Hi from Tasmania Australia

abbeycreamcat

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 16, 2012
44
4
82
Geeveston Tasmania
Hi everyone, I have been reading posts on this wonderful informative site for some time now, and have posted a question on the 'Chicken behaviours and egglaying' forum earlier today but not sure if it was the right place, so will copy and post it here as well in the hope that someone might be able to offer some helpful advice please:

I have a little Polish x hen with 2 little Silky x chickens who are 4 weeks old today, but she has been laying each day for the last week and is no longer showing any mothering skills except that she still lets them burrow under her at night.
I have to say that she was not my choice of mothers, she went broody and insisted on cohabitating a nest with one of my lovely old barnevelder girls who was sitting on 10 eggs a friend gave me. Unfortunately a couple of days before they hatched, a vistor's dog got in to my hen house and killed my beautiful barnevelder while the little polish x was out of the nest stretching her legs (lucky for her!). There were a few eggs left intact after the carnage, which the little polish x continued to cover. She hatched out 3 with these 2 surviving.
I currently have them in the hen house in a 3ft long x 2ft wide wire dog crate with the bottom 4 inches or so covered with clear plastic (so the chicks couldn't get through the wire) and would love to let them out to pick on the grass and scratch, but my chickens are completely free range and I am sure she would just abandon them and leave them to fend for themselves as she spends a lot of time during the day sitting on top of the waterer looking for a way out.
If I let her out I could bring the chickens out for a short time in a slightly smaller wire crate where they could scratch and peck in the sunshine, but would they still need a heat lamp at night, or do I just keep her cooped up with them until they are fully feathered?
It is spring here in Tasmania (Aus) and the days are quite warm and pleasant, but the nights are still quite chilly at 6-9 degrees C (about 42-48 degrees F)
 
Last edited:

liz9910

Crowing
Apr 8, 2012
12,404
594
396
Northern California
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from California, that was the correct place to post your question. Is there any way you can bring the chicks inside at night until they are fully feathered? Sounds like "mama" is done raising them.
 

abbeycreamcat

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 16, 2012
44
4
82
Geeveston Tasmania
Hi Liz9910, thank you for the welcome and reply :)
Yes I probably can bring them in but I would have to put them a little out of the way as I have 7 cats, several of which LOVE cute fluffy chickens! I do actually have a ceramic heat lamp that I used while breeding Dobermanns for many years, but I also have 25 eggs in an incubator (in the spare room where I can put the chickens) and (hopefully) I will need the heat lamp for them in 14 days time. Do you know how old they are when they are fully feathered? I have had chickens here for years but have never had to worry about this before so really haven't taken notice of how old they are when this happens - I might add that this is my first attempt at hatching in an incubator, hence the 'hopefully' and the lack of time frame knowledge :)
 

abbeycreamcat

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 16, 2012
44
4
82
Geeveston Tasmania
I just went and had a look in the shed and discovered that I also have my (dec) mother's puppy breeding lamp that I had forgotten about, so I have 2!
I have also just let the mother out and although still hovering in the vicinity (she is from a different hen house), she has left them and gone outside. Interestingly though, their crate is in front of the nesting boxes and a little broody silky is scratching around outside their crate making 'mummy' noises, I am wondering if they would be too old to try her in with them after dark? She has been broody for a couple of weeks but I am pulling any eggs out of the boxes daily that the others lay in with her.
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,154
26,094
1,302
Hello and welcome to BYC
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