Chicks being raised by Mom

chickschool

Songster
8 Years
Mar 5, 2011
460
4
111
Traverse City, MI
So I have 4 three week old chicks being raised by two surrogate Silkies and I was wondering two things.


1) How is that when we bring home chicks we have to keep them in a brooder at specific temps but the momma's had them out walking around in 40 degree weather at two days old?

2) What food should I be offering them. Do I put starter feed back in there for the babies and hens to eat or can they all eat layer food or both?

I know for many this probably seems like a no brainer but this is my first time having the hen doing the raising. If there is anyone out there who hasn't done it...I highly recommend it. It has been so awesome to watch them teach the chicks and my favorite part is watching their little heads peek out from under the hens wings.
 

Wildflower_VA

Songster
8 Years
Apr 2, 2011
738
7
111
Raphine VA, Augusta County
1. Chicks raised by a broody are tougher than brooder raised chicks. Plus, any time they get cold, they pop under mom and get warmed back up.

2. You should offer them chick starter. The mama can use the extra protein for the nutrition she misses by staying on the nest with the chicks. Layer feed will hurt the chicks, and the hen won't be laying for at least another month, maybe longer, so she does not need the calcium, either.
 

chickschool

Songster
8 Years
Mar 5, 2011
460
4
111
Traverse City, MI
Thank you that helps a lot. I can't believe it didn't dawn on me until yesterday. Will the hens begin laying again even with the chicks around? I have had them in a separate coop and pen so when can they all go back together? I have a very small flock of only one other 14 week old hen and two 12 week old ducks. Their pen is roughly 10x20 with a coop of 4x8 so I'm hoping that will give everyone enough room to get reacquainted.

Any thoughts?
 

Fritatta

Chirping
8 Years
May 16, 2011
219
1
79
Woodstock, GA
I let my broody decide when to introduce her brood, and she was great. she kept them close and secluded for about 2 weeks, then it was time to go out!

She walks them around, usually 20 feet or so away from the others. she puffs up like a balloon if anyone looks at one of her babies.

Most will not lay until she abandons the chicks. You can give the chicks medicated starter feed, but the adults (especially layers) should not have medicated. I go with unmedicated and let mom and brood eat the same thing.
 

chickschool

Songster
8 Years
Mar 5, 2011
460
4
111
Traverse City, MI
Thank you that helps a lot. So do you think I should bring her pen and coop next to the existing coop then see when it looks like she wants to join them?
 

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