chick due to hatch now what

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by luluspunky, Jun 29, 2016.

  1. luluspunky

    luluspunky Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2016
    Laurel, MS
    I have two broodies sitting on fertilized eggs due to hatch on Fri. their nesting boxes are about a foot and a half off the ground with a tray for roosting which I have shavings in, and a ramp to go down to the ground where the water and feed are. There is a 10x10 fenced in run but I do let the hens, I have one that is not sitting, out during the afternoon to roam and get them in before dark. How do I handle the chicks? I think I need to get chick starter. Do I need to isolate from the other hen? I'm new at this, so please ignore my ignorance.
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Get some chick starter for the broodies and chicks. If the other hen is laying, put some crushed oystershell out for her, so she can supplement her calcium needs that way.

    The moms and chicks will most likely sleep on the floor of the coop after leaving the nest box, unless mom can talk to chicks into navigating the ramp up. They may or may not.

    Provide water for everyone in shallow dishes with some marbles or pebbles in, to prevent accidental drownings (chicks are clumsy when little).

    Leave the non-broody hen in the flock with the new chicks. If mom's good, she'll protect them and keep everyone away from the chicks.

    Good luck with the hatch!
     
  3. FarmerMac

    FarmerMac Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are different opinions in this forum so just see what works for you. Since you have a lot of room in the run, I would suggest to put the nest box on the ground so the chicks can go in and out of the nest. I have seen chicks not able to climb the ramp even if the mother calls them. Once they are abut a week old, they can move easier and go everywhere the mom goes.
     
  4. luluspunky

    luluspunky Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2016
    Laurel, MS
    Thanks for the info
     
  5. luluspunky

    luluspunky Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2016
    Laurel, MS
    Thanks for the info
     
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    We all do these things differently. When I see the chicks start to hatch, I put food and water on the coop floor where the chicks can get to it when Mama brings them of the nest. That’s it, I leave everything else up to Mama. She decides when to bring them off the nest and she takes care of them. At night she normally takes them into a corner of the coop to sleep, she does not normally go back to the nest where they hatched though I have seen a couple try to go into a low nest. One actually got her chicks to jump into a nest about a foot off the ground, but the other gave up and went to the corner of the coop with them to sleep. You’d be surprised at how well some newly hatched chicks can jump. Some, not all.

    I’ve seen a hen get her chicks out of a ten feet high hay loft, she said jump and they did, then bounced up and ran to her. Don’t worry about her being able to get them out of your nest at only 1-1/2 feet.

    Normally my hens keep their chicks in my coop about two days before they take them outside. After that they normally take them out the first thing in the morning and don’t bring them back in until dark. I have a rooster, several hens, and often some juveniles in my coop and run. The broody takes care of her chicks and protects them when she needs to. Some people report that their broodies haven’t protected her babies. When you are dealing with living animals about anything can happen, these things don’t come with guarantees, but I’ve never had a broody hen not protect her babies.

    A common way to feed a mixed age flock it to stop feeding Layer because of the calcium, if that is what you feed. Instead feed the entire flock a Starter, Grower, Flock Raiser, something else that is pretty low in calcium, and offer oyster shell or some other calcium supplement on the side. The hens that need it for their egg shells normally know enough to eat it and the ones not laying and the chicks that don’t need it normally don’t eat enough to harm themselves. They are pretty good about that.

    But my situation is quite a bit different than yours. I have an 8’ x 12’ coop on the ground. I don’t have a ramp, I have a pop door about a foot off the coop floor. When I have chicks, I make steps with pavers so they can get in and out easily. I have a 12’ x 32’ main run and a big grass-covered area enclosed in electric netting for them to roam in outside. I don’t know what your broody hens will do when the chicks hatch. I think you probably have a pretty small coop. It’s obviously elevated since you have that ramp. I suspect they will try to do a lot like mine, take them outside when the chicks have it together and bring them back to the coop at night, but they may do something different.

    I don’t know how well the chicks will handle that ramp. Part of it depends on how steep it is and all that. They may not even use it to get down, just jump. Physically they can probably walk back up it, but there is a chance the hen will go to the coop door and call her chicks. They may cluster straight under her instead of going to the low end of the ramp to walk up. You may need to help them in the coop for a day or two until they figure it out.

    Several people on this forum have multiple broodies hatch together and work together great to raise the chicks. They love it. I’ve never experienced that myself. Occasionally it doesn’t work out well though. Sometimes one of the broody hens kill the chicks that hatch under the other hen. I have had two broodies on different nests fight over the eggs once they start to internal pip. They destroyed half the eggs. They don’t always fight, just this once for me. As I said, many people do great with it but I’m not a fan of multiple broody hens. These things don’t come with guarantees either way.

    The chicks inside the eggs start chirping when they internal pip. The hens can hear them. What this does is to let the hen know when more chicks are on the way. I’ve had broody hens bring her chicks off the nest within 24 hours of the first one hatching. I’ve had broody hens wait more than three full days after the first hatches to bring them off the nest. With that internal chirping the hen knows when the hatch is over much better than I do. I open the unhatched eggs after the hen brings the chicks off the nest. I’ve never found a live chick. Those broody hens are pretty good.

    If I were in your situation as it is today I’d put food and water where the chicks can get to it when the hen brings them off the nest and leave your two broody hens in charge. They know a lot more about what they are doing than I do. I’d watch but not interfere unless I saw a reason. I’d certainly be down there at bedtime to see what was going on. Many people isolate the hen and eggs/chicks before they hatch and/or after they hatch. Nothing wrong with that but I don’t have experience with that so I won’t speak to it.

    Good luck!
     
  7. luluspunky

    luluspunky Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 6, 2016
    Laurel, MS
    Thanks, you have given me a lot of information that is very helpful.
     

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