1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

How do they do it in the wild?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by addiedunn, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. addiedunn

    addiedunn Chillin' With My Peeps

    520
    2
    141
    Oct 12, 2008
    Martinsville, IN
    How in the world did chickens survive all these years without human intervention?
    I have a broody barred rock who is sitting on two eggs and two chicks. Chicks are a day old. We are hoping the other two eggs hatch today. Her nest is in the coop with the other chickens and she is about 3 feet off the floor. My question is... should we move them? how will they get to the water and doesn't the humidity for Mama hen keep them hydrated for a while? I gave her her favorite treat yesterday after the first two hatched (unsalted, raw peanuts) and she devoured them all except the last couple, which she chewed up and fed to the babies. (It was very cute!) I sat some water closer, too, so she could drink without moving off the nest but the babies can't get to it. I don't want to move them until they all hatch (or we are sure the other two won't). And do I need to move them at all?
    It all just brings me back to the original question... But if anyone has any good advice for me, I'll gladly take it.
     
  2. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,422
    703
    306
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    I'm pretty sure it's normal for the hen to keep the chicks under her and in the nest for the first couple days. The chicks hatch with enough residual yolk to nourish them completely for 3-5 days (which is how baby chicks can be shipped by mail).

    At that point, she'll either move them to the quietest spot on the floor or she'll carry them back up to the nest at night.

    And yes, chickens are tougher and more resourceful than we give them credit for being. WE are the ones so used to them being domestic that we think they need to be pampered. I don't think it would take many generations at all for them to revert to wild fowl.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
  3. HEChicken

    HEChicken Overrun With Chickens

    7,544
    172
    316
    Aug 12, 2009
    BuCo, KS
    My Coop
    The OP's nest is 3 feet off the floor. The hen doesn't have a way to carry them back up there. Once they're down, they'll have to stay down, and 3' is kind of a long way for chicks to fall. Is there any way you can move them all down to floor level before they start to fall down?
     
  4. addiedunn

    addiedunn Chillin' With My Peeps

    520
    2
    141
    Oct 12, 2008
    Martinsville, IN
    I can actually move them to their own little coop but I am waiting to see what the other two eggs will do. I watched one latch onto her waddle yesterday and wouldn't let go. She had to "toss" it a few times before it went tumbling across her back and into the back of the nest. I wondered if she would be able to grab one and carry it back to the nest if it should fall out... (if they DO fall, there is a lot of straw under that they will fall into).
    But thanks for the replies thus far. If the other two don't hatch by tomorrow I will go ahead and move her and chicks to the "nursery". The thing that worries me about the nursery is that no one likes it. It's actually a small, extra coop we thought the hens might use to lay in when the nests were full... none of them ever uses it so I assume they don't like it much.
     
  5. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

    5,422
    703
    306
    Jan 20, 2011
    middle TN
    They actually can and do carry chicks (and eggs...) but if one were to fall out, she will probably stay with the eggs and the other chick and that one would die from chill. Since you're going to move her at some point, sooner is better than later. Personally, I would have moved her weeks ago.
     
  6. addiedunn

    addiedunn Chillin' With My Peeps

    520
    2
    141
    Oct 12, 2008
    Martinsville, IN
    Yes, they do carry their young. Their choice of a place to keep them may not be your choice, but they will carry them. Thank you SO much for letting me know what YOU would have done "weeks ago". Just one more reason I never come to this site anymore. Ask one question and get nothing but people getting snippy with each other about an answer. Geesh. Peace Out.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by