Hen raising chicks - how should they be housed?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by McGoo, Jan 4, 2008.

  1. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    I'm new at this and putting a plan in place to raise a couple of chicks via the natural method - mother hen.

    When do you separate the mother hen from the rest of the chickens? Before or after the babies have hatched?

    Is there a book or eplace that gives the best set up for little chicks. I've got another coop that I could use, but it's got a ramp to get into it. Is that okay? Both of my coops have ramps...not sure if the babies are capable of getting up the ramps or can easily fall down the ramps.

    Thanks for your support. [​IMG] [​IMG]
  2. FarmerDenise

    FarmerDenise Songster

    Apr 21, 2007
    Sonoma County
    I prefer to let a mama hen raise the chicks. If you have a hen that will be a good mother, it is fun to watch. We keep the hen and chicks in a small cage in the back porch, where we can keep them warm and safe from rats and other dangers. On nice days we let them out in a small covered enclosure for a few hours.
    Once the weather got warmer and we knew we had two good mama hens, we let them raise a batch of chicks with the other hens. I placed the nestbox low, so the little chicks could get in and out easily. We also checked on them frequently to make sure everything was ok.
    The mama hens protected the little chicks from the other hens. We did loose a couple of chicks to predators though.
    Our silkie mama starts to chase the chicks off when they are around 15 weeks old. Our phoenix mama was more casual in general, but never really sent the babies packing. As a matter of fact, she took over protecting the chicks that the silkie hen rejected. They all integrated easily.
  3. McGoo

    McGoo Songster

    So what I'm hearing is that if I have a broody hen in the springtime, and as long as the nesting box is low, they should be alright. I've got a small coop with nesting boxes at floor level, but the darn coop is raised. Guess I'll have to cut the boards down a bit so the ramp isn't too much for the little guys.

    then I'll set up a 1/2 wire mesh bubble for them so that the hawks don't think I'm supplying their snacks.

    this is so helpful - thank you. I'm getting excited already. And now I have to wait for early spring and see which gal goes broody.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] babies will be so much fun. Hope I don't get any roos. I can't have anymore and I'll need to give him away.

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