How "hands off" can you be in raising chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by julnjake, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. julnjake

    julnjake Chirping

    Aug 20, 2011
    SW PA
    Don't worry I'm not planning to raise any chicks anytime soon but I'm just wondering, how hands off can you be with it and be successful? Or is it considered risky or even negligent to let the chickens do all the work? If you had a broody hen how easy it to let her sit on the eggs, hatch the eggs, and raise the chicks herself? Would she have to be seperated from the rest of the flock or could you leave them all together?
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I do two things with my broodies. I make sure they have a nest where they are with the flock but also have their privacy, i.e., a large dog crate in the coop. And, I make sure to put down a chick sized feeder and waterer. That's it. Mama Hen does the rest.
    I have had five clutches of chicks raised this way and only one injury to a chick. The chick was injured by a meat bird, that didn't have enough sense to know that a chick is not food. Without the meaties in the coop the chicks have done fine.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  3. extraordinaryfowl

    extraordinaryfowl Songster

    Sep 6, 2011
    Lancaster, PA
    Broody hens will do 100% except provide themselves with food and water and a safe place to raise young. Some people leave them in with roosters/rest of the flock, but I always separate mine, I just think it is a good idea, that way no losses.

    But it is actually better if you don't bother them while incubating. You can handle the chicks when they hatch, it will make them less skittish, but the mother will keep them warm provided she doesn't have more that can fit under her.

    And if you are planning on her incubating the eggs, make sure you don't put so many that she can't comfortably cover them all under her. People think this will maximize success putting more eggs then she can cover, but actually since she cycles all the eggs, they will all get their turn to be out from under her and therefore they will all get chilled.
  4. julnjake

    julnjake Chirping

    Aug 20, 2011
    SW PA
    And if you were to let the hen do the job herself I assume its not advisable to do in the winter? (when you live in a cold climate)
  5. Quote:I vividly remember when I was a kid, my very close friend lived on the best farm. They had a broody banty hen who was always raising a clutch of chicks. They never helped her and she free ranged about the farm yard. This was the old fashioned, red barn with a hay loft type of farm from your childhood storybooks.
    I spent a good part of my childhood there and really enjoyed how the chickens were allowed to just run around the barn, loose.

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