicks. Even though the eggs were under her, she got very panicky and just ran back to the main coop and hopped back into the nesting box she was in. I tried one more time and again, she ran straight back to the main coop and nesting box where she was previously. The two coops are right next to each other.

    I don't mind her hatching the eggs in the main coop, but once the chicks are hatched how do I have flock raiser crumble for the chicks in the main coop withhout the adults choosing to eat that instead of the layer pellets? I'd like to separate her, but I'm worried she will just panic again being taken away from her "family".

    Should I go ahead and move her and the babies to my smaller coop with some 5 month old pullets once hatched? I feel that would be safer and then the babies would have their crumble to eat.

    Suggestions?
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2011
  2. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

    719
    7
    133
    Aug 20, 2010
    Long Island NY
    Well, I'm certainly no pro, but I'll give it a shot...

    If you put her in another coop that has access to the 1st coop, the chickens will eventually find the starter feed in there too. If nothing keeps them out of it, then they'll go into it. Then you have the issue with the babies being exposed to the bigger chickens. I have read that the mommy protects them so they will be fine, and I have also read that you should keep them separate until the babies know enough to run away from the bigger girls. You definitely have to watch them and how the others treat them.

    What I did in my coop was...I made a little cage to enclose her nesting box and one other box and then an area for them to walk around in. I put this cage around her for the last week of incubation b/c the others would frequently go into her nesting box and disrupt her and I felt that the brooder needed to be left alone for that last week before the babies hatched. In my situation, I only had room for a 20' x 20'' space (I have bantams, so this wasn't too small for a very short time). This way the bigger chickens couldn't get to her nest box, the food or the babies. I was going to let the mommy and 2 babies stay in there for a week or so after hatch, then move them to another smaller coop I have right next to the big run that is unattached if I felt that it was too dangerous for the chicks. This way the bigger girls couldn't get to the babies but they could see them and hopefully make the integration easier (but I've read that this isn't a guarantee either)

    One chick didn't hatch and the other chick died after 4 days, so I never got a chance to see how this system was going to work, but I do intend on trying again.

    Someone else on here posted about how she kept the mommies and babies in with the bigger chickens, but gave them a safety cage to escape into. It had a little door that the little chicks could run into and the bigger chickens couldn't follow them. This is where their food could be. You could probably make it out of wood and hardware cloth with a little cut out for a door. Just be very careful to not have any sharp edges from the hardware cloth. I made that mistake with the little cage I made. Even though I cut the hardware cloth very close to the vertical lines, they still got cuts on their feet from walking on top of it. I was risking them getting bumblefoot. I then made sure to cover all edges of the hardware cloth.

    Good luck
     
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2011
  3. horsepowerhaven

    horsepowerhaven Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    39
    Dec 20, 2009
    Queen Creek, Arizona
    Thanks! My smaller coop is not connected to my larger coop. I currently have 5 month old pullets in the smaller coop, but could move them over to the bigger coop now. I'm just worried she will freak out again if I move her after the chicks hatch--she has a strong desire to be with her flock.

    I was just curious as to how everyone else fed the chicks if mom and the chicks were kept in with the adult hens. It is a mystery to me...
     
  4. Freebie

    Freebie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2007
    Bloomingdale, MI
    I pretty much let mom do the work. She will protect them and show them what to eat, and what not to. How to drink. Pretty much everything. I have more trouble with other hens laying in her nest. Or a hen moving to sit on the fresh eggs. I had one little bantam hen, had one little egg left, due to hatch, get up and go sit on the fresh eggs. I found the egg, it was sooo cold. I picked it up and gave it a little shake. Put it to my ear and heard the loudest cheep. Scared the begeebees out of me. I quick grabbed the hen and the egg and put them in a cage I use for sick chickens. The egg hatched the next day. after a few days, I put her back with the main flock and all was well. I just threw some of the baby food out with the scratch and let mom do the rest. It truely is amazing to watch.
     
  5. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

    719
    7
    133
    Aug 20, 2010
    Long Island NY
    Quote:Do you find that the mommy has any trouble protecting the babies from the bigger hens when they're first born?
     
  6. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    449
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I've had 4 batches hatch in the coop with the rest, and one hatched in a seprrate enclosure but all were out with the flock in a couple of days. I've never had another hen (or a roo) harm babies. They may try to peck but mama protects her chicks ferociously. I really prefer to raise them this way -- all have access to outdoors, and no integration problems.

    For feed, I don't feed layer any more anyway. I feed everyone grower and give oyster shell on the side. No problems with thin egg shells and all get a little more protein this way. You can even feed everyone medicated feed (with amprolium) as there is no withdrawal on eggs.
     
  7. Lisa202

    Lisa202 Chillin' With My Peeps

    719
    7
    133
    Aug 20, 2010
    Long Island NY
    Quote:That's good to know. I've heard so much about the other bigger chickens killing the babies, but I wanted them to be able to stay with the flock so that I didn't have to integrate them later on.

    I will definitely try it this way when mine hatch in about 18 days [​IMG] .

    Also, I'm getting 5 3 day old silkie chicks the same week the eggs are supposed to hatch. Do you think I can successfully put them under the broody hen for her to raise along with the others that hatch?

    (sorry to hijack your post horsepowerhaven)
     
  8. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Quote:I do the same. This way I don't have to worry about introducing the chicks later on.
     
  9. horsepowerhaven

    horsepowerhaven Out Of The Brooder

    65
    0
    39
    Dec 20, 2009
    Queen Creek, Arizona
    So do you all not feed layer? I was told to not raise chicks on layer. I don't mind feeding everyone flock raiser crumble/pellets, I just didn't know how it would affect egg production.

    If you do feed layer, do you just let the chicks eat the layer?
     
  10. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    With my first broody I fed layer crumble, (I didn't know about BYC then). Now I switch over to chick food when the chicks are young. When they start growing in their feathers I go back to layer feed. I didn't see any change in egg production in my hens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by