Hatching eggs with new broody & established small flock - Do's & Don'ts?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SportChick, Aug 13, 2013.

  1. SportChick

    SportChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2010
    Louisiana
    I have a small flock of 5 hens which we hatched in an incubator. My Black Copper Maran has gone broody which is the first time this has happened for us. All my hens are about 3 years old. We put 8 eggs under her. 1 disappeared and 1 got broken so we've got 6 left. They have been under her for 10 days so I only have 11 more days to figure all this out!

    I have several questions.

    1) The nesting box is in the coop which is raised up 3 feet off the ground. It's enclosed except for door leading to the bridge down to the ground. The hen is not willing to move at all (we tried to move her somewhere more convenient before we gave her the fertilized eggs). I know the chicks can't really stay in the upper coop but when do I move them? The coop has a door so when they are hatching I can close it up for the night so that won't fall out but I'm worried about the bridge.

    2) When the chicks hatch, do I pull them out from under her right after they hatch and move them into a temporary brooder and then give them back when they've all hatched? Or do I let her do the whole thing herself and risk the new mother squishing chicks thing? I wasn't really planning to stay up all night with her while they were hatching.

    3) Do I have to separate the momma and chicks from the other 4 hens (Barred Rocks) more than just at night? I really want the momma hen to raise the chicks and was hoping she would be able to handle the other 4 hens and make the introductions for us. The chicken yard is pretty big (25 x 25 feet approximately) and there is a completely enclosed pen that is approx 4 x 12 feet. The coop (egg boxes and roosting area) is inside the pen at one end and is elevated. I guess I could keep the hens contained in the pen if I had to but I'd prefer to let them roam around the whole yard.

    4) Will the mother hen sleep on the ground or in a rabbit cage with her chicks and if so will she stay with them until they can all make the upper coop their usual nighttime spot?

    Thanks for your help!

    .[​IMG]
     
  2. Whittni

    Whittni Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 26, 2011
    Southern Utah
    1) The chicks are not safe off of the ground. You'll want to move mama and the chicks to a cage where the babies can't get out of the bars.

    2) I let the mama's sit the whole time on their chicks. The moms usually have a lot of room in the boxes when I let them hatch chicks so the chicks can move.

    3) Yes, separate them from the other chickens until the chicks are at least a couple weeks old. That way the chicks can get away from the big ones if mom isn't there and you can make sure the chicks eat chick starter and not layer pellets.

    4) Mama hen will stick with her babies where ever they are, once they hatch.
     
  3. SportChick

    SportChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2010
    Louisiana
    I can take one of the dividers out of the egg box, which is acting as a nesting box now, and that will increase the size significantly. As soon as they hatch I will move them out of the coop somewhere a little safer.
     

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