Broody hen upset with new home

Discussion in 'Chicken Hatching Eggs' started by IrishGardener, Jul 3, 2017.

  1. IrishGardener

    IrishGardener Chirping

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    Lacey Washington
    I have 5 hens and one is broody. Everything I read says to separate her but let her see the others for an easier reintroduction later. I bought one of those little coops with the runs that say for 4-5 chickens (Super small, but I figured ok for 1). I moved her, inside her nest box, last night. I slipped 12 fertile quail eggs under her. This morning, my husband opened the nest area door so she could go in the run and eat/ go to the bathroom. She got real upset seeing the others out and about. I came home from work and she was real mad. The eggs were cool. I Took one of her eggs and got it real warm, then put it in the middle of the quail eggs and locked her back in that area. She pecked at the tiny window, so I put a small towel over it and she quieted down. The other chickens were going over there, so I blocked them from the area. Does anyone have experience with this? I'm trying to follow advice I find, but it is always just part of my issues. :( I really am hoping for the best with this batch of eggs.
     
  2. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

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    I never move or separate mine while they are sitting. I think part of it just depends on your setup and whether others will still have a place to lay without disturbing her too much. Once the babies hatch I separate them for a few days just so the chicks can get their bearings and get strong and the bond can be fostered, then they go back to mingling with the flock.

    I did have some issues with chicks getting killed a couple months ago, with two broodies trying to raise separate batches of chicks. I've never had that happen with my girls (plenty of times my other girls have raised chicks in the same brooder spaces) but these were first timers, with one being overly aggressive and the other being excessively docile and afraid to defend her babies. However, I've had another hen raise chicks since then, and the aggressive one had weaned her chicks and has no aggression towards these chicks. It was a matter of bad timing and not knowing those hens and how they would behave since it was their first time.
     
  3. JaeG

    JaeG Free Ranging

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    She's trying to get back to her old nest. You need to move her away so she cannot see her old home. Once she's settled on her new nesting site for at least a few days you could try moving her back beside them.

    Don't put eggs under her until you know she is settled and going to stick at being broody. If she's hatching quail eggs she does need to be separated from your other hens. Quail eggs are easily squashed by other hens. Put the eggs in a bowl just big enough for your hen to fit on as quail eggs can get easily lost/roll away without her realising.

    Keep an eye on her around hatching time as some hens don't like the tiny chicks. Also, she can't raise them. Quail chicks need a lot more cuddles in that first week than a chicken chick and a hen just wants to be up and scratching round looking for food for her babies. I have tried but I spent most of the first week holding the chicks so they didn't get cold! Thankfully there were only two.
     
    SunHwaKwon likes this.
  4. SunHwaKwon

    SunHwaKwon Crowing

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    ^ Good advice. I have never dealt with quail chicks so I was wondering about that.
     
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  5. IrishGardener

    IrishGardener Chirping

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    Lacey Washington
    Ok. I bought fencing to block her from seeing the old coop. I'm going to remove the little run area and just let her have a sectioned off area of the run that her coop is in. I watched a few people on youtube who let hens raise baby quail, but I have a brooder I can set up if needed. Thanks so much for all your advice. I just want to see everyone happy in my coop!
     
  6. IrishGardener

    IrishGardener Chirping

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    Lacey Washington
    I had to separate her because the eggs are tiny and the other girls will get in the nesting box. My coop isn't really set up with any way I could block her off. Hopefully she'll settle in. We only moved her last night. In the dark as advised online, so she is probably pretty confused. In hindsight I think I should have kept her in the coop itself for a couple days. That's what I did with my hens when they left the brooder.
     
  7. JaeG

    JaeG Free Ranging

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    If you keep them indoors initially and monitor them constantly, giving the quail chicks a heat lamp when necessary and removing the hen while she wants to scratch about you might have success but it's a lot of work. The only time I've had success is where my two quail chicks hatched a week apart. My broody faithfully kept sitting for that week, letting me take care of her, so the first chick that hatched had a week to become more active and independent and able to keep up with the hen once she was up and about. The younger chick I had to grab every time she got up or he would've been kicked out of the way or trampled. Those are the biggest dangers, and my broody was a tiny Old English Game bantam.

    I've tried two other bantams, one another OEGB, but both of them wanted to get up and get moving too quickly despite still having eggs that were waiting to hatch, not wanting to stay in the nest so the chicks can have a few days to get strong enough to keep up with her.

    A hard feathered bird is also needed because quail chicks burrow right up under the hens wings and can easily get tangled, and quickly die, in softer feathering.

    The quail chicks also don't need the hen past three weeks of age. My poor hen felt quite superfluous at that point and I did feel bad for her, madly clucking at the chicks to come and eat what she'd found and being ignored.

    Here are a couple of very good articles on this very subject if you want to give it a go:
    https://holistic-hen.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/hatching-and-raising-quail-organically.html#.WVrVPoVOJ9B
    https://holistic-hen.blogspot.co.nz/2014/05/raising-quail-organically-with-mother.html#.WVrTwIVOJ9B
     
  8. IrishGardener

    IrishGardener Chirping

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    Lacey Washington
    Thank you so much for all the information! Quail are supposed to hatch at 17 days, so I plan to read, read, read til then! ;) I feel bad letting her hatch them and not getting to be a mama. I live in town, so roosters are a no no. Quail chicks were something I wanted anyways, so I figured I could deal with 2 issues at once!
     
  9. JaeG

    JaeG Free Ranging

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    We are the same - we'd love to hatch chicken chicks but can't. We have some gorgeous bantams that are great little sitters and we'd love to be able to indulge them.

    You hen will act like a foraging mother hen for a few days but as long as you take the chicks away pretty quickly she won't be attached to them (or them to her) so she won't really miss them as such - her hormones will just be telling her to find food for her chicks. You will feel mean (I know I did) but it is easier and less stressful for you. She'll get back to 'normal' after about a week.

    Quail chicks are very tiny and cute. They are great for kids and in the first week they are pretty snuggly - they'll snuggle into your hands like they'd snuggle into their mother.

    It isn't unusual to lose the odd chick soon after hatching (last time we hatched some that happened to our daughter's favourite - of course!). So don't worry if that happens. They grow incredibly fast. By 3 weeks old they are mostly fully feathered.
     
  10. IrishGardener

    IrishGardener Chirping

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    Lacey Washington
    My 10 year old was thrilled to hear he could cuddle the tiny chicks! We are all a bunch of softies and our birds are very much on pet status. Our sons favorite chick (with our 1st batch ever) wound up being a rooster and we had to re home him. It was really heartbreaking for us. They were sexed, but as we learned, it isn't 100% guaranteed. The next 2 we added are cream legbars because you can sex them at hatch by coloring. We are excited to have the quails who's roosters aren't too loud to keep!
     

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