broody hen(s) & hatching drama...need advice PLEASE

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by thegreypony, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. thegreypony

    thegreypony Songster

    Our BO (Thelma Lou) decided she would not be broken from her broodiness despite EVERYTHING I tried. So got her a dozen eggs to hatch (2 are duck eggs I'm pulling to put in the bator tomorrow morning). She was so happy but then boycotted her nest on Day 17. Not to fear, the tiniest of our bantams (Lacey) rushed in to pick up where Thelma Lou left off and has stayed on the nest.

    Chicks started hatching tonight - I can see one egg has a really good hole started...she's doing a good job covering the rest so I can't see anything else. Anyway....a few questions...

    1. Will this teeny bantam (she's about the size of a dove) be able to take care of these 10 standard sized chicks? I really don't want to put anyone in the brooder....(I'm lazy and the indoor critters wear me out as I run interference...)

    2. Should I leave them all in the hen house and wait to see if the other hens give her trouble by picking on the chicks - move 'em only if I have to? There are 15 standard laying hens (no roosters) and one other bantam hen...Lacey is at the top of the pecking order but I worry about her trying to watch over so many babies....

    3. If I leave the flock together, what do I need to do about feed? I've got 16% layer ration out for the flock and various add-ins...yogurt and appropriate kitchen scraps every other day or so. Should I put chick feed somewhere, mix it in w/the layer ration....IDK???

    4. Is it going to be just easier all the way around to separate Lacey & the chicks?? Doing so would be PITA for me but if it's the best thing to do....well, we're slaves to these crazy chickens, anyway....what's one more thing?!?!?

    Thanks SO MUCH for any advice, help, etc. you might give. We hatched out broilers in the bator for 4-H and they went to their new "home" on day 4 so long term care was not a concern. We've got some homes lined up for these birds but the idea was to let Thelma Lou raise them a bit to break the that Lacey is on the nest....well, she's not hard to break from being broody but I don't want to snatch "her" babies away from her. WHAT WOULD YOU DO? WHAT'S BEST FOR THE BABIES & FLOCK?

  2. dolly85

    dolly85 Songster

    Jun 1, 2010
    If she is that small she may have a hard time keeping all the chicks warm under her, especially in a week or so when they are bigger. Can you hook up a heat lamp outside for them to go under? Or you could give a few away so momma hen doesn't have so many babies to worry about.
  3. thegreypony

    thegreypony Songster

    It's really hot here right now - mid 80s today, tomorrow in the 90s... I'm really surprised the eggs hatched given the "I'm done settin!" drama with the BO... [​IMG]

    I'm most concerned about whether or not to just move Lacey & ALL the babies out of the hen house once the hatch is over...I don't want to interfere b/c the hens usually have a MUCH better idea about how all this is supposed to work. [​IMG]

    bumping this to the top and adding that last nights pipper is free of the shell. gotta love this miracle of new life!!! <3 [​IMG]

    thanks for any advice!!!
  4. crazy chook

    crazy chook Songster

    Apr 8, 2010
    Langwarrin, Victoria
    Firstly congratulations [​IMG]
    I would leave them all with her since it is quite warm. I would definitely move them all to a pen all of there own, even is you just fence her off a part of the big pen so the other girls don't hassle her.
  5. elmo

    elmo Crowing

    May 23, 2009
    There's a risk when you don't separate a hen with chicks from the rest of the flock. It's hard to quantify, because so much depends on the personalities of the chickens involved and your particular set up (is there plenty of room and lots of places for chicks to run away to and hide?). You have to weigh this risk against the annoyance of moving them.

    I have a different problem. I have three broodies each raising chicks. I have to keep each one with her chicks separate, because two broody hens facing off is a terrible thing. Neither one will back down, so they fight. I have a bruise on my arm from intervening in a hen fight that occurred this week because I thought it would be ok to have two hens out free ranging in the yard while I was cleaning pens. Plenty of room, no problem, right? Wrongo.
  6. jen5680

    jen5680 Southside Silkie Shack

    Jun 18, 2009
    SW Ohio
    I would just watch them for a few days and see how they do. I have always left mine out in the coop with momma and she knows what to do for them. Some of my other chickens will peck at them evey now and then but overall they leave them alone and as long as there is a room for them to get away I say leave them.
    It is sooooo much easier having a hen to raise them!
    I just mix starter in with the food that the rest of the flock has been eating. No problems yet for me!
  7. thegreypony

    thegreypony Songster

    Thanks so much for all the info! We are up to 5 chicks at this point with one having just hatched no more than 1/2 hour ago.

    There are lots of places to hide both in the house & the coop...I will watch closely but I think Momma Lacey will be just fine taking care of them b/c of where she is in the pecking order...NO ONE tells her what to do...she's a benevolent leader. LOL

    Thanks, again, Backyard Chicken folks...we are so excited about these babies...something very different seeing somebody peek out from under a wing as opposed to laying on the incubator floor (but those are cute too!!)

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