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Broody Hen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by amaturesfowler, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. amaturesfowler

    amaturesfowler New Egg

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    I have a broody hen and I'm just not to sure if there is any thing that I have to do for the hen. She has food and water available for her. we also have a few more hens and a couple of rooster. Is their any thing that I need to do for when the chicks hatch?
     
  2. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Overrun With Chickens

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    It is usually a good idea to separate a broody hen. This is to prevent another chicken from disturbing her, or the chicks when they hatch. A dog crate, or a large cardboard box make good broody pens.

    Before the chicks hatch, make sure that you have feeders that the chicks can reach, and that you are feeding chick feed crumbles. Also, make sure that the waterer is accessible by chicks, and that they cannot drown in it (one way to prevent drowning is to place small rocks, like aquarium rocks, in the water).

    Once they hatch, just make sure that they have enough to eat and drink. Stay aware for signs of trouble; not all broodies are good mothers. If you see the mother hen ignoring the chicks or trying to injure/peck them, separate the chicks.
     
  3. mithious

    mithious Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, just make sure they have food and water, if you are not going to let them free range with their Momma. The first day or so, they don't really need it, but I would have it there. Plus Momma might be a bit hungry too. She can eat the chick crumble too, as she won't be laying. The best thing is to leave her alone and let her do her thing. She might chuck out an egg, or even reject a chick. Trust the Momma chicken, she knows wayyy more than we do...we always used broody hens to set and raise our chicks! It's the best and easiest way and the healthiest, if you let the Momma alone and trust her judgement! The momma chicken can and will probably want to take her chicks out right away( once the hatch is complete ) and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it will build natural immunities in the chicks and Momma will teach them all they need to know!

    Best of luck and Congrats on the new ones
     
  4. chooks4life

    chooks4life Overrun With Chickens

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    Wyadottes7 basically covered it. Personally I differ slightly in my approach, but that was correct advice by basically anyone's standards. My main differences are that I make up their feed by hand, no crumbles, and sometimes with a proven mother and because I know my roosters and other hens are also good, I don't separate them. But for a first time mother and first time hatch I would separate.

    As Wyandottes7 said --- watch the mother carefully and if she's attacking them or not responding to them, removal may be necessary. No mother at all is better than a violent or negligent mother. No broody is a mother until she's proven herself. Quite a few are simply unable to be mothers. Instinct levels vary incredibly widely.

    Once you're a little more sure of your flock, once they've been tested, and if you feel so inclined, you might end up doing like I do --- letting some hens brood out in the open, freeranging the chicks with the main flock from day one --- but for less capable mothers I tend to cage for a week just to make sure. Sometimes the hatch is staggered over several days so I might cage the mothers to allow the later hatched babies to 'get their zooming feet under them' --- they are quite zippy when able.

    Carefully watch your other hens and roosters around the babies in early days because you might have baby killers among them. But if you have a broody run or similar that won't be a problem. A little additional advice I will offer is to feed finely minced fresh raw garlic to your chicks from day one, just adding it to the food or separately offered, because this kills coccidiosis. I've never lost a single chicken to cocci out of many hundreds raised without medicated feed or vaccinations or in clean sterile pens or any of that. If allowed and assisted to naturally develop immunity they will be so much stronger for it, even as adults. It has a lifetime effect. But I don't know how mixing medicated crumble and garlic goes so maybe that's not the best idea. Each to their own, anyway. Best wishes.
     
  5. ChirpyChicks1

    ChirpyChicks1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds like you've got some great advice. Best of luck to you and your flock!
     

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