Can you describe brooding cycle?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mrs. Mucket, Jan 13, 2011.

  1. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2010
    Pacific Northwest
    Very basic question...what is the process of brooding from the time the eggs are laid till the chicks are independent? I'd love to hear about the whole process, but especially:

    What are typical behaviors/eating/drinking habits of the hen during this time?
    Is it best to segregate her from the other hens?
    Does the mom introduce the new chicks to the rest of her flock?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2011
  2. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

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    Hastings, MN
    My hen went broody in October, so I gave her 6 eggs to hatch and moved her to a dog crate, so she would remain undisturbed. She successfully hatched 4 chicks. After a week, we moved her and her brood into a rabbit cage and placed in on the floor of the coop with plenty of pine shavings. We had feeders and waterers in the hutch. She taught her chicks what to eat and where to drink. One challenge we found was the hen always knocked the food cup over so that she could teach the chicks to scratch.

    One chick was killed by the flock when it either escaped or was pulled out of the brooder box. We were sad about that.

    After about 10 days, we propped open the door to the brooder box and let the hen take the chicks out into the flock if she chose. She defended them against overly curious hens, she squabbled a bit with other birds to reestablish herself. At night, she hops into the nest box with her chicks and they snuggle in for warmth.

    The chicks are 7 weeks old and she still spends her time with them. There's one that always hops up on her back. I don't know if she'll tolerate that much longer, though.

    She has taken them out on a cold MN day for a bit of fresh air. She's a really good mom, especially considering she's a first - timer.

    Please check out the pictures of the broody and chicks on my web pages.
     
  3. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, Teacher! I hope I have a natural mama or two.

    Your chicks are adorable! And your coop is beautiful. Mine is similar but shorter in length--and red with white trim.
     

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