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Broody Mama hatching late chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by shannonkNH, Oct 28, 2011.

  1. shannonkNH

    shannonkNH In the Brooder

    May 5, 2008
    I have a brooder who will generally hatch a few chicks a year. She keeps them or him/her with her, keeps them warm, and protects them. She has a perfect track record. However, last night as the first snow and hard frost hit our area I heard little peeps from under her and this morning I woke up to a wet little NH Red peeper under her. She also has a couple of other eggs under her that may or may not hatch.
    With the colder weather I am wondering if Mama, a Cochin Bantam, can care for the chicks herself? I put a heat lamp over her last night but once they leave the nesting box I don't know if the chick will freeze or be vulnerable if one of them moves away from the light? The box she chose is up high so they will have to leave in the next day or so, so the chick can get water and food...
    My options are:
    1. To let Mama decide, as she has in the past, and trust her.
    2. Take Mama, the chick, and the eggs and move them to a low box in a smaller coop.
    3. Move Mama, the chick, and the eggs inside to keep them warm.
    4. Just take the chicks out and bring them inside to raise separately. (this is my least favorite since Mama is good about blending the new chick into the group...)
    Any advice would be helpful!
    Thank you

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I would definitely go with #1, even that far north, myself. I've seen my chicks outdoors running around in 40 degree weather at 2 or 3 days. Mama did fine with them, covering them frequently to warm them, then out they would go again, after a few minutes. When I have had them hatch in a high box, mama just makes a new place to cover them in some hay somewhere, or covers them wherever she is when they decide to duck under her. But then I am pretty well committed to doing my hatching with broodies, and letting her raise them in with the flock.
  3. blefky

    blefky life in the yard

    Mar 18, 2010
    stamford, ct
    If it were me, I'd leave her with the flock and move the nest to a lower spot. This is how I currently have a broody with four chicks (several weeks old now). They are all integrating beautifully. You would need to keep an eye out initially for any aggression, but you'd be surprised how well a mama hen protects her chicks. I haven't had any problem at all. And it doesn't take long for the chicks to learn who they need to keep away from. You need to judge your particular set-up and situation, but keeping them together has worked really well for me. Oh, and there's no heat in my coop; from the time the chicks were three days old she had them up and moving for the better part of the day and the temps were in the 50's and 60's then. I think sometimes we over pamper and end up with less resilient birds for it. (just my opinion of course [​IMG])
  4. karlamaria

    karlamaria Songster

    Jan 30, 2011
    Western montana
    Living in Montana my hen went broody and I feel so bad for her as we have no rooster. My question is can mom do it in such a cold climate and 2 . If I buy some eggs that are fertile and she hatches them, can I move mom and these chicks to a new coop and they survive a harsh winter?

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