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Hen hatch- special prep needed?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by CityGirlintheCountry, Dec 8, 2008.

  1. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    So my first broody is set to hatch out chicks this Saturday. I have moved her to a dog crate on the coop floor where she is happily snuggled in on her eggs. There are 7 other chickens in that coop and run with her (3 standard hens and four banties, including a rooster). She's pretty high up the pecking order in that coop.
    What else should I do to get it all ready? Do I need to seperate her from the others? Will the chicks be okay with all the others around? I don't have the door on the kennel. I can add it back on and shut the hen and the chicks inside, I guess.

    The temperatures outside are ranging from the 50s down to the 20s. The coop isn't heated. The other chickens are fine with it. Will the chicks be okay or will I need to bring him inside? I'd rather they stayed with their mama if at all possible.

    Any tips from experienced hatchers?
     
  2. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

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    I would seperate her as the other chickens may kill the chicks. They also may need to be in a warmer place like in your garage. I personally would move her to my laundry room but my chickens are pretty spoiled and that may be over kill. [​IMG]

    Good luck with your chickies [​IMG]
     
  3. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    Well a lot of it depends on your other chickens and how they accept them, I've never had a problem with my other chickens killing/hurting chicks. Mama hens are usually very good at protecting there young (they can be real meany's when someone screws with there babies)

    I find it easier if you don't separate them, if you do someday you will be putting them back in the coop I'm guessing and then everyone has to get use to everyone again, That's a pain.

    If they are just hatched in the coop with the others around everyone gets use to everyone.

    As far as heat goes, If you can I would put a heat lamp out there over mama hen (red bulb) if you don't that's fine, mama will keep babies warm just a nice added thing to help her stay warm also.

    Keep an eye on them when they start hatching to make sure no one hurts them. If you do need to keep them separate from the others I would put the kennel door back on and keep that in the coop so everyone can still see everyone, that way the get use to each other.

    Well, good luck and I hope you post pics !!
     
  4. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Thanks, y'all!
    I will keep an eye on them. Fifi the silkie is pretty tough. The others don't mess with her. Maybe that will bleed over with the chicks. They will eventually have to be back in that coop, so I hesitate to move them out. I'll go ahead and have the inside brooder ready to go should I need to seperate them.

    I will certainly post pics once the babies get here. Most of them will be mutt chickens, so it will be interesting to see what they look like. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  5. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    Quote:Dont think you will need to bring them in, as long as you can put the door back on the kennel they should be fine (if needed) that way you could give mama and babies a week or so in there in till the others have got use to them !!

    How many eggs is she sitting on !!

    I have a very good silkie mama hen (she kicks butt when someone bugs her babies)
     
  6. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    She's sitting on 4 standard eggs and 3 banty eggs. If I guessed right, she's sitting on a golden laced wyandotte x buff orp, a SLW x BO, 2 full buff orps, a couple of mille fleur d'uccles, and possibly a blue silkie x mille fleur mix. Won't that be an interesting one? [​IMG]

    The whole process has been fascinating to watch. I didn't really want any of them broody before spring, but silkies are so determined. She sits on them all day and then runs out first thing in the morning to eat, drink and poop. I peeked in at them this morning and they all looked shiny/wet. I'd wondered about the whole humidity thing. Clearly she's doing something that keeps the humidity up.

    I have heard that silkies are good mamas. Fifi has always been a bit flighty, but she has been very constant and determined since I gave her some eggs. We'll see. It's not the end of the world if I have to bring them in the house. I'd just rather she do the mothering.
    Four days and we'll have something!
     
  7. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    It is so much easier if you let her do it, plus she sat for 21 days to hatch them so it would be nice if she could.

    So cute to see a mama hen raise her babies and teach them how to be "big" chickens. Chicks are more hardy than what we give them credit for !!

    Yes, silkies can be very determand !! And most make great mama hens. Everytime I turn around I have some silkie going broody it seems. Had one hen hatch 2 hatches this year.

    Did you candle the eggs at all ??

    On day 18ish you might notice she's going to start sitting tight on the eggs and might stop getting up for food and water, make sure you keep some close to her. Then when they hatch make sure you keep chick starter and water close for the babies !! Thats why it might not be a bad idea to put the door on the cage for a few days while the chicks hatch, that way she can stay on the rest and not have to worry about chicks wondering and noone can bug her.

    I do block of my hens while hatching (for about 3-5 days) just so noone bugs them. But they can still see what going on, after a few day I let them out and mama shows them around and takes them out. So cute !!
     
  8. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Good idea.
    I forgot about the chick starter, darn it! Good thing I'm off to TSC today. What keeps the grown chickens from eating the chick starter and the chicks from eating the layer pellets? I would assume the pellets are too big for the chicks to eat, but the grown hens are greedy little pigs and I can just see them eventually eating the chick starter.

    I'll add the gate back on and shut it once they start hatching.
     
  9. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    Nothing will keep them from eating each others food !! when mama takes the babies outside they will eat big chicken food, bugs, dirt, scratch and the others will eat the chick food, No harm on anyone !! The chick food will be good for mama hen for a few days to get her engery back up.
     
  10. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    Middle TN
    Whoohoo! Chicken food fight!

    I hit the co-op on the way home and got everything (layer pellets, chick feed and scratch). Big day at the co-op. I'll go out tomorrow and see if I can block off part of the floor space in the coop. I worry that the dog kennel isn't big enough to add in the chick feeder and the little waterer. I'd be afraid that the waterer would spill and get everything all damp.

    I am getting sooooo excited. Baby chicks are so sweet!
     

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