HELP!!! 6 adopted babies under broody

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by towhee360, May 21, 2012.

  1. towhee360

    towhee360 In the Brooder

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    May 7, 2009
    Please, I need some helpful information. I brought home 6 RIR day-olds and placed them under a broody hen in a nest box about 2 1/2 feet above the floor. This was on Friday, today is Monday. The mamma accepted the babies readily and she and babies have stayed in the nest box all this time. I'm concerned that the babies are not getting much exercise AND I became concerned about no access to food and water so I placed a small container of each in the nest box. Here-in is the dilemma! I don't know if they will ever come out of the box. Should I remove the food and water? Or, should I move mother and babies and place them in an isolated cage? If so, what size cage is large enough? She is very protective and won't let the other hens near the opening to the nest box, but something just doesn't seem right about them being so isolated in such a small space. The nest box is about 1' by 3'.
     
  2. mondotomhead

    mondotomhead Songster

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    I felt the exact same way as you when I put day olds under a broody. They didn't come out for 3 days and I was worried the chicks would die from hunger. I did put water and chick food close to the nest and after 3 days or so everyone came out.

    I'm worried about your nest being to high up. My mother hen returned at night to the same nest. Your mother hen (I think) would return to her nest too. How would the babies reach their mother? I had a chick die from the cold because it couldn't navigate over a 5" frontage to the nest box. I had to take it off so the chicks could get in.
     
  3. towhee360

    towhee360 In the Brooder

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    We do have a ramp that runs between the nest box and the ground, but I don't know if they will be able to figure that out and navigate it. The food and water are right there in the nest box; I don't think that is a good idea. The poop situation could get pretty messy in such a small space if they stay in there much longer. I just didn't think far enough ahead and I also thought the mom would be wanting to get out of that box after having been in there for weeks on end before getting the babies. I think I may try moving them to a larger space and have heard it's best to do it at night, but that will rattle ALL the girls with so much commotion going on. It probably sounds strange to some people, but I worry about the hen and the babies almost as if they were my kids! LOL!
     
  4. mondotomhead

    mondotomhead Songster

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    I find it absolutely amazing that you can do anything to a chicken in the dark. Its like they are totally frozen. You might hear a few clucks but they will not fly down or move from their places.....AT ALL!

    I don't think Mom chicken is thinking about the poop[​IMG] She just feels safe in her nest but I would move her because of that ramp. If anyone gets left behind its the cold that will kill them. Once she comes out of the nest with the chicks during the day she will not return until night. This move doesn't have to be forever, maybe about 2 weeks until the chicks become a little smarter[​IMG]

    And no, I don't think you're strange to worry about the hen and babies. I took off 2 work days because I was worried too!
     
  5. towhee360

    towhee360 In the Brooder

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    Mondotomhead~ Thank you for the encouragement. I went out and roughly constructed a little space for them (about 3' X 6') underneath the coop perches and protected from any overhead droppings. The only material I had available was some garden lattice. My only concern is the lattice has holes big enough to where the babies can squeeze through, but hopefully the little ones will desire to stay near Mom and won't wander out, or if they do will have the brains to go back to her. What do you think? I am planning to move them tonight and hopefully all goes well.
     
  6. towhee360

    towhee360 In the Brooder

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    Mondotomhead~

    Well, I spent most of yesterday afternoon slapping together an enclosure for the mom and babies. I was all set to go out in the dark of night and slip them into their new space. Late afternoon I went out to gather eggs and found mom out of the nest box and on the floor of the coop! No babies in the box, no babies wandering around, so figured they must be under her. Sure enough! The best I can figure is that she led them all down the ramp! I picked her up and placed her in the new enclosure ---- she came flying out in a dither!!!! So slowly getting educated here, I figured out that she will go where the babies go and quickly gathered up 3 babies in each hand, placing them in their new space. Momma couldn't get inside fast enough! Nice! I got to spend the evening indoors and NOT trudging out to the chicken house in the dark, in the rain to make the transfer. It all worked out well!
     
  7. mondotomhead

    mondotomhead Songster

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    Oh, I'm so sorry I didn't read this yesterday [​IMG]

    I saw no problem with my chicks going OUT since they'd fall out if nothing else. It was the getting back IN that was the problem. The chicks wanted to go in but couldn't fly high enough. This only happened at the very beginning when they were so young. It was horrible finding those 2 babies dead because I didn't realize they couldn't get back in. I didn't want that to happen to you too.

    Did your chicks peek out of the Mom's feathers when you looked under her? They do that and they look so cute. Also, they tend to jump onto the back of their Mom too[​IMG]

    I'm happy you didn't have to trudge out in the dark and rain. Been there and done that!
     
  8. towhee360

    towhee360 In the Brooder

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    Yes, I've seen them peeking out and they are so cute! One of the grandsons (age 4) saw one of them peeking and he couldn't run fast enough to tell his mom what he had just seen!
     
  9. mondotomhead

    mondotomhead Songster

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    Just wait for his reaction when he sees them following the Mom hen! ( And this is how we get more chicken converts, we start them young [​IMG])
     

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