Broody Hen raising day old chicks now what

gogochook

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2015
9
19
34
Melbourne Australia
Hi All long time chicken keeper but,
First timer for giving my 2 - 1/2 year old broody Australorp - day old chicks has been a success in her instantly going into mum mode - I am so relieved - I purchased 4 on Saturday and we snuck them under her Saturday night quite late and so much a surprise to find next morning she accepted each one and has already shown so is a very dedicated Mum - two concerns - she is has not really had a good feed since the cycle started so its about 8 days now - the chicks are on starter feed and she is eating that with them - ( we are at day 3 with the chicks) - but she has been pooping in the next where she is sitting on them - how long will she keep sitting the chicks are quite active - and when should she start getting out of the nest ? I gave her a slice of bread this afternoon and she went nuts over it so she is obviously hungry. She has started to change colour in her face - quite light - How long until the chicks start coming out also ?
Chicks and mum day 3.png

Any help would be most appreciated
 

21hens-incharge

Addict
Premium member
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
16,519
65,606
1,412
Northern Colorado
Was she only broody for 8 days before you gave her chicks?
Her hormones may not have been fully ready for chicks.

As others have said, no eggs left in nest, chick starter is what she should be eating right now.

Keep cleaning her droppings from the nest and perhaps lift her off it if she is just sitting and not getting up. She should be getting up and showing the chicks to eat this not that, dustbathe, where the water is etc by day 5 since they are adopted babies. If not I would start lifting her off the nest and placing her where she must walk a bit to get back to it.

I try to wait until mine have been broody for 18+ days before I give chicks to them.
 

gogochook

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2015
9
19
34
Melbourne Australia
Thanks everyone for your help ! I did pop two eggs under her the day before the new arrivals and managed to get them out the day after the chicks were popped under her - I wont give her any more bread I just wasnt sure about that - I thought it might be a problem mid cycle but you have confirmed this for me - checked on them early this morning they are all out eating and drinking and playing around - they look happy she is still sitting - I will try getting her moving today it is day 3 with them now - also what I found quite amazing was when I was putting the eggs in before the chicks arrival - I placed the egg in front of her and she opened her mouth as wide as she could picked up the egg - craned her neck like a swan and pushed the egg underneath - I was amazed
thanks again everyone - you guys are so much help
 

song of joy

Crowing
7 Years
Apr 22, 2012
1,191
653
251
Central Pennsylvania
Remove any eggs still under her. Also, remove the nest box she had been setting in and replace it with a bed of hay for her and the chicks.

Offer the hen and chicks some mashed, scrambled eggs. This treat is high in protein, vitamins, and moisture, so it's good for the chicks and the hen. Place the eggs, and the chick feed and the water out of the hen's reach so she has to get up to access it. She should be up and moving around with the chicks to show them how to eat, drink, etc., and she should be brooding them to keep them warm.

Since she was only broody for 8 days, there's a risk that she'll stay on the nest rather than transition to caring for the chicks. All of the tips above are to help her make that transition.
 

gogochook

In the Brooder
Oct 24, 2015
9
19
34
Melbourne Australia
Hi Sad news- two of the barnevelders have not survived I found 1 dead underneath her this morning and the other in front barely alive - we tried to save it but it was really limp - I had her up and about yesterday moved the food and drink so she had to get up and she was going outside for a few few minutes and then going back in - they all seemed quite Ok yesterday - so I am surprised at what has happened - could be have been spooked and crushed them ? Also, she was outside with the two remaining chicks all day today - they look pretty tired and she seems very self absorbed - sand bathing furiously - when I put out feed for the chicks she scraped it all away - she wasnt letting them under her very often for a sleep - I have watched them all day - quite concerned - any ideas ?
 

chickenmeadow

Crowing
10 Years
Jun 14, 2009
1,057
342
276
Southern Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Maybe put the remaining chick in a brooder & pick up a couple more chicks to keep it company; then you know it will be safe & warm. If you don't have one, I use a clear tote, heat lamp on top of a wire mesh top, with chick food & waterer over paper towels on top of bedding or towels at first; up on a counter & safely away from adults getting to them. Then your broody hen can start over & let her hormones be ready to hatch & care for the chicks when it's right for her. She gave it her best try, a very good girl. Best wishes.
 

rebrascora

Free Ranging
5 Years
Feb 14, 2014
7,127
8,645
556
Consett Co.Durham. UK
Unfortunately it seems that you may have jumped the gun by giving her chicks too soon. Their bodies go through phases whilst they brood and it's best to let them sit at least 2 weeks before you attempt to give them chicks so that they are becoming ready to stop incubating and start brooding. By taking her off the nest at this stage you may now have broken her of her broodiness. You might need to remove the other 2 chicks from her if they are struggling to keep up.
This is not the hen's fault and it doesn't mean that she is a bad mother but just that you gave her the chicks before she was ready for them.
It is a shame but better luck next time..... also better to graft chicks in the spring or summer than at this time of year because if you cannot supervise 24/7 and a chick gets left behind or falls out of the nest, they chill and die in a very short space of time whereas in spring/summer which is the more natural time to be broody, chicks have a much better chance of survival if something does go wrong because they don't chill so quickly.
 
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