Help! Mother hen has died


May 9, 2015
My mother hen was killed by a fox last night and apart from being inconsolable, she has two baby's that i now need to care for.
One was born on the 14/4 and the other on the 25/4, she was a fantastic mum and looked after them beautifully which means that I have not had to do anything, obviously i have scoured the internet for advice but it would be great to hear from some real people what to do next.
I have cared for wild bird's before and understand that chicks need chick crumbs, heat etc but do they need a heat lamp at this age?
They are in a small pet carrier with a teddy to snuggle up to, they are eating on their own and drinking.
Any help wopuld be soooo appreciated! Thank you


5 Years
Jan 6, 2015
Morgantown, WV
There are a lot of really knowledgable people on here so I'm hoping they chime in with useful information. I'm new to chicken keeping, and especially with peeps. But I wanted to tell you that I'm so sorry that you lost your Momma hen.


8 Years
Apr 7, 2013
Northern California
Welcome! So sorry that a sadness brings you to BYC. As long as you have them in a safe place/brooder with a heat source and no drafts, they will be fine. A large plastic storage bin would work for a few weeks but then they will need more space. The link TwoCrows provided is great. There are lots of other articles in the "Learning Center" as well. Just make sure you have a thermometer in the brooder area and check the temperature regularly. Given that they are a few weeks old, the "hot spot" should be about 85-90 degrees for the next week and then you begin to decrease the temperature. And make sure they have enough space to get away from the heat if they need to.

Do you have other adults? If so, you will need to keep the little ones safe from them until they are feathered and old enough to not be harmed - but that would be a few months from now. Look for "integrating chicks into flock" for strategies.

Good luck. Other than making a bit of extra work for you, everything will work out!
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12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
You might think about trying the heating pad method for heating chicks. It more closely mimics what your chicks have been used to - getting under a warm hen when they feel the need to warm up. That thread can be found here on this forum or search "mama heating pad in the brooder".

Basically, it's a frame with a heating pad draped over it. Some people have used a hocky helmet, others, a tomato cage squashed to an oval shape. The idea is to create a cave for the chicks to both warm up and to hide in. The details are on that thread.

This way, all you would need to do is temporarily fence off a little safe area in your coop, or even the run, if it's covered and protected from air predators, and plug in the heating pad over a frame of some kind. Chicks eat chick crumbles, but you may have already been feeding them that. Provide water and you're done.

Their requirements are few, mainly heat and protection from harm.

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