hen raising chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jwchicklady, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. jwchicklady

    jwchicklady Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Howell, MI
    I am letting my broody hen set on some eggs and am new to chickens this year so I have some questions. Can I leave her in the coop with the flock or will they kill the chicks when they hatch? She is in a nest box that the other chickens don't use. What do I do once they hatch? just let the hen take care of them in the coop? do I feed them chick starter and how do I feed them separately from the rest of the flock? thanks for any information you can give me.
     
  2. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    Michigan
    Alot of people on BYC say to leave mom in the coop; she will protect them. I had two newly hatched chicks devoured by my flock. [​IMG] I recommend putting momma hen in a separate room or a large dog crate. If you use a crate, make sure the chicks cannot escape!
     
  3. Countrywife

    Countrywife Corrupted by a Redneck

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    Aug 20, 2009
    Carolina
    I am fortunate to have a seperate hen house. I let mom stay there with the new chicks and take them out when she is ready. All of mine free range, so mom introduces them to the flock when she is ready, and they seem to respect that. I found the mom and babies in the big hen house yesterday eating, and last night was really cold. so I put mom and babies in the big house. When I went to bed the girls were roosting, but mom was in a corner nest boxes with the little ones. I did not see them this morning, hubby was off and went to check- but I think a bit a seperation, but then the ability for Mom to introduce when she is ready.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Here is a thread on the topic. I'll admit it sort of favors my viewpoint, but it does show different sides to the issue.

    Raise with flock? thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=215937&p=1

    I think a big part of this is how much room you have. If mama has enough room to work, she can usually do a good job of protecting her babies. If space is tight, her job is harder. Sometimes mama is a wimp and will not protect her babies. Sometimes mama will even kill her own chicks. They are living animals and it is impossible to guarantee how they will react.

    One thing is certain. They need mama to protect them if they are with the flock. I remember a fairly recent post where someone had the hen and chicks in a separate pen but next to the flock. Two of the chicks got through the fence and mingled with the flock without mama to protect them. The flock killed them. To me, this incident has no bearing on whether to let mama raise them with the flock or not, but it does clearly show there are risks both ways.

    There are a couple of ways you can feed them chicken starter if you raise them with the flock. One, you can feed all the chickens the starter and, when appropriate, grower. You just offer oyster shell free choice to the flock and the laying hens should be OK. Or you can have a shelter where the chicks can get to the chick starter but the grown hens cannot. If you keep mama and the babies locked in this restricted safe haven for a few hours, the chicks will learn where the food is. They may still prefer the layer the big girls are eating, so this is not a fool proof method.

    Good luck whichever way you decide.
     

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