Can you move hen-hatched eggs into a brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kandyp, Feb 7, 2013.

  1. kandyp

    kandyp Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2012
    One of our hens has just gone broody and I want her to hatch some eggs (she did a great job last time). However I would like to move the chicks into a brooder without her when they hatch.

    Is this possible? Will she get really upset if I take them away from her? Will they be really upset? Does anyone have any experience with this?

    The reason I want to have them separate is because last time we had her in the 'brooder' (not really a brooder since it had no heat lamp) in the laundry and she made things quite difficult .. not to mention the fact I felt mean confining her and worried about her not getting her nutrients.

    Any advice or opinions would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. kandyp

    kandyp Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 16, 2012
    Oops, I meant 'hen-hatched chicks', not eggs ..[​IMG]
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Personally I prefer letting the hens raise their chicks. It's easier that way and I feel it's not nice to take the chicks from her after she's done all the work hatching them. And to answer your question: it will upset her. It may not bother the chicks very much as long as you do it soon after they hatched, but it will upset the hen. One of my hens lost her chicks to a predator once and her reaction was heartbreaking to see. They do care about their babies.

    I don't know what your set-up is, but is it possible for you to keep her and the chicks separate from the flock for the first week at least? Just until the chicks are a little stronger. Then let the hen raise the chicks with the flock, which would also solve any integration issues that may arise later on, as the chicks will be accepted more readily by the flock if they come with mom and she can protect them. All you'll need to do in this situation is feed them separately and make sure the chicks don't eat layer feed. The high calcium content of layer feed causes damage to the chicks' internal organs. And also make sure the waterers are shallow or filled with clean pebbles/marbles to prevent accidental drowning.
     
  4. kandyp

    kandyp Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for such prompt help Sumi!

    I do like the idea of mum raising her babies, but I'm not planning to keep all the chicks. I intend on giving most of them them to friends who expressed interest as day-olds (or young in any case). Do you think Maggie (the mum) would be less upset if I let her stay with a few of her babies and took the rest away from her?

    It is possible to keep them separate, we did that for the first 4 weeks last time and had no problem with integration (it was really good—the laundry door where they were kept led right out to the back yard and the rest of the flock slowly got used to them since I started letting them out at one week old). I think I will just do that then, since there won't be as many of them this time round.

    Do you have any suggestions for feeding separately if I want to move the chicks to the coop early? It's difficult when the mum keeps bokking at them to eat the food SHE thinks is the best (layer feed).
     
  5. jak2002003

    jak2002003 Overrun With Chickens

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    Just leave the mum and the chicks together with the rest of the chickens in the yard. Put down a bowl of chick starter for the chicks to eat. They will prefer to eat that as its smaller pieces that the layers pellets.

    Then when you want to sell or give away the chicks you can just go out and 'harvest' them as required.

    You don't need to separate the mother hen and chicks from the other chickens or roosters. She will look after them.

    That's the easy way all around and the less work for everyone.

    Make sure your friends have proper brooders set up and heat lamps plus food. Also make sure they are going to keep them chickens when they grow up and are not so cute and fluffy.
     
  6. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    She will probably mind if you take some of her babies away, but as long as you leave the rest of her to raise she'll get over it. Just try and be discreet about it and try and keep the chicks calm so they don't yell for mom and upset her.

    What you can do with the feed is to switch the flock's feed to an "all flock" feed and offer oystershell or crushed egg shells free choice in a separate container so the laying hens can help themselves as needed for a calcium boost.
     
  7. kandyp

    kandyp Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks guys! That stuff was useful :) I think I'll see how it goes leaving them with the flock
     

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