broody hen with eggs in a high horse feeder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Mark, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have a broody hen with eggs in a high horse feeder. I think she is fairly safe there, but I don't see how this arrangement will work once the eggs hatch (if they do). It is starting to get cold at night. The next two months will be a tough one on chicks.

    The current plan is to wait and see if any chicks hatch. If some do, we would move mom and chicks to a pen or dog crate. Does that sound reasonable? We don't have any experience with hatching chicks. We have always ordered chicks and raised them under a heat lamp. This spring, an order had a bunch of roosters included for warmers. One of them is still with us, so hatching our own chicks is suddenly possible.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  2. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I have broodies all year long - even have one setting on eggs now and it is blowing snow outside.

    If she was mine here is what I would do. Move her/eggs at night into a plastic dog crate - I like to do this before the eggs pip - but everyone is different. You might want to cover the crate for the next day so she does not freak out too bad (some hens will leave a nest when moved, some worry for a bit but settle back down, some have no problems as long as they have their eggs)

    I make sure the broody has food and water within reach of the nest and that she can get out to potty once a day.

    When the chicks hatch, I use the crate to cart mom/babies from the coop to the brooder each day. My broody brooder is a 16 x 24 foot outside pen that has been wired for chicks. Does not take long, day/two, and mom will have the babies in the crate when it is time for bed so all I have to do is close the door and move the crate.


    Keep water and food bowls shallow - just like for hatchery chicks - but mom will take care of showing them how to eat/drink. Mom will keep them warm even in the cold. The only days I worry about are the wet or very windy/cold days. Then I keep mom and the chicks inside the coop - in the crate if big enough.

    A good broody makes having chicks super easy [​IMG]
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
     
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Sounds like you've got a good plan and great advise already.
     
  5. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We had 9 chicks hatch, today!

    We are very much amazed. We didn't think it would really happen. DW heard chirping sounds this morning from the horse feeder.

    We have moved the chicks and mom into a cat crate, and set the crate in a chicken tractor (6x6 pen). Everyone settled down for the night.

    The only thing I can think of adding, is a light bulb for heat during the day.

    We have been letting our chickens free-range when we are at home, otherwise they stay in our large pen. I guess we can do the same with mom and the chicks at some point.

    This is new territory.

    Mark
     
  6. bakerjw

    bakerjw Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had 2 free rangers go broody on me this fall. The first was a friendly white leghorn and would tolerate me peeking under her. I would hand feed her and she seemed appreciative (as much as chickens appreciate anything). We had no idea of how long she had been on the eggs so at the first sign of a peep I moved her and the 11 eggs to a large brooding box with a heat lamp. The poor thing was out in the rain and wind for 3 weeks and ended up hatching out 5 chicks of which 4 made it.

    I now have another broody who has been sitting on eggs for 19 days as of today. She is a not so friendly WL who like to growl and bite. The weather has been very cold and she has hung in there with them. tonight we are moving her into the brooder box and hoping that she'll get back on the eggs. I am still new at chickens but I think that birds have good hearing and mother hens can hear or feel chicks moving in the eggs before they hatch. I would hope that the awareness of viable chicks would overcome a minor disruption of their nesting location.

    I could be wrong though since they are chickens.
     
  7. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Quote:[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Last week I also had chicks hatch. We have had below freezing temps until this week (-9 and -6 at nights). Mom was in an unheated coop and still is with thriving chicks. I would not add any additional heat to the clutch, mom will warm the babies when they get cold and tell her.

    Just feed her and the chicks extra well and make sure their water is not frozen. Also give mom a bit of sand/dirt and/or grit to scratch thru and introduce the chicks to. This way, you do not have to worry that mom will feed them something that they cannot digest yet. My broody hens show thier chicks grit the first day the chicks start eating.

    I generally let mom and chicks out on days when it is not super nasty (today here is windy and raining - just above 32 degrees - SO mom and chicks stay indoors today.) On just cold days, I will let them out for a couple hours.

    Enjoy! [​IMG]
     
  8. Mark

    Mark Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think you are right. They can handle everything fine, as long as we provide a little protection, food and water.

    This is going to sound pretty trite, but I'm humbled, amazed and delighted.

    Thanks for all the help!

    Mark
     
  9. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:ok there is some thing wrong here hmmmm ok where is the pic of mommy and her babie [​IMG]s
     
  10. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Quote:Not trite at all.



    I totally understand. [​IMG]
     

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