Free Ranged Hatchlings

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by revmichael, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. revmichael

    revmichael Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 3, 2013
    I was given a rooster and hen from a neighbor. Did not think she was old enough to lay just yet until one day i saw her hoing into some bushes. Figured she wanted away from him because he was always mounting her.

    Well i was surprised to see 13 eggs in her nest. I did not have coop ready, and they have free ranged a few weeks, maybe longer.

    Decided instead of trying to move mom and eggs and not have them positioned like she had them, i would let her lay on them under the bushes until they hatch.

    Well a week ago 11 little wonders joined us. The coop is complete. When and how should i move everyone into the coop?

    Mom wont let us too close. We havent been able to handle her at all except at night when id try putting her into a dog crate for the night. I have thick work gloves to use in order to pick her up. Just not sure if i should wait another week or longer before moving them.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Definitely move them somewhere safe.
    I'm surprised they haven't been killed by a predator by now.
    Where do you live?
    You need more than one hen so she won't be overbred and become bald.
    Usually 8-12 hens per rooster is appropriate.
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I’d move them to the coop tonight and leave them locked in there for a couple of days. That should be long enough for the hen to start taking them in the coop at night. If the dog crate is big enough and you make sure there are no openings big enough that the chicks can get out away from Mama’s protection, you could leave them in the dog crate. Or maybe build a temporary pen for the hen and chicks for a couple of days. That way your other chickens can come and go.

    Canoe, many decades ago when I was growing up on a small farm way back in the Appalachian ridges, our chickens totally free ranged. Some slept in a hen house and some slept in trees. That hen house was never locked at night. The hens hatched chicks in the hen house or often hid a nest in really strange places and hatched those. The hens were left alone to raise them. That’s pretty much how all the small farmers in that area handled their chickens. That’s pretty much how small farmers have been handling chickens for thousands of years.

    As far back as I can remember until I left that farm at 18, I can remember two predators that had to be dealt with, a dog and a fox. Only two. We all have different predator pressures and different tolerances. I can’t raise mine that way because too many people drop dogs off out here and I get substantial losses. I don’t want to minimize the threat from predators. Many of us could be wiped out today if we didn’t take precautions. I take predators seriously. But from how I grew up I’m not at all surprised that those chicks have not been killed by a predator. It could happen today, it might not happen for years. But yes, at some point, there will almost certainly be losses.

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