hens hatching, let them keep the chicks or get my brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Tawodi, Mar 28, 2011.

  1. Tawodi

    Tawodi Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2010
    southern AZ
    new to the chicken world. I was going to get 4 or 5 initially, built a coop and set up a big run, but long story short, I have around 35 [​IMG] I got them around 2 months ago, they range between 5 months old and a year and a half.

    2 of my girls started sitting eggs, so i let them. i am now about 5 days away from the first hatch, 15 days from the second. i am concerned about the chicks getting picked on by the adults and the one guinea hen.

    i was originally going to let the mamas raise them, in extra large wire kennels, with a small aircraft kennel in each to sleep in. the kennels would be outside, it gets down in the 40s at night.

    yesterday was the first day my girls got up and i got to count the eggs they are sitting. i was expecting around 6-8 total, they are on 28!

    now i am leaning towards getting a 2x2x6 galvanized tank with a heat lamp, after they hatch put them in there. what would you do? I dont expect all 28 to hatch, but what if half do? what is the average hatch size ratio?

  2. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    Last year, my hen hatched 3 out of 4. She raised those chicks outside. we had temps in the 40's. No losses until Mr. Racoon attacked! The surviving chick is my best laying hen right now!
  3. Tawodi

    Tawodi Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2010
    southern AZ
    if most of the first batch (16) hatch, even if 10 hatch... will she be able to mother all of them and keep them warm? she is a bigger girl, but not huge. some of the eggs are bantams that she is sitting on. i would prefer to let her do her thing, but i am worried about losing some chicks, thats the only reason i wanted to bring them inside.
  4. Rhode Island Red Breeder

    Rhode Island Red Breeder Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 1, 2008
    Quote:Hens are able to care for more chicks than they can hatch. I always let my broodies hatch/raise their chicks with the rest of the flock without any problem.
  5. ralleia

    ralleia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 22, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    Quote:I would definitely let the hens rear the chicks. Hens make it look *EASY*. All you need do is make sure that the chicks have access to chick feed and water, and that there are no small holes that they can get through and end up separated from momma.

    One hen can only manage 14 eggs or so at a time. If you let a hen sit on more than 14, you stand a high risk of losing the whole clutch. The hen rotates her eggs beneath her to make sure that they all get warmed. Give her too many and they'll all end up getting chilled and likely killing all the developing chicks.

    As RIR breeder indicated, a hen can foster more chicks than she can hatch. A good-sized hen can easily manage 25 chicks at a time. That's what I do with my black Australorps--I order batches of 25 chicks to arrive around the time that eggs would have normally hatched under a hen and give them to the hen to rear. My favorite Australorp "Big Mama" never balks at a chick--though I think the first time I gave her 25 I could see her eyes getting wider when I handed over the chicks.

    We've never had much problem with other hens harassing chicks. A couple experimental pecks, but that's all. If a hen got mean I'd probably pen (or eat) that hen, because I run a SOCIAL flock. Meanness causes other problems (like infection) and I'd rather just eat any problems.

    Don't let them attempt to incubate too many eggs.
  6. schellie69

    schellie69 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 8, 2009
    Chickens have been hatching and raising babies for a long time they seem to know what to do. I know my broody did I think they should be fine.
  7. Posh Chickens

    Posh Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 24, 2011
    West Midlands, UK
    Good luck! Some folks say that a chicken that is not raised by its mom is not right in the head! [​IMG]
  8. MysticScorpio82

    MysticScorpio82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2009
    Maine, USA
    I would let your hen raise the chicks; but if you have any doubt perhap set a brooder up "just in case". [​IMG]
  9. Tawodi

    Tawodi Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 24, 2010
    southern AZ
    thanks for all the good info, mama hen it is!

    just an odd note, its probably common but I havent heard of it before. My big mama is sitting on the 12 eggs, and I was missing one of my bantam phoenix. ended up she was hiding under big mama, helping her keep the eggs warm. I finally saw her stick her head out from under mama for some air. made for a great picture [​IMG]
  10. MeowCluckBark

    MeowCluckBark Chicken Lickin' Good

    Mar 28, 2011
    Boise, ID
    Quote:OMG that is so cute!

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