First Time Broody Hen Hatch -- Help and Tips Wanted

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by LovelyBantam, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. LovelyBantam

    LovelyBantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2012
    My Booted Bantam has gone broody. This is the first time one of my chickens have gone broody, and my first broody hatch (although I have hatched from an incubator before.) I'm highly excited, yet I'm not as informed as with the incubator since this was a huge surprise. I was wondering if anyone would be as nice as to give a newbie, some helps, tips, and answers! Do I need to separate the hen and/or chicks? What is expected of me?

    Thanks in advance! :)
     
  2. You should keep her in a seperate area for incubation.
    Is she very high on the pecking order? If she's low, other hens might try to kill the chicks, but if she's high on the pecking order she will usually be able to defend the chicks fine.
    She should be fed non medicated chick food/all purpose flock feed during incubation, and can feed the same thing to the chicks (we don't feed medicated and our chicks turn out alright :) ) or feed medicated. The hens will usually scratch at the food and teach the chicks to eat.
    You should offer a BIG bowl of water (3-4" high) for the hen, and a chick waterer for the chicks (the high water is so the chicks can't drown in it)

    Just so ya know, some moms are notorious for ditching broodyness after the chicks hatch, so keep on eye on her behavior for the first few hours after hatching.
    If you want to do a double broody to prevent this (we had a cochin who would ALWAYS ditch the chicks after hatching, but this time a Serema went broody too and she's now a loving mom) you can leave her in the general population for up to 2 weeks (she shouldn't be broody for longer then 6 weeks since it causes stress on the body, but some will stay broody until the end of time) and usually that's long enough to get another girl to go.
    You should provide some sort of box (dog kennel, shipping box, etc) that will keep the nest dry and cool. If she doesn't get off the nest daily you should kick her off so that she won't poop on the eggs, drink, eat, etc.
    clean out the nest if it gets dirty.

    You'll be amazed how advanced broody chicks are :)


    ETA;;
    Even if she's low on the pecking order, some moms will prove themselves and kill protecting their young (our 2 banties lunge for the throat of anything that might hurt their babies, lol
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
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  3. LovelyBantam

    LovelyBantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She's very flighty, so that makes me a little worried. However, the entire flock are bantams, and she isn't outweighed or outsized. Yet I'm supossed to separate her from the flock after two weeks? When can her and the chicks go back? I feed them layer crumbles and Oyster shell, and they get have access to grit. So, the non-medicated chick feed is fed to the mother? I'm a little confused at that one point: is that mixed with the normal food, or simply just that?
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2013
  4. She's a full sized hen in a flock of banties?
    And you can remove her immediately, just if you leave her for 2 weeks she'll get other hens to go broody.
    When her chicks are walking and fluffy you can put her back.
    And you don't add the layer food to her feed, but if your feeding them all flock purpose feed then you can just feed her that. The chicks can also eat that, or chick food.
    I'm always nervous about feeding the medicated chick food to hens who don't have chicks because it just seems like the meds could cause harm for 3 weeks then however long she has the chicks. But you can feed her medicated food.
    The layer food will cause kindney damage to chicks or non laying birds.
     
  5. LovelyBantam

    LovelyBantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 21, 2012
    Oh, no, she's a bantam. It's just the rest of the flock are bantams as well, so I was meaning there wasn't a normal sized hen that could come and wreck havoc. My entire flock are layers, so I always gave them layer crumbles and oyster shell. Is this not correct? What will happen if I don't separate her? A chance the birds may be killed?
     
  6. Ah I see
    If you don't seperate her, the chicks could die. The laying birds could kick her off the nest, add their own eggs (easily able avoided if you mark the incubating eggs), the eggs could break, chill, etc.
    you can feed the laying flock your current diet, but any hen that's not laying or not close to laying would get kidney damage from the extra calcium.
     
  7. LovelyBantam

    LovelyBantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Okay, the hens are young and in their egg-laying prime, so that's not a problem. I have marked the eggs so far. What would be the most suitable shelter to separate her in? I believe I have a large dog kennel.
     

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