Hatching! Now where do we put them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mtsmylie, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. mtsmylie

    mtsmylie In the Brooder

    Dec 20, 2010
    Pullman, WA
    One of our 1-year-old Plymough Barred Rock hens went broody about a month ago, so we bought some Easter Egger eggs, which she's been sitting on in a broody box I made out of a dog kennel, and then stuck in the garage. Today is day 20, and we found three happy chicks under her last night, and I'm expecting there'll be more when I get home tonight, so we're very excited! [​IMG]

    The question is: Once the other eggs have either hatched or we've given up, what's the best thing to do to the hen and chicks?

    - I don't want to keep them in the broody box, because it's going to get pretty dirty and cramped pretty quick.

    - I'm not sure they're ready to join our six other 1-y-o PBR hens and the 24 PBR pullets/cockerels we hatched three months ago, all of whom free-range all day and sleep in our barn. Although with the mommy there to protect them, I could put the broody box (minus the door) in a corner of the garage, and see how it works.

    - We have a great 6x10 coop we've been keeping the pullets/cockerels in at night, but they're ready to transition to the barn. Could I move the mommy, chicks, and nest into the coop, and let them spend a few weeks/months in there? I like this option best, because there's lots of room, they can hunt and scratch in the grass and dirt, and they can get used to seeing the other chickens around them. Here in Kentucky, it's staying above 70 at night, so will they be OK without a heatlamp as long as they're cuddling with mommy, or should I pull out the heatlamp?

    Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011

  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    Congrats on your fuzzy butts. I would move everyone else to the barn, and put mama and babies in the coop. They wont need a heat lamp, mama will keep them warm. Good luck!
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Broody hens were raising chicks for thousands of years before heat lamps were invented. Mama's heat lamp never looses power. The chicks getting enough heat with Mama around is definitely not a problem. Don't worry about that.

    You do have a few options. You can move them to that area if you want. Your choice. I usually keep a broody and her young penned up for about two days, just long enough for them to get used to eating and drinking. Then I let them loose to free range with the rest of the flock. Mama takes care of security. That way, the chicks are integrated with the flock when Mama weans them.

    People do it different ways successfully. I personally prefer for Mama to do the work.

    Good luck!
  4. mtsmylie

    mtsmylie In the Brooder

    Dec 20, 2010
    Pullman, WA
    Up to five chicks now! Yay!

  5. Keara

    Keara Songster

    Sep 24, 2009
    Do a favor and add some small rocks or marbles to that waterer.... I lost a chick to drowning and I worry you might too.

    Momma hen looks like she is doing great. Chances are she will protect the chicks from the rest of the flock. I would just take the door off the kennel and put the whole thing in the coop, momma, chicks and all!

    Of course do it at night!
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2011

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