Expecting chicks - questions

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by scoopy82, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. scoopy82

    scoopy82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2010
    Victoria - Australia!
    Hi all,
    I am expecting the eggs my hen has been sitting on to hatch this weekend and i just have a few questions.
    Firstly - I was advised to provide water in a shallow dish so the chicks couldn't drown in it, so I have found a bucket lid which holds water to about an inch deep - is this too deep?
    Secondly - I have chick starter ready and knowing that it is medicated - should i design something so the chicks can eat it but the mumma hen cannot? Or is it okay if she eats some too, she is the only mature chook that will be able to access it. I did think of making a little box to put the chick starter in that the chicks could get into but the hen couldn't, but knowing she will have to show them how to scratch and feed - I just wondered which the best option would be.
    Thanks [​IMG]
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    I don't know tha answer to your questions, but congratulations! I didn't feed my chicks medicated feed, so I don't know if it would hurt the hen or any eggs she may lay. Good luck with your coming hatch!
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The simplest solution to the drowning problem is put some marbles in the waterer. You can buy a bag cheap at the dollar store. I don't know what depth is safe, never had a chick drown.

    Some people put the starter feed in a little box as you describe. I don't like to do this because then mama can't very well teach them what to eat, or encourage them to eat, and I don't want to interfere with that. I just let mama eat what she wants. She won't lay as long as she is mothering anyway, and the amprolium she gets won't hurt her. I make sure she has access to adult food as well; if it is layer, I just put it in a feeeder that hangs high enough the chicks can't reach it. She will feed a little of it to them, anyway, but I just let them do their thing. If chicks eating layer worries you, feed the adults another feed that doesn't have the added calcium, and offer oyster shell in a separate dish, which they need available anyway.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2011
  4. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Quote:Firstly, if you have a commercial waterer for the chicks you can use that or put marbles in the lid to keep them from getting in.

    Secoondly, if you can put the feed so only the chicks can get to it that will be fine, though medicated is not necessary. A basic grower will not hurt the momma if she eats it. Since she will be separate from the rest and won't be laying it's not a big deal.

    Thirdly, watch the mom and see how she does her job. Unless she is hurting the chicks let her be. Just let her do what comes naturally and unless she'll let you don't try to pick up the chicks or you could get hurt. I had one who flew into my face. Most won't though, use caution.

    I have seen momma let the chicks drink from her beak, it's really cool.

    Wish you all the fun of having a broody.

    Rancher [​IMG]
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Feeding the Hen starter feed will cause no harm. It is lacking in calcium, which she needs to lay, but she won't be laying for awhile anyhow.
    The starter feed is high quality and pretty high in protein. The meds in the starter won't likely harm her either, if you really think they will need the meds. She will have to be removed from the starter and its meds for three/four weeks before providing med free eggs for the table. If per chance she would lay an egg, keep it segregated.
  6. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    all good advice here. Don't feed the chicks layer feed as the calcium can cause leg & bone development issues, but the opposite is not true (at least not for a couple of months). The momma can eat the starter.

    As for water - I wouldn't use the lid. Chicks are not ducks & water is not instinctual for them. They can very easily drown. They should have a less than 1 inch opening. that way if they do step in it they dont wade out into the middle & go under.

    This time of year too - its awful cold & you don't want them to get wet & chill.

    The farm store will have chick waterers made of red plastic that use a ball jar as the container. I'd get a couple fo those.
  7. scoopy82

    scoopy82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2010
    Victoria - Australia!
    Thank you all so much for your replies! I'm feeling so super excited and nervous all at the same time!
    I know mumma hen will do what she has to do (hopefully) but I just wanna make sure I have provided everything for her and her new little ones [​IMG]
    I will put the chick starter on another bucket lid so they can all get in and scratch and feed, but will also provide the hen with her regular layer pellets in a feeder higher up. And I will go to the local stock feed store and buy a chick drinker, better safe than sorry - and if they dont have one I will hit the cheap store and buy marbles!
    I love this forum!
    PS> I'm from Australia and we are mid summer - having said that we were flooded for the past 3 days! But still not cold [​IMG] But i dont want soggy chicks!
  8. RareBreedFancier

    RareBreedFancier Surrounded by Broodies

    Nov 5, 2010
    Australia :)
    Hi scoopy82 [​IMG]

    Hope the floods didn't affect you too bad, Mum had to go to Kyneton yesterday and she said there was water everywhere.

    Good luck with your chicks, it's such an exiting time. [​IMG]
  9. midget_farms

    midget_farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    Quote:Glad to hear they wont be cold - hope all is well with the floods. Maybe get ducks??[​IMG]
  10. scoopy82

    scoopy82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 19, 2010
    Victoria - Australia!
    Hahaha - my other half wanted ducks, I should have took advantage of the situation and got him some!
    Our shed was under water by about 2 inches, our driveway was washed away and most of the paddocks were underwater but the house is on stumps so it was fine - and the chooks were in the stables that were also fine (while my horses were out in fetlock deep water [​IMG] ) and compared to QLD it was a mere puddle.
    Rarebreedfancier - my property backs onto the Campaspe River which flooded - thats where all our problems came from, and your mum was spot on about water EVERYWHERE!
    Back to my chicks - i think i can hear some noises coming from under the hen - could it be pipping??? [​IMG]

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