Hen raising chicks?

bbchickies

In the Brooder
6 Years
Apr 16, 2013
89
3
41
Im pretty new, but i would say to (1) put the brooder near the coop (2) bring the hen in everyday to see her babies. hope this helps!
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P-Funk

Songster
9 Years
Feb 20, 2011
1,082
21
196
Franktown
If she hatches them she will protect them with her life, even if they aren't her eggs. She will even turn on you if you mess with her babies. She will show them food and water and keep them under her wings if they get cold. That's the beauty of a broody. So much easier than raising them yourself. Mine have a separate coop in a coop where mommy and babies can see what's going on out there.

That's the cutest little baby, BTW
 
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debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,925
516
middle TN
Can she just raise them?
Of course she can!

You need to be aware of a couple of things. First, she might not be a great mom. That's a risk with an unproven hen but problems are rare. Second, other hens might not welcome her brood. If she's high-ranking in the order, that improves the chances that she'll do fine defending them. Some folks will take the sitting hen and her eggs and move them to a separate location. Not everyone does, though. Third, chicks shouldn't eat layer feed. The whole flock can eat grower feed if you provide a calcium supplement. It can be as simple as a cup that you keep full of oyster shell attached to the wall. If you separate the hen with her brood, she doesn't need the calcium since she isn't laying while sitting or raising chicks. You can simply give hen and chicks chick feed. HTH!

Oh, and you can skip the heat. She'll keep them plenty warm.
 
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UnlabeledMama

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 9, 2012
270
9
93
Western North Carolina
Of course she can!

You need to be aware of a couple of things. First, she might not be a great mom. That's a risk with an unproven hen but problems are rare. Second, other hens might not welcome her brood. If she's high-ranking in the order, that improves the chances that she'll do fine defending them. Some folks will take the sitting hen and her eggs and move them to a separate location. Not everyone does, though. Third, chicks shouldn't eat layer feed. The whole flock can eat grower feed if you provide a calcium supplement. It can be as simple as a cup that you keep full of oyster shell attached to the wall. If you separate the hen with her brood, she doesn't need the calcium since she isn't laying while sitting or raising chicks. You can simply give hen and chicks chick feed. HTH!

Oh, and you can skip the heat. She'll keep them plenty warm.

Thank you! I was thinking about putting her in the chicken tractor when her chicks were born. Do you think that would work? I don't have a rooster right now, but I have someone local selling fertile barnyard mix eggs for $4 a dozen. Not a bad price to experiment.
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,925
516
middle TN
Sounds like a plan. If you will be leaving her in place until the eggs hatch, mark the eggs she's incubating so you'll know which are which and can remove any extras if your other hens add to her clutch (pencil all the way around so you can see the marks whichever way she turns them).
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,616
24,662
927
Southeast Louisiana
I do a few things a bit differently, we all have our own little quirks and ways of doing things, but I agree with everything Debid said. Hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. They are not extinct yet.

As long as the wire and openings on the tractor are small enough the chicks can’t get through and away from Mama’s protection, that will work fine. I usually do that when a broody hatches for a couple of days, just long enough for the chicks to learn to eat and drink without interference from the older hens, then I just let them loose to roam with the flock. But Dad never did anything like that when I was growing up. The extent of what he did when a broody hatched was to stay out of her way until she brought them off the nest, then he’d clean the nest up to get it ready for the other hens to lay. The broody did everything else. Dad never provided any food or water, but the hen had the whole farm as resources.

It does depend on your set-up. If you have unlimited forage, the hen will take care of them. If you have to provide some food and water for them, it’s beneficial to have some low where the chicks can get to it. But don’t be surprised when chicks a week or two old fly up top your raised feeders and walk around inside them if you have that type.

Good luck with it. Sounds like you will do fine.
 

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