Chickies *and* Eggs - Feeding the Hen?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Bunnylady, Aug 2, 2010.

  1. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

    Nov 27, 2009
    Wilmington, NC
    I had several hens that went broody all at the same time. Due to circumstances beyond my control, it wound up being an extremely long incubation period, with all of them brooding in excess of 50 days by the time the eggs that I had ordered for them hatched. I felt that such heroic efforts should be rewarded, so I let them keep the chicks, each in their own private cage. The hens are all being wonderful mothers, handing the chicks tidbits and snuggling with them at night.

    Understandably, the hens were in pretty low condition by the time the chicks hatched. I figured that the chick starter wouldn't do them any harm, so that is all they have had to eat up until now. The chicks are about 3 weeks old now, and one of the hens has begun laying eggs again. She's given me 4 eggs in the past 5 days, so I reckon she's serious about it. She is still very much involved with her chicks, so I don't want to separate her, but how do I feed her?

    If I let her rejoin the flock, she'd have to go alone. The others free-range in my barnyard, and it can be a savage place. Experience has taught me that 3-week-old chicks probably wouldn't last long enough to learn how to survive out there. After all this effort, I don't want to risk losing them like that. I'd rather keep them as they are for now, but I don't want this hen's condition to go down again due to improper nutrition. Any suggestions?
  2. bigstack

    bigstack Songster

    Jan 4, 2010
    Texarkana, TX
    I used a box! I put the chick feed in the low cut open bottom and the hen feed high as I could for only her to reach. I kept the lower opening low enough for the chicks to enter and eat but It was hard for her to get into. She tried every now and then but it was easier for her to reach up and eat the feed in the higher feeder. The chicks would sometimes eat her feed but not normaly. A hanging feeder works for the hen aswell. And use a low covered feeder for the chicks, under a cover to low for her to enter! Just cut wide short openings all around so there is plenty of light!

    Good Luck and God Bless!
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2010

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by