Chicks in the nest...no hen

shelleyd2008

the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
23,381
96
351
Adair Co., KY
I went outside to close up my chickens' tractors. My hen gertrude's brood is in the nest bucket, but mama is no where around. You can imagine my fear, for I had just seen her outside sitting on them in the yard. I started looking around for her, and of course, she has decided to go to roost in the barn with the other chickens.

Will her chicks be okay in the nest by themselves?

It is supposed to be 55 degrees tonight, should I put a light on them?

Or should I wait till it gets darker, and grab her off the roost and put her in the tractor with them?

This is her first brood, so she is still a little green, but she has done very well with them so far. She started out with 13 chicks, and still has them all. They free range all day, with loose dogs in the yard, and hawks flying overhead daily, so this is no small feet.

Oh by the way, the chicks are either 4 or 5 weeks old, I can't remember for sure.
 

Mrs.Puff

Songster
11 Years
Apr 16, 2008
627
3
151
Southern Iowa
One of the moderators of this forum told me earlier this year that momma hen would leave the chicks around 5 weeks. So your momma is doing the right thing. Don't worry about the temp too much. They'll keep each other plenty warm. If they get along well with the other big hens, you could try taking them out of their little brooder house and placing them on the roost with the others after it's dark. They'll generally stay sitting there. Mine did. After about 2 or 3 days they'll go in all by themselves.
Good luck!
 
Last edited:

shelleyd2008

the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
23,381
96
351
Adair Co., KY
Well I did finally go out, or rather, had my dad go out, and get her off the roost to put back with the babies. I don't understand why she did it though. My dad also said that she was probably getting ready to leave them, but she is around them all day, never leaves them on their own, and I had just seen her, about 30 minutes before I noticed they were alone, sitting on them on the ground. Plus she hasn't even started trying to get them to roost. I kind of wondered if they went in the nest because that's what they're used to, or if she was in with them, and then got out, but I would think they would have followed her. The roosts the chickens use are about 9' off the ground (the rafters of the barn), but there is a ladder there to help littler ones get up. I think I'm gonna wait till almost dark, when I see her setting with them somewhere, and 'herd' her and the chicks into the tractor, at least till they learn how to roost. Thanks guys.
 

shelleyd2008

the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
23,381
96
351
Adair Co., KY
Well, I planned on going out early tonight and 'herding' Gertie into the tractor with her chicks. I get outside and hear baby chicks crying. Of course, it isn't even dark yet, and she has left them AGAIN to go roost in the barn. I think she is trying to get them to roost with her, but since they are only 4-5 weeks old, it is impossible for them to fly 9 FEET into the rafters of the barn!!! Silly girl!

I guess since this is her first brood, she is kinda learning as she goes, but wouldn't you think she would come back down when she hears them crying?

Anyway, I tried to 'knock' her off the roost, with no luck. So now she is in the barn, and her chicks are all cuddled up in their nest.

I even put a roost in the tractor so she could show them there!! I don't even think she went in the tractor at all!!
 

lowcountrypoultry

Songster
11 Years
Jan 30, 2008
991
0
149
Beaufort, South Carolina
I'm sorry.

This is kind of like my RIR that hatched out babies.

She parted with them at only four weeks, and did it by leaving them on the ground to go roost.

(She was a bad mom anyways)

I hope the mom rejoins with them
 

shelleyd2008

the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
23,381
96
351
Adair Co., KY
Well, when I left this morning to take my son to the bus stop, she was trying her best to get into the tractor. I came back and went to let them out, and didn't see Gertie anywhere. Those little babies came flying out of that tractor, headed straight for her!! She was hiding behind another tractor, and as soon as they came out, she came clucking!! I guess they'll be all right, so long as it doesn't get too cold. There are 13 chicks, and they have a 5 gallon bucket as a nest, so they can snuggle real good.

She has been a very good mama, up until now. She just has high hopes for her babies I guess!
 

shelleyd2008

the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
23,381
96
351
Adair Co., KY
It is now Tuesday night, and I herded her and her brood into the tractor. I think I may have figured out the problem. The nest that she uses is a 5 gallon bucket. She is a small hen, bigger than a banty, but smaller than a standard. She went to go into the nest, and all 13 of her babies crawled in with her. Once they got in, she got out! I guess it is just too crowded!! So I gave her a bigger nest, and after she figured out that she was not getting back out, she went into the new nest and the chicks followed her. I do think she is trying to quit them, but they haven't been taught to roost yet or anything. But this is her first clutch, and she is an incubator baby herself, so maybe she doesn't know that she is supposed to teach them this?
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom