how long do i leave the chicks alone with just mama, and other newbie questions?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by meli229, Oct 14, 2013.

  1. meli229

    meli229 In the Brooder

    Jan 7, 2011
    Santa Rosa
    Our hen hatched out 4 chicks a few days ago, and she's doing a great job being a mama. This is both her, and my, first time hatching. They are enclosed in one of those larger metal dog crates (about 2x3), inside my hen house. The hen has been in this cage with her nesting box since she started sitting.

    Questions: how long do I leave her in the cage with the chicks? I know not right NOW, but I want to be prepared. How much space should a hen have with her babies? Should I build a brooder pen thats bigger than the cage to act as an intermediate area before they have the whole place with my other hens (7, no rooster)? How large should this be? I don't have any way for it to be inside hen house AND outside in the run, so it would be one or the other. I'm thinking inside the hen house would be a best? At what age can the chicks be 'mixed' in with the flock? Should I expect any issues with the mama hen being treated as a new member when she 'returns'?

    Thanks for your advice! Its so exciting to have babies!!!

  2. laceynoelle

    laceynoelle Songster

    Nov 12, 2009
    Congrats on the mama hen and babies!!!
    If she hatched out the last one a few days ago, you can probably take her off the nest now. Candle the rest of the eggs to make sure they aren't just late. Make sure you are offering the family chick food and water by now, because the chicks only have enough nutrients in their remaining yolk for a couple of days. I'm sure they don't want to stay in the dog crate for too long.
    The rest is up to you, based on your flock dynamics. My broody girls run the property with their clutch, and don't have a problem with the other hens. But then again, my chicks are very used to mama hens, we get a good dozen sitters each season, and this sounds like your first. [​IMG]
    When we have to separate a mama hen, we usually place them in an old rabbit cage we have, it's about 4x5ft, for the first three weeks to a month. All you really need to do shelter-wise is make sure the mama won't get chilled, and she'll do all the hard work with the babies. Let the chicks out with the mama a little each day so your flock can used to them, if you plan on keeping them separated. If you're worried there is going to be a problem, just supervise them. :] If after the first month or so everybody is getting alone, I see no reason they can't all run together.
    Hope this helps!!
  3. Roxannemc

    Roxannemc Songster

    Mar 30, 2012
    SE Missouri
    I leave my broody to decide to take them outside Usually about 3 or 4 days old but iwould leave her access to thecage if its draft proof.she will take them in at night rain keep them inside as she may not bring them i n during rain some chickens arnt that bright
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013

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