Broody nest is not on the ground? what do i do?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by babsh, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hatch day for my Silkie should be tomorrow or Thursday. She is currently separated from the flock in her own coop. It is an A-frame tractor with the coop on top and the run below.

    I know new chicks cannot navigate the fairly steep ramp, so what do I do? Do I:

    1)leave her where she is and just keep the ramp up and closed until all of the chicks are hatched and then move the nest to the bottom a couple of days later. (the con is mom can't teach them much about foraging if they don't have access to the ground?).
    2) move the whole nest box to the run below, tonight, before the chicks hatch. (the con of this is worry that she won't be warm enough. i'm in MN and we still have 30some degree nights. Today it only got into the 40's. And will moving her freak her out?).
    3)Move her nest/box onto the floor of the bigger coop, which is much warmer and protected. But I'm assuming this won't work, cuz the other chickens might hurt her chicks?
    4) some option i haven't thought of....

    Any ideas or thoughts?

    Barb
     
  2. Darin115

    Darin115 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2008
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    My grandfather's chickens would nest up in the barn loft. After they hatched the mother hen would fly down and call the chicks down to her. They would stand on the edge of the loft chirping until they just stepped off. When they hit they would bounce like a ball jump up and run to their mother. I was amazed that they did not get hurt.

    I woudl leave them there.

    Darin
     
  3. B. Saffles Farms

    B. Saffles Farms Mr. Yappy Chickenizer

    Nov 23, 2008
    Madisonville, TN
    Quote:Ditto. The momma hen will get them down safely on her own.
     
  4. Lil Chickie Mama

    Lil Chickie Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are at all worried about chicks getting hurt, maybe you could put some cushion on the drop area. My first thought was to say straw, but me I'd worry about sprattle (sp?) leg even for the brief time they'd be on it. You could pile some dry leaves, grass clippings, or the like where they will be plopping down, but I agree with Darin115 that birds do this and seem to not get hurt. Did you see that episode of Planet Earth where Mama duck comes out of her nest inside a tree and the little ducklings glide (in slow-mo) down and PLOP on the ground? They just get up and follow mom, not hurt at all.
    1) You could probably keep mom and babies locked in the coop for a couple days until they can walk better if necessary, but I doubt it is as long as the tractor is predator proof. Even if you do lock them up, mom has plenty of time to teach them to forage, also it's a natural instinct. Just ask all the people who played mom (or dad) to some day old chicks or chicks they hatched in an incubator and when they matured the chicks did fine.
    2) I personally wouldn't move the nest, I wouldn't want to disturb anything, but momma chicken would keep them pretty warm just be wary of winds.
    3) You could do this and it may be the least risky option if you do move it, but I still wouldn't want to disturb the nest myself. Mom will protect her chicks from others though.
    4) [​IMG]
    Oh yeah, congratulations [​IMG] and good luck [​IMG] weee! babies [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  5. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks all, for the responses. It seems the vote is to leave her and the she will help the chicks get down.

    So, of course, this leads to another question- what about getting back up? Will those little chicks be able to get back up a steepish ramp?

    Barb, who really appreciates the help
     
  6. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Barb, they'll need a low nest on the ground once they get down. The babies won't be able to get back up. With mine, I finally quit making nests for them. I just make sure there's a lot of new, clean, straw on the floor of the 'nursery' area of the coop. Mom hen will find a comfortable corner with the babies, and hunker down at night with the babies under her. This actually works better, because sometimes in a nest, a little one will get accidentally crushed or suffocated. I haven't had that happen with the open floor nest option. They always have a way out if too crowded, they don't get trapped. They just scoot out, run around to a new spot, and wiggle back under mom again. I have an area I can put them in separate from the other birds, for a few days. Then I let them rejoin the rest of the flock. They just seem to do better if they have that first few days of separation from the flock.

    Just make sure there's feed and water the babies can reach, and marbles or pebbles in the water to prevent chicks getting stuck in the tray and drowning. It doesn't look like they could, but they can, and often do. Better safe than sorry.

    Oh, BTW, it it won't hurt mom a bit to eat chick starter for a while. In fact, she's in need of the extra nutrients, after brooding. It helps build her back up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  7. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Minnesota
    Quote:OK. Then it sounds like it would be better to leave the mom and chicks closed up in the top of the ark for the first few days. The run is below the ark and it is not predator safe (it's enclosed with chicken wire and sits on the grass), so I wouldn't want to leave mom to have to spend the night on the grass with little protection.

    So tell me if this plan makes sense, please. I leave the ark closed up for the first two days or so after the chicks hatch. Then, I bring momma and babies into the main coop/run and let momma find a cozy corner for the chicks.

    She's been away from the flock for 3 weeks, so I'm assuming there might be some transition issues and I should probably keep an eye on everyone?

    TIA

    Barb
     
  8. Lil Chickie Mama

    Lil Chickie Mama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sound good [​IMG]
     
  9. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    South Central KY
    As long as Mom and the chicks have room to move around some, and there's space for food and water, I'd say yes, the upper portion should be fine. Chicks can get up ramps pretty well, too. You could let them try it out (after a few days in the top) if you can be there in the evening to see they all get back inside. They may take a few days to get the hang of it.

    Sounds like they have a very good chance that everything will be fine!
     
  10. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
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    Quote:Yes, she has plenty of room up there (3x8 or so). It's good to know they will be OK up there.

    Thanks everyone for your help!

    Barb
     

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