Broody's eggs unexpectedly hatched....What do I do next?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by earlybird10842, Dec 28, 2016.

  1. Hi,
    A few weeks ago one of my hens went broody. I didn't expect anything to actually be able to hatch because it was actually below zero, but I left the eggs under her anyway.This morning I lifted up the broody to discover three small chicks. They're in a nestbox right now, and the other chickens do not seem intent on bothering them. It's below freezing, but the coop is heated to stay above freezing.
    My question is, what is the next step?
    I admit I was somewhat unprepared for this possibility. Should I let them stay in the coop with their mom? Should I bring all of them into the garage or basement? Should I set up a brooder or a separate part of the coop?
    Thanks,
    Earlybird
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    People do this all kinds of ways. I let my broody hens raise the chicks with the flock. I let her decide when to bring them off the nest and take them outside of the coop. About the only thing I do is make sure there is food and water where the chicks can get to it when she does bring them off the nest.

    Some people isolate them any time of the year. Nothing wrong with that, I just choose to go a different route.

    This thread might be a good read for you right now.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/947046/broody-in-michigan-winter
     
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  3. Thank you Ridgerunner! The reason I liked my broody in the first place was because I liked the idea of having chicks without a brooder indoors.
    Right now I have three options I am considering.
    1. Live and let live. Put out medicated chick feed and trust my hen's mothering instincts.
    2. Put them indoors without a heat lamp
    3. Put a plastic bin in the coop, cover it up with a wire screen, put Mom and chicks in here--sort of brooder within coop. I've done this with an elderly, blind bird for months with great success. If necassary I could move them inside if the temp drops below zero again.

    I also might mention that the nestbox is about two feet aboveground, so I think moving them might be necessary.
    Based on your experience and my situation, which option sounds best?
    Thank you for your input!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Sorry but that’s your call, not mine. I’m not going to be critical of someone doing things differently than I do it. I personally let the hen take care of it but that’s just personal preference. You might look through that thread to see if it helps you. I think it will. If you want PM Aart and ask questions.

    I’ve seen hens get chicks out of a ten feet high hay loft, Mama says jump and they so. My hens regularly hatch in nests 2 feet high or higher, I leave it up to them to get the chicks down. It has never been a problem.
     
  5. Alright, thank you for your help! I think for now I will live and let live, finish cleaning the coop, and check on them often. Are there any signs of trouble I should look out for?
    Thanks,
    Earlybird
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I did not read the entire thread linked by Ridgerunner so will make a suggestion to stress even if thread contains it.

    Make certain chick movement is not obstructed when hen takes them out and about to eat and drink. You want chicks to be able to follow hen every where she goes without having to jump or climb over something. When it gets seriously cold chicks need to be able to get under mothers skirt quickly. At very low temperatures, the chicks need to be able to get food and drink quickly so they can devote more time to being brooded. I also like to have so chicks have an extended photoperiod relative to what is natural at higher latitudes. My preference is for the first couple weeks the photoperiod is at least 12 hours light per day, otherwise they will go for extended periods in early morning hours with depleted crops.
     
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  7. Thanks you for your help! So should I create some form of ramp from nestbox to ground? Otherwise, I can't see this being much of a problem...our coop is pretty level, with food and water a few inches off ground to prevent it from getting nasty. I made sure the chicks could reach the water and food. I can't see them going outside much, but even then, it's like a two inch step inside to outside...
    Any modifications you think I should make?
    Thanks again!
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I take some wire fencing and form a circle with it. I put my momma hen and chicks in it on the floor of the coop. I put food and water within easy reach.

    I have had chick jump out of nestboxes. I have had chicks go to far away from mom and can't return, and I've had other hens attack chicks and mom. It's best to let everyone become familiar with each other through a fence.

    I keep mine separated in the wire circle for 1-2 weeks until all chick can keep up with mom, understand her calls and can get away from other hens. Usually after 2 weeks everything works out fine.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
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  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Make so she can take chicks on walks only on flat floor. If she has a preferred location to roost with chicks, then put a little hay / straw so she and chicks can brood together there. I would keep food and water for chicks low for a couple days. Consider putting a milk crate upside down over feeder and waterer so adults can not mess it up, including their mother. Chicks need to be able to walk through sides of milk crate like for a creep feeder.


    I would not let chicks outside until they are about a week old as that will be when wings can give them a little assist when it comes to getting up on things. Jumping will also be much stronger.
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Here's my momma hen in her fence.

    [​IMG]
     
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