Chick and food if left with mother


Apr 13, 2020
Knoxville, MD
It's the first time one of my hen's hatched eggs. She laid on about 12 eggs but left the nest box after only 2 hatched with only those chicks leaving the rest of the eggs and it's definitely too high for them to get back to the nest. (I'm guessing she's not going back to sit on those eggs so I'm going to candle them and see if I can save those with chicks in an incubator.)

I know I can get something for her and the chicks as a substitute nest but the big question I have is about the chicks' diet. (One chick hatched today and the other yesterday.) All they have if they stay with mom is chicken food for layers which doesn't have enough protein and chick food is too high in protein for the hens. Do I need to take them away from their mother to make sure they get the right diet?

Appreciate any help you can give me.
Actually, chick food is fine for the rest of your hens:) We feed Purina all flock to everyone and it has 20% protein. Our broody just hatched out her chicks this week in the same situation of a nest too high for the chicks to climb into. We moved the chicks out, she followed and made a new nest in the corner of the coop. We set up a box for her, but she had other plans😂
and chick food is too high in protein for the hens.
Incorrect.. but it is too low in calcium for laying hens. The protein will benefit the broody.

As long as oyster shell or other calcium source is available free choice on the side then using a "starter" or "flock Raiser" for everyone in the flock is a fine choice.

The layer feed aside from too low in protein (for chicks) is too high in calcium (>3%) fed to birds not in lay long term *can* cause issues (possibly gout, kidney failure, and even death, IF somehow genetically predisposed). With the oyster shell on the side juveniles may sample it but they won't be overdosing on every feeding.

Higher protein feed is also more expensive.. but my older birds have less harsh molts and come through it faster than when I did use "layer".

Since I always have chicks, broody's, molting hens, and roosters in my flock I never use layer. Purina flock raiser (20% protein) has given me good results.. but anything close to the same nutrient profile is acceptable. The Dumor brand is $5 cheaper right now, slightly lower in amino acids but not significantly.

Between 18-22% protein (NOT below 18), about 1% calcium.

Doesn't matter if they label it starter, grower, flock raiser, all flock, etc.

Congrats on your babies.. I hope you hen gets to keep them! :jumpy:jumpy

Were the eggs not all the same age? Staggered hatch is always tough on a hen.
Yes chick starter for all now is the best. And oyster shells/egg shells on the side for layers. A broody doesn’t lay until she stops mothering, .normally.

Do you plan to raise the chicks apart, if there are more chicks hatching from this nest. ? Bc often the broody doesn’t accept them anymore.
Thanks everyone! I feel so much better. I'll do that right now.

I don't know why I thought protein. Thanks for correcting me. I need to know these things.

There is some bad news though. One of the chicks has twisted leg and it's bad. I had one other earlier in the year. I took it to the vet and I also read about it here, watched videos, etc to find the best way to help it. The vet didn't think it would make it because it was so bad. I tried my best but she was right. It didn't make it. 😢

I tried to see if I could click this chicks leg in the joint but it was also too twisted. I don't expect it to live for very long. 😣

I know it's probably hereditary but I have know idea of which chicken might be the one passing it along.

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