I have 1 beautiful baby from my 1st broody hen!!!!! Now what??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by cjatthefarm, May 16, 2011.

  1. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have read and read and explored every topic I can find--but I don't know what to do--if anything!

    My leghorn hatched a beautiful fluffy yellow baby yesterday sometime after Church! I am soooo proud of her! There are 5 more eggs under her.

    I put her in a large pet carrier w/food & water 3 days ago. She has seemed more relaxed not having to worry about the other hens coming around.

    BUT WHAT NOW??? I want her to do as much as she will for her babies. But what do I provide her with???!!

    I placed water inside the carrier in the small feeders I got when I got 'mom' as a chick. I bought chick starter, and have run some thru a coffee grinder to be ready.

    I'd like to 'let mom do it' as I have read here. But, I don't know how to get out of her way, and still keep her safe.

    please....[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    Put chick starter out (you don't need to grind it) and it's okay for mom to eat it too - she's not laying. You just don't want your layers getting to it, but you said you have her in her own area.
    Put water out for momma and the babies. Both food and water should be at chick level.

    Sit back and enjoy. Your hen will teach them everything. Nothing for you to do except watch them.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    You've got a lot of different options. We all do this many different ways, depending in personal preferences and different set-ups. I'll go through what I do. I'm not saying this is the only right way or that anyone else is wrong. It is just the way I do it.

    I wait until Mama brings the chicks off the nest before I do anything. I let Mama hatch her chicks with the flock, so I am already different than you. I put out food and water where they can easily get to it, but when I find them off the nest, I put Mama and the chicks in a prepared area where they are locked away from the rest of the flock. I usually leave them there for two days. That is just so they can get used to eating and drinking without competition with the adult chickens. Many people do not isolate them at all.

    Then I let Mama and the chicks out to interact with the flock. I have a lot of space so Mama can keep them separated from the others, so she has plenty of room to work with to help keep them safe. I think that room is very important. Mama usually keeps them off to themselves, but not always. Sometimes she leads them right into the middle of the rest of the flock.

    Every rooster I've had has helped look after the chicks if they get separated from Mama. A lot of roosters don't do that and some will even harm the chicks, so I have been lucky with my roosters. I have not had another hen that seeks out to destroy young chickens. Some flocks do have hens like that. With mine, Mama will occasionally discipline another hen that gets too interested in her chicks, but that usually happens very rarely and the other hens learn pretty quickly to not mess with those chicks. I have a fairly laid back flock in that respect. Not everyone does.

    When I have young chicks in the flock, I do not feed Layer. The extra calcium is harmful to the chicks. I feed everyone unmedicated Starter or Grower and provide oyster shell on the side for the egg layers. The ones that need the extra calcium eat the oyster shells and the others pretty much leave it alone. Notice that I use unmedicated. It will not hurt the laying hens to eat Starter or Grower as long as it is not medicated. If it is medicated, you should not eat the eggs. If Mama and the chicks are isolated, it will not hurt Mama to eat medicated feed.

    One problem I have is that if I put feed out where the chicks can get to it, the adults consider that a special treat and eat that first. It is exactly the same feed that is in their regular feeder, but try telling that to those bird brains. So I built this to put over the chicks feeder. The chicks can enter from the ends but the hens cannot get their heads inside to eat the feed.

    [​IMG]

    Other than also providing water on a level the chicks can get to it, that is about it. Once Mam gets into a habit of where to take them at night, she will pretty much keep doing that until she is ready for them to roost. I suggest keeping an eye on her the first couple of nights to see that she takes them to a safe place and that the chicks follow her. Mine usually take them to a corner of the coop on the floor, but I have had to direct one into the coop at night. And one wanted to sleep with them on a nesting box.

    Good luck, however you decide.
     
  4. fishermans wife

    fishermans wife Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ridgerunner, I love how you cover the chick feed to keep the older ones out! I have a broody mom now, and was trying to figure out something so that I could keep the laying hens on layer but the little ones on their food as last year when I switched everyone to grower with oyster shell on the side, everyone stopped laying (I know it was the disruption of the flock as well). I plan to elevate the layer food out of chick height - which should work for a little while. Thanks for sharing that idea!! I too let everyone stay together with no problems. It saves trying to integrate later. Just keep a watchful eye out....
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Quote:When I tried that, Mama reached in to give some Layer to her babies. Within a week, the young ones were flying up to the feeder with no help from Mama. Instead of trying to fight it, I just go with Starter or Grower with oyster shell on the side.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2011
  6. chick-n-momma

    chick-n-momma Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:Seperate question..... Why can't layers have chick starter?
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    If the chick starter is not medicated, it does not matter. The laying hens can have it. If the chick starter is medicated, you should not eat the eggs if the laying hens eat it.
     
  8. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank You So Much--for all this good info, RidgeRunner!!
    Perhaps I will have the 'nerve' to leave the next broody w/the flock. But I kept reading that they might be hurt by the others. I have limited space which also was part of my decision. But hey--I've already started drawing plans for an addition!!! [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    p.s. I grew up in NW AR!!!!! It is beautiful country.

    Thanks again!
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
  9. TinyLittleFarm

    TinyLittleFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What happens when the babies eat layer? I have a single baby who is about 10-11 weeks old who is still with her mom. I have tried everything I could think of (obviously didn't think hard enough!) to keep her chick food separate from the layer food. I didn't realize it was okay for the layers to eat starter. She has ended up eating a mix of layer and starter food her whole little life. She seems very healthy, though.

    Should I do something different for her at this point? Ideas?
     
  10. lindsmurphy

    lindsmurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    What is in the medicated chick feed that could hurt us? I have medicated chick starter in my coop with the whole flock however it is in the nest where babies are being raised (although she is starting to tour the run as well), the other chickens can get to the medicated feed, but I didn't realise there was any harm in eating the eggs?
     

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