Chicks are hatching in nesting box!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by mrscbass, Sep 6, 2014.

  1. mrscbass

    mrscbass Out Of The Brooder

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    We are fairly recent chicken owners, going on our 2 summer with our girls. Recently one of our hens decided to sit on her 9 fertilized eggs. Long story short . . . they are hatching today! Yay! My question is, she is up in the nesting box, I didn't educate myself on broody hens. We tried to move her once with the eggs to no avail - didn't work. Anyways, chicks have started to hatch, what do we need to do in the way of privacy? I have shut the coop door for now to prevent the other hens and Mr. Roo from going in to bother the new babies. The nesting box is about a foot of the ground too - really poor planning on my part I know. The ultimate plan is to move Momma and her babies as soon as they are all hatched, but what do we do in the meantime? Help me!!!! So exciting!!
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Congrats on your new fuzzy-butts! Take a 1 x 6 board and tack it up along the bottom of that nesting box so the littles don't accidentally fall out...yikes!

    In a few days you will need to move them. Get yourself a separated pen, still in the coop so others can mingle but can't touch, and move your broody mama and the babies to it. Your broody will more than likely NOT be a happy camper but just ignore her and get the job done.

    Would love to see some pics!
     
  3. mrscbass

    mrscbass Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice! I will get a board up now! As for moving them, do I leave them in the coop? Will the other hens and rooster bother them? Should I get chicken wire and lock them all in? Totally at a loss as to how to do this!!!
     
  4. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Sure, leave them in the coop...this way there will be interaction between the two lots and integration will be much easier down the road.

    I don't know how big your coop is, but if you don't already have a sick pen or brooder box already in there you could use a large dog crate I suppose. The main thing is to wire off their little area from the rest of the flock.
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014
  5. mrscbass

    mrscbass Out Of The Brooder

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    Our coop is kinda small, but there will be room to wire off a corner. When do I need to put chick food and water out there? Should I do that right away?
     
  6. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Right when you move them...the mama broody will show them exactly what to do...trust me! You might put marbles in the little waterer so the chicks can't go head-first into it and possibly drown.

    After Thought: This sounds crazy but you are keeping the broody and the chicks together....right? I know, stupid question!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014
  7. mrscbass

    mrscbass Out Of The Brooder

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    We are keeping momma with her babies.
    Here is another dilemma ... like I said, we didn't really educate ourselves. So I am not sure all the chicks will hatch today seeing as eggs were added under up to 3-4 days after the first one. Should we try to move her and babies and unhatched eggs or wait until they are all hatched?
     
  8. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Give it at least 2-3 days past the last egg you put under her...just in case. Then when you do go to move her and her babies, any eggs that didn't hatch...toss out. I can't wait til you post pics of the littles!!
     
  9. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Congratulations on your new babies! It's so much fun watching a mama hen with her chicks. Many experienced chicken keepers will let the hen raise her babies with the flock. If yours don't free range, this could work out for you. The mama will protect her babies from the other hens, and your rooster most likely will, too. I free range my chickens and I have a mama barn cat that prowls around the coops so I usually wait a week or two to integrate. I just feel that it gives the babies a chance to be a bit stronger and faster that way. The advantage of integrating them either immediately or within the first couple of weeks is that they become part of the flock while the mama is still protective of them. If you wait until they're "weaned" (at around 4-6 weeks), the mother won't protect them and they will have to learn the pecking order the hard way. I learned this summer how valuable it is to put them in early when my mama hen was killed, leaving 5 orphaned chicks. They had already been with the flock for a couple of weeks, so they were already accepted members, eating, drinking and sharing the coop with the others without any problems. The nesting box - they'll be fine. Put some extra bedding under it and when they bail out, they'll have a soft landing. Your hen may or may not set for the rest of the eggs to hatch. They often wait 24 hours or so, and then leave the nest.
     
  10. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Hurry up and wait is a human emotion, hens only understand hurry up and do something. You will likely loose the chicks in the last eggs if they're 3 but especially if they're 4 or more days behind the other chicks. Hens by chicken nature are predisposed to only sit on eggs that she laid herself so all chicks will hatch more or less together and the hen can then begin showing her chicks how to make their way in the world. Hens have none of the milk of human kindness that you or I possess nor do hens comprehend why you would expect her to remain on a nest when all her instinct from the days of the Dinosaurs to the present tells her that she needs to be out and about raising her already hatched brood.

    If you force her to stay on the nest too long she will likely become restless and trample the whole litter to death. Only in a totally dark, quite, and cool location will a new hen mama remain still past the 23 or 24th day. And that is still short of the 4 days behind the hatching date of the first chicks. This is the reason that the Egyptians first began artificially incubating chicken eggs. The reason was so they would not be tied to the hens' timetable or predisposition but instead decide when or where they wanted their chicks to hatch, especially if they had more fertile eggs than setting hens available to brood eggs. Trust me, chickens do not see the world through the same lens that you or I do. If the last few eggs mean much to you setup some kind of hatcher to finish the job in case the hen refuses to do it.

    Don't sweat baby chicks taking a header out of a nest box. I have seen probably millions of them take a 3 story leap from the conveyor belt in the incubation room to the sexing, vaccination, and packing floor in a commercial hatchery. If anything it seems to help more than hurt them. I do know that a baby wood duck in the wild seems to survive better if its first life experience is a 40 foot or greater fall from a natural tree cavity to the forest floor, sometimes hitting a dozen or more tree limbs, and tumbling bill over butt all the way down. I know that it is hard for some of you to watch but think of it as natural organic chick birth.[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2014

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