Hen Raising chics questions...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HELPPLS, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. HELPPLS

    HELPPLS Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2014
    I just put some eggs under a broody hen. She has been broody for a week and a half but I just got my hands on fertilized eggs. We do not have a roo. IF they hatch by some chance, how do I keep the babies from eating the layer food? I have read that it is ok to keep the mama and babies with the flock. We have 6 hens total. They free range during the day but we have a gate up with a ladder over it so they can get out but the dogs can't get in to eat all of their food. Their food is always available. Should we just separate her before they hatch? I don't really trust my dogs with the babies but I can't guarantee she won't jump out and leave them cold and alone. I work so I can't be here to constantly watch. I have found a lot of answers to my ?s except for how to keep the babies from eating layer food and only eat chic food and should I just separate them early on? Sorry this is so long. Thanks for any advice.
     
  2. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Give both the Mom and the chicks the chick food and keep their food separate from the rest of the flock. It's higher protein, which the mom will need, and doesn't have any calcium. Mom won't go back to laying for a while so it's okay that she not have calcium in her feed. You can offer her separate oyster shell and she'll take it should she need it.

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Petting Buffy Like a Dog
    For the first week,the babies won't eat,and do not have feathers to fly out of the nest.My question to is,why don't you want them eating it?

    I do suggest on separating them from the dogs.
     
  4. BonRae67

    BonRae67 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would seperate them from the flock. First as a new mom she may hurt the babies trying to protect them. Second it would solve the eating egg layer concern. Third you won't have to worry about her leaving for an extended walk and not keep them warm. Hope this helps.
     
  5. LoveThemBirds

    LoveThemBirds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Petting Buffy Like a Dog
    Regardless,even if she was to take them inside,the mom could still not sit.on the chicks.Just saying!;)(
     
  6. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You don't want chicks eating layer feed as true layer feed - designed for laying hens - contains extra calcium for egg shell formation. Calcium can be bad for chicks and even for Roo's who obviously don't need it. The broody hen doesn't need calcium while she's brooding as she's not laying eggs. That's why I just switch the broody over to chick feed the minute she quits laying and don't put her back on layer feed until she's done with the chicks.
     
  7. HELPPLS

    HELPPLS Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you all for your responses. I do understand that the babies can't have layer feed. I just don't know how people keep them from eating it when they keep the hen and her chics with the rest of the flock. I read that it is best to keep them with the flock but I don't see how that works. She is a black austrolorp and is a pretty large hen. I read that they will protect their babies from the other hens. Before she went broody she was the top chicken. I'm just new to this and have no idea what is the best way to do it. We plan to buy some chics around the same time these are supposed to hatch. We would have to put the new ones in with her and her babies too or take her babies away. We only have one other place to keep them. They actually aren't really her eggs but she doesn't know that. Does a hen even care if you just take her babies away? Sorry for so many ?s. Thank you soooooo much for the advice. I bought an incubator and got so frustrated with it that I boxed it back up and stuck all of the eggs under her instead of half and half like I planned. I hope 15 eggs isn't too many. :)
     
  8. Mtn Laurel

    Mtn Laurel Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2012
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    The easiest way to end concerns about the chicks getting layer feed is to not feed the rest of the flock layer feed. Feed everyone a general purpose feed with the same protein as the layer feed, just without the added calcium. Offer oyster shell and crushed egg shells on the side. The hens that are laying will eat the oyster shell as their body requires it. The broody hen and the chicks will leave it alone.

    The chicks will mostly go for the chick feed as it's a small crumble and easier for them to eat. If they get into the regular feed, no big concern when it doesn't have the extra calcium.

    She will protect the chicks from the other hens. They have their own communication system which is great fun to watch and she lets the hens know that the chicks are off limits! I have limited experience as I used a broody last year for the first time [will be doing it again shortly, though!] but my hen missed her chick when I gave it away. Only one hatched and it was a rooster so had to get rid of it. When he began to crow I found him another home. Even though he was grown, she moped a long time and even quit laying for 3 weeks after he left! I hope your hen will accept the additional chicks as part of her brood so she can keep her chicks. Plus, it's just soooo much easier to let Momma do it!
     
  9. HELPPLS

    HELPPLS Out Of The Brooder

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    Now that sounds like a great plan. If I am very lucky plenty of them will hatch. I don't even know what kinds they are, which is exciting to me. If not maybe I can go buy some more and them slide them under her at the same time? I don't know yet. I just know I don't have the kind of patience the incubator requires and this is a fun experiment. Thank you for your advice. The hen feeder is hanging and the babies wouldn't be able to reach it but they would the stuff on the ground so I will just put them all on chic food for a while like you said. They will all have to be kept in their coop/run or a tractor probably through the summer. We have some things that will be getting started and even the dogs will have to be put in a smaller area while we aren't home until everything is completed around here. I hope that doesn't make for some aggressiveness. My girls are used to free ranging. Its going to be interesting. Thank you thank you for helping me with a solution. Thank you to everyone for your help.
     

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