CHICKS ON THE WAY!!!

Wrightjl4

Chirping
Jul 1, 2018
16
33
54
Southwest Virginia
We have a broody mother sitting on 13 eggs that have been fertilized. I've candled one and found that it was full so we have some chicks on the way though I don't know exactly how many. We want to let it happen naturally since we have a sitting hen but is there any tips for me so I can increase their chances of survival? I'm a little worried since winter is coming up but I'm sure mother nature can handle it. Just let me know if there's anything I can do without interfering with nature.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,871
22,062
907
Southeast Louisiana
Just let me know if there's anything I can do without interfering with nature.

Not sure where you are so I don't know how close winter is or how bad it will be in a month. This is another case where putting your general location in your profile could be helpful. Most places it won't be an issue unless it is really severe though. Broody hens can raise chicks and keep them warm with snow on the ground. Providing heat is unnecessary and may interfere with the hen's instincts.

Different people do this in all kinds of different ways. What your facilities look like might help determine which would be best for you. Some people isolate the hen while incubating, while hatching, just after hatch, or all through the time the hen is raising them. I don't do any of that. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with any of that and in some circumstances it may be wise. There are benefits, disadvantages, and risks no matter what you do.

I believe the less I interfere the less harm I do. I have a lot of room inside the coop and outside. I have a climate where my chickens can be outside practically all day every day. If you have a set-up where the chickens spend a lot of time inside the coop or the coop/run are tiny that could change things.

I've seen a hen get her chicks down from a 10 feet high hay loft. My hens regularly hatch in nests three feet off the coop floor. The hens never have a problem getting their chicks to the coop floor. She says jump and they do. One time I had an issue with chicks falling out of the nest. I let a hen hatch in a cat litter bucket where the top was 7-1/2" x 11-1/2" and about 4' high. The first chicks that hatch sometimes like to climb up on Mama's back. Mama was sitting too close to the edge of that nest so when the chicks fell off of her they missed the nest and hit the coop floor. Four different times I had to pick a chick up from the coop floor and put it back in the nest with Mama. Those chicks were not hurt. I retired that nest after that hatch. My other nests are roomy so Mama is not that close to an edge. I've never had another chick fall to the coop floor. I'm telling this story to show when we have different circumstances so we might need to do things differently.

The way I manage hatch is that when the chicks start hatching I put food and water on the coop floor where Mama can take her chicks to it when she brings them off the nest. I let Mama decide when she wants to do that. Some broody hens bring their chicks off the nest within 24 hours of the first chick hatching. Some wait a full 3 days. Mama knows more about what is going on than I do so I let her take care of that.

That's all I do. My coop is a large ground level coop. My broody hens typically keep the chicks inside for two or three days before she takes them outside. Once they go outside they pretty much stay outside every day all day. At night she does not reenter the nest but instead settles down with them on the coop floor. My nest are not at coop floor level. If yours are she might or might not use a nest. If your coop is elevated and has a ramp you might need to do something differently.

I let my hens raise their chicks with the flock. My rooster has never threatened to cause a problem. Sometimes he may help Mama take care of the chicks but usually he just ignores them. Occasionally another chicken (a hen or maybe an immature cockerel or pullet) might threaten a chick. When that happens Mama whips butt, teaching the others to leave her babies alone. Others have had different results. I think having enough room that Mama can keep her babies away from the rest of the flock most of the time helps but sometimes people with a fair amount of room have issues.

Ya the adult chickens would eat the chicks you should also try and keep them away from your broody hen and eggs because sometimes the other chickens will break the eggs.

Not in my experiences but others have seen something like that. I wonder what their circumstances were.

Broody hens have been hatching eggs and raising chicks with the flock ever since there were chickens. They did have plenty of room. You are dealing with living animals so anything can possibly happen, but some things are pretty rare.
 

Wrightjl4

Chirping
Jul 1, 2018
16
33
54
Southwest Virginia
Not sure where you are so I don't know how close winter is or how bad it will be in a month. This is another case where putting your general location in your profile could be helpful. Most places it won't be an issue unless it is really severe though. Broody hens can raise chicks and keep them warm with snow on the ground. Providing heat is unnecessary and may interfere with the hen's instincts.

Different people do this in all kinds of different ways. What your facilities look like might help determine which would be best for you. Some people isolate the hen while incubating, while hatching, just after hatch, or all through the time the hen is raising them. I don't do any of that. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with any of that and in some circumstances it may be wise. There are benefits, disadvantages, and risks no matter what you do.

I believe the less I interfere the less harm I do. I have a lot of room inside the coop and outside. I have a climate where my chickens can be outside practically all day every day. If you have a set-up where the chickens spend a lot of time inside the coop or the coop/run are tiny that could change things.

I've seen a hen get her chicks down from a 10 feet high hay loft. My hens regularly hatch in nests three feet off the coop floor. The hens never have a problem getting their chicks to the coop floor. She says jump and they do. One time I had an issue with chicks falling out of the nest. I let a hen hatch in a cat litter bucket where the top was 7-1/2" x 11-1/2" and about 4' high. The first chicks that hatch sometimes like to climb up on Mama's back. Mama was sitting too close to the edge of that nest so when the chicks fell off of her they missed the nest and hit the coop floor. Four different times I had to pick a chick up from the coop floor and put it back in the nest with Mama. Those chicks were not hurt. I retired that nest after that hatch. My other nests are roomy so Mama is not that close to an edge. I've never had another chick fall to the coop floor. I'm telling this story to show when we have different circumstances so we might need to do things differently.

The way I manage hatch is that when the chicks start hatching I put food and water on the coop floor where Mama can take her chicks to it when she brings them off the nest. I let Mama decide when she wants to do that. Some broody hens bring their chicks off the nest within 24 hours of the first chick hatching. Some wait a full 3 days. Mama knows more about what is going on than I do so I let her take care of that.

That's all I do. My coop is a large ground level coop. My broody hens typically keep the chicks inside for two or three days before she takes them outside. Once they go outside they pretty much stay outside every day all day. At night she does not reenter the nest but instead settles down with them on the coop floor. My nest are not at coop floor level. If yours are she might or might not use a nest. If your coop is elevated and has a ramp you might need to do something differently.

I let my hens raise their chicks with the flock. My rooster has never threatened to cause a problem. Sometimes he may help Mama take care of the chicks but usually he just ignores them. Occasionally another chicken (a hen or maybe an immature cockerel or pullet) might threaten a chick. When that happens Mama whips butt, teaching the others to leave her babies alone. Others have had different results. I think having enough room that Mama can keep her babies away from the rest of the flock most of the time helps but sometimes people with a fair amount of room have issues.



Not in my experiences but others have seen something like that. I wonder what their circumstances were.

Broody hens have been hatching eggs and raising chicks with the flock ever since there were chickens. They did have plenty of room. You are dealing with living animals so anything can possibly happen, but some things are pretty rare.
Thank you for the helpful tips! There are definitely a few things I believe I can do to keep everybody comfortable now. Thank you
 

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