How do the chicks get back up to the nest with mom?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mudhen, Feb 16, 2007.

  1. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    OK, the nest boxes are up 18-24" up from floor, hen is sitting on eggs.
    Eggs hatch, baby peep fluffs under/next to mom (?), now its time to go and find some food. Fall out of nest(?), feed, drink, scratch, hello world.
    Now its dark, mom is back up there. How does the chick get back to nest? Or does it?
    Is this when brooders kick in? aren't the mom hens the brooders? does one set up a box lower or on the floor for both?
    I'm beginnig to visualize a series of mini ladders and stairs in an Escher-like maze...
    I can't find the book that spells this out for me...advice please?
     
  2. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    Great questions... unfortunately all I have is more questions:

    In addition to your question, I also wonder about food and water:

    1) If I setup a special chick feeder with starter crumbles then all the other chickens eat the feed.
    2) If I don't setup a chick feeder, and let my chickens go all natural, will they survive? I've seen my mother hen peck at food and feed the babies.

    Sometimes I think I'd love to see nature take it's course and let mom fully take care of her babies... but then I get scared and do all the mothering myself.
     
  3. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Put mom on the ground with the eggs in a protected spot so the babies will not fall our of the nest when they hatch. A dog crate provides good protection. Chickens can't count and if mom goes back to the nest and a chick gets left behind , mom will not go back to find it.

    I personally would not put mom and chicks in the general population until they are a few weeks old. The chicks will not get enough nutrients free ranging, and need chick starter as a supplement. It is OK for mom to eat it too on a temporary basis. To prevent the other chickens from getting into the baby food, you will have to separate them.
     
  4. schmism

    schmism Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i liked this idea of a seperate area in the coop that you could either keep mom and the chicks or as jail as indicated.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2007
  5. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    Normally what I do is to separate mom and eggs into their own fenced area in the coop, if there's room, or in the run. Of course, in the run they have to be protected from the weather. I use wire small enough that newborn chicks can't get through it, preferably hardware cloth. In their enclosure I put mom & her nest of eggs along with chick food and water, each in chick feeders & waterers. That way mom can leave her nest and eat and drink and poop while she is setting. When the babies are born, I put some marbles in the waterer so new chicks don't drown but spaced to where the hen can still get her beak in to drink. Mom will then teach them about eating and drinking. Since the rest of the flock is still around to see what's going on, but can't get the babies, all is well. Then when the chicks are a couple of weeks old I begin leaving the door to their pen open so they can mingle with the flock. By then the chicks are old enough to get out of the way if someone were to peck them, but mom is good at protecting them. Then when dark comes, she still has her nest, separate from the others to take her chicks to for the night. By doing things this way I have had good luck at keeping the hen and her brood as a part of the flock so there are no reintegration problems later on.

    Problem I've had over the winter is that once the chicks hatch they cannot come out from under mom to eat and drink because it is too cold. So I have chosen to make a large brooder box in the house, complete with light, for mom and brood. One reason I have had to do this is that these are bantys and there is no room in my tiny banty shanty to separate them and have a heat lamp to protect the chicks from the cold. But there is a large dog crate in their run for when they are more feathered out and the temps begin coming up. I dont know if there will be reintegration problems then, I'll just have to wait and see. hth
     
  6. Nifty-Chicken

    Nifty-Chicken Administrator Staff Member

    One thing I did was take a strong cardboard box and cut a hole just a wee bit too small for my smallest hen to get into. This way all the babies could get into the box to eat / drink, but the other hens couldn't.
     
  7. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

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    I use cardboard boxes in my framework for nest boxes. Then when a broody hen needs moved, I simply take the whole box with hen and eggs and move her to her own private place on the ground level. Placing water and feed close to the nest assures that the peeps can eat and drink while mom shows them how to get er done.

    Good strong cardboard boxes work great and can be tossed when soiled. I measure the size I need and cutting the opening can be altered depending on the size of chickens you have. Works for me.

    bigzio
     
  8. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Good stuff. Thank you. No danger from other chickens with Millie, though, she's an only for the time being.
    The box idea sounds the best. I'll set her up in a large one on the floor and cover the top with mesh to keep her and the chicks in and keep any potential predators out. (Don't have a door yet on the coop and am using a cardboard lid to block entry) It's been too cold for her to go out anyway so this would work the best for the first couple of weeks.
    Thanks so much!
     
  9. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    A cardboard box and mesh will not keep predators out. I am surprised something hasn't gone through the cardboard coop door already. Do you have anything else to keep your coop secure?
     
  10. mudhen

    mudhen confidently clueless

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    Oh Yes!!
    Sorry it sounded so flimsy, my run is 6' tall chain link with a 'roof' of wire mesh supported by PVC framework. The cardboard lid cover is just over the coop opening to keep some of the cold drafts out since we are experiencing the coldest weather spell ever.
    I had an opossum get in last August and kill one of my hens, but I have sealed the opening and reinforced everything since then.
    It is very unlikely anything could get in (nothing has since) but I'm always doubling up security.
    The coop door is going to be on an automatic timer I'm installing both next weekend.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2007

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