HELP! Hen adopted chicks... but they're not eating/drinking!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LoveChixinCA, Mar 13, 2011.

  1. LoveChixinCA

    LoveChixinCA Hatching

    Mar 13, 2011
    I've been a long time 'searcher' and 'reader' of this site and I have learned so much about chickens thanks to all of you! But now I need HELP!
    I had a broody Delaware hen and after brooding for 29 days I picked up some chicks at my local feed store to give to her. She accepted them gladly (in fact I've never seen her so happy... each chick I put in she clucked at and immediately stuffed under her wing... so cute!!!).
    She has accepted all 5 babies, BUT all the chicks do is sit under her. They don't wander out to eat or drink (the food and water are about 8 inches from where Mom is sitting... it isn't too far a trek!). The ambient temperature is about 48 at night and 65 during the day, so I totally understand they need to stay warm, but the only time they go out to eat and drink are when I pull Mom out. The new family is located in a large dog kennel (about 12 square feet) within my regular chicken coop. They are locked in, mainly to keep the other hens out (they are SOOOO mean!)
    I gave the chicks to Mama Delaware 48 hours ago and at that time they were about 48 hours old, having been shipped to CA from New Mexico.

    The real issue is that come Monday I won't be able to pull Mom out 5 times a day to let the little ones eat.

    I have absolutely NO experience with giving a broody hen babies, so for anyone who has had a mom chicken raise the babies while it's still cold out please let me know if it is normal or not for the babies to not eat much.
    Thanks for any help!
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    I have no idea about this, but I am watching to see what the more experienced people have to say about it...
  3. secuono

    secuono Songster

    May 29, 2010
    My broody hatched 5 chicks, she didn't leave the nest today, brought her a cup with food and she pecked and called her chicks from out from under her and they all ate. Bring the food much closer to her and the water.
  4. nuttyredhead

    nuttyredhead Songster

    May 3, 2010
    Southern NH
    My broody hatched 5 chicks 4 weeks ago. I didn't see them much for the first 2 days, then they were out alot. Mama taught them to eat and drink the 3 rd day. (maybe the 2nd, but i saw them on the 3rd).

    You may need to show them the food and water yourself if it has been 4-5 days.

    Im hoping someone with a little more experience with chime in!
  5. LoveChixinCA

    LoveChixinCA Hatching

    Mar 13, 2011
    Thanks for the tips thus far! I really appreciate the support.

    I moved the food and water closer so now Mom can reach both when sitting in the nest box. I have been 'showing' the babies how to eat and drink since I brought them home (dipping their beaks in water, putting them in the food bowl and scratching around with my finger, etc.) and they 'get it' but won't venture out when Mom's around, despite her eating out of the bowl and clucking at them. Two of the 5 little ones are obviously growing (they're heavier, have wing feathers starting to form) but the other 3 are the exact same size as when I got them at the feed store. All look healthy besides not growing much.

    I'm so worried about the little peepers! I hope they work it all out; if this experiment is successful it'll be the best thing EVER compared to raising them in the house with a heat lamp! Also, I don't think my sweetheart would ever forgive me if I brought chicks into the house again; my 3 cats would, on the other hand, be thrilled.

    Thanks! If anyone has more advice that'd be great!
  6. chick chatter

    chick chatter In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2010
    Maybe you should tempt your mamma chicken with some yummy treats:drool
  7. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    Is the food "going down"? I would assume that they are going out to eat and drink and you aren't seeing them. It only takes a minute!
  8. chick chatter

    chick chatter In the Brooder

    Apr 7, 2010

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