Eggs hatched, now what?


10 Years
Apr 24, 2009
My hen has been faithfuly sitting on a different hens eggs for weeks and last night we got babies. I have not seen then yet because she is still sitting on them. It sounds like at least two.

I am curious as to what happens now. Will she continue to sit on them and will she feed them and give them water? How long until they will be on their own? Anything anyone can tell me would be appreciated. We have only had our hens and rooster since the winter and I never even thought of babies while we were buying them. Also I cannot seem to find anything on the hen raising her young - all on the web is about ME raising them.

Thanks in advance!
First, congratulations
. Well done.

This link might help understand the process a little better. I don't know your specific circumstances and don't get upset that you did not do things exactly like this lady did. I'd imagine your circumstances are quite a bit different so a lot of what she does will not apply. I still think it is great basic information.

As long as you do not have the hen blocked in where she cannot leave the nest, she will stay on the nest until she decides it is time to leave. The chicks can survive for about three days without food and water as they absorb the rest of the yolk just before they hatch. This gives the late hatchers time to enter this world.

Most hens wait until all eggs that are going to hatch complete the process before they leave the nest with their chicks. Some don't however. Unless you have an incubator or another broody, you can't do much about that. Most don't do this, but it can happen.

What you need to do depends on your set-up. If they are totally frree-ranging and you don't provide any food for the other chickens, all you need to do is make sure the chciks can get to water. Some waterers are too high for chicks to get to. If you provide all their needs of food and water, they just need to be able to get to the food and water.

I'd suggest you give the chicks a place to eat and maybe drink that the big chickens cannot get to. 2-1/2" seems to be a good dimension. You can build a crate out of wood slats with openings 2-1/2" wide or take a milk crate and cut openings this size. It might help to give the chicks a place to get away from the other hens also. Mama should protect them but I'm thinking a little later when they are on their own but not fully grown.

Hope this helps. Good luck and again, congratulations.

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