Eggs will hatch soon, but what do I do next?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by justanotherfarmgirl, Feb 28, 2009.

  1. justanotherfarmgirl

    justanotherfarmgirl New Egg

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    Feb 28, 2009
    I'm not sure how I get myself into these things, but we allowed a broody hen to settle onto a little clutch of eggs in our coop. We're new to keeping chickens; we just started in June 2008. We have one rooster and a dozen hens in a mostly unheated coop in an unused garage next to the house. It's a bale house, really, inside a concrete structure, so quite protected from wind. To protect our broody hen from her girlfriends (who liked to stack on top of her and lay their own eggs into her nest), we built a horizontal covered platform next to her nest, and provided her with her own food and water - and occasional supervised excursions out with the rest of the flock. Mum-to-be won't let us near her eggs, though I've been able to sneak a few for some rudimentary candling, and at least two of the six have advanced development. We're coming up to 3 weeks now.
    So what do I do next? I know that if I had hatched them in an incubator, I'd be needing heat lamps and some medicated chick feed. But they're with mum, so what will they need when they're with her? I think we should remove the barley straw from her covered platform, and replace it with pine shavings or something the chicks won't get lost in... is that right? I think our mesh is fine enough that we won't have peeps falling through. This structure is right in the middle of the coop - elevated about 4 feet, projecting out from mum's chosen nesting spot.
    My 9-year-old daughter is very excited about the prospect of a wee one or two (which is really all we're expecting). But I don't want the little things to freeze. We're in southern Ontario, and expecting at least another month of very cold weather.
    Any advice on whether they'll need supplemental heating, or what chick feed and water arrangements we should make? We could conceivably move mum and peeps - in their platform arrangement - into the basement, if necessary. Advice most welcome... I found one broken egg - but no peep - today (is that normal?). We're expecting hatching in the next 2 - 3 days, so I'm starting to panic a little.
     
  2. LilRalphieRoosmama

    LilRalphieRoosmama Officially Quacked

    Oct 15, 2007
    Elyria, OH
    [​IMG] !! I'm in the exact same boat you are! I'm hatching under a broody for the first time and I'm expecting them to hatch any day now. Mine just sort of happened; she's still in the coop and there's a bunch of eggs in there. I did candle last week and some are further along than others so I'm panicking too. I think I will move any chicks into a brooder in the house and leave her to set on the others. There's a big thread going under incubating and hatching eggs about our broody situations - check that out. Many recommend leaving the babies with mama even in this cold but I can't because my boxes are elevated. Good luck!!
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
  4. Catalina

    Catalina Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 19, 2007
    Minnesota

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