hen raising chicks vs. brooder??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Beakz, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Beakz

    Beakz Out Of The Brooder

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    once my broody hen hatches her chicks what next?? should i take the chicks and raise them in a brooder so the hen or other chickens(i have a rooster) dont hurt the chicks, or let her raise them so i dont have to?? does it make a difference since i have to leave out chick feed anyways?? and should i separate her and her chicks from the rest of the flock? thanks!
     
  2. ParadiseHens

    ParadiseHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 16, 2014
    I'm wondering the same thing. How long has your hen been sitting? We are at about a week. I set up a maternity coop in the main coop just in case the flock bothers the chicks. This way they can get used to each other. I am letting my hen sit in the nest she chose and hoping she will hatch them where she chose . I figure if I'm prepared with a spot to relocate if needed then I can move her and chicks when the time calls for it. I read that hens care for their chicks for about 5 weeks.
    Thanks for the conversation. I hope others give us advice.
    Best of luck.
    Aloha
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    The most fun that one can have in a chicken pen, or even better in a free range setting is to sit your (or my bohunkus) down on an overturned 5gal bucket and watch an old mama hen forage for her still fluffy brood of new chickens. A cup of millet, or other small cereal grain to dribble on the ground by the individual grain so that mama hen and her biddies stays near your feet is priceless. The down side of this is that without a lot of forethought or what if thinking you can easily loose a hen and biddies to predators, or a sudden downpour. But if your don't have a type A personality or maybe even if you do, in my book the gains far outweigh the risks..
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I leave mine with the flock whenever possible. If there's enough space, everyone should be fine. No one will mess with the momma hen! As the chicks get older the mature hens will teach them manners, they'll get a peck to the head every once in a while, make a huge fuss and run back to momma. Momma will basically say "what did you expect, you were in her way" and be fine with that. Chick will learn to respect the elder members of the flock and all will be fine. No problems integrating everyone later, and the chicks learn to be good flock members from the start.

    I've never had a bird kill a broody's chick. Only problem I've had was 2 broodies hatch at the same time, the alpha tried to kill the beta's chicks. IME, the rooster is not aggressive to the chicks (I would cull any rooster that attacked chicks), but helps the broody momma maintain peace in the flock and actually babysits sometimes if the chick gets separated from momma.

    I'm with George, watching a momma chick raise her babies should be on everyone's bucket list. You'll learn a lot about raising chicks, flock manners, and just get so much enjoyment from watching them. Plan to cancel your cable, you won't be watching any tv anymore lol!
     
  5. ParadiseHens

    ParadiseHens Out Of The Brooder

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    THANK YOU Donrae! This confirms my intuition. I will now wait and see. What do you think about candling? Is it necessary? Id like to leave her alone as much as possible. I am curious about what you think.
    Mahalo,
    PC
     
  6. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Only once in the last year have I had a hen go broody and hatch out chicks, it was so much fun to go out and watch them.. Momma and babies are so much more fun then worrying about pasty butt, whether they are warm etc... I did have the momma separated during her broody and hatching and for the first couple weeks. Then they were allowed as much freedom as the others with the only exception that they would go back to the grow out pen at night...At 5 weeks I closed off the grow out pen and momma took them into the adult coop with no issues, I did that because I had heard that many times a momma hen will reject the babies after 7-8 weeks and like clockwork at around 7 weeks she started running them off but by then they had there own place within the flock and the coop... There was the occasional pecking to establish dominance but none of the hens or rooster ever hurt them. Much easier and less work than the 17 I raised...couldn't put them with the adults til they were 16 weeks old.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm very hands off with my broodies. I don't candle or mess with the eggs at all. I also don't make momma get off the nest, or otherwise mess with her. I trust nature to take it's course. I have had eggs that don't hatch, but once they hatch haven't lost a chick in a few years now, and last year had a 100% hatch rate from my broodies.

    Caveat--I'm also just hatching backyard mixes, for my own pleasure. If I were hatching expensive or show birds, I might be a little more hands on. Then again, I'm a pretty big believer in survival of the fittest, so I really probably wouldn't.
     
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  8. ParadiseHens

    ParadiseHens Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you. I'm not wanting to move her of interrupt her zen. I am wondering if other hens are laying more eggs in her nest though. I saw one climb in yesterday but she ended up in a neighbor box to lay. I do not se an overflow of eggs coming out from under her. The nest is about a 1ftX1ft so she is cozy. I'm a little concerned about her having too many eggs under her.
     
  9. Chicken Happy

    Chicken Happy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perfect timing for this thread! I let my silkie hen brood her eggs - had to see if my young rooster was doing his job. I candled twice. First time to see if her eggs and a few barnyard mix from the coop were good. Only hers were - thinking the eggs from the coop had froze. The other time was last night. Thought her due date had passed. Nope, got my dates messed-up. All 3 had beaks in the air sac and wiggling! The due date was now. One chick hatched this morning (blue splash), another is currently zipping, and the third I could not tell - just lifted her for a quick peek. Rather excited. The silkie roo and hen share a 5x10 run in the shop and was worried how the roo would do with the chicks. He is acting like a dad to be....no clue what to do with himself.
    Do have a question - toying with the idea of getting some silkie chicks (that are due to hatch tomorrow) and stuffing them under her this weekend. Would this work out?
     
  10. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

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    My Silkies have always been good about taking chicks they didn't hatch. I slip them in at night and check at first light in the morning to make sure all is well.

    Good luck!
     

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