I'm new at this! Hen about to hatch her chicks....Hopefully

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sweet-T, May 17, 2009.

  1. sweet-T

    sweet-T Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2009
    So here I am at just about 21 days and I'm starting to worry that I might be doing something wrong! I have a hen that has been sitting on a clutch of mix n matched eggs (because the other hens were laying in her box...All were marked and monitored after that) and they should hatch any day. Here is my situation...I have 2 roosters and 7 hens in the coop. They are allowed to free range during the day but I have the option of keeping them in the coop or the "yard". The nesting box is about 2 feet off the ground. I tried moving the hen and eggs into a separate crate but she FREAKED out so I put her back! My questions are; is the box too high for the chicks? Are they in danger of hurting themselves? Should I worry about the other chickens? Should I separate mama and chicks from the flock after they hatch? What is the best course of action from here?
    Thanks for any advice you can offer!
  2. damselfish

    damselfish Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Someone will be along to answer you, I'm sure. Meanwhile, I know I've read on here that they will be fine in the nest box...chicks don't weigh much so when they fly/fall down the first time it apparently doesn't hurt them.

    I haven't had a broody yet so can't help you on the rest. Good luck with your hatch!

  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Sounds like you were doing things right.

    I've seen chicks get down from a 10 foot hay loft without hurting themselves. You are dealing with living things, so there is always a danger, but I think the odds are extremely low. You might pile up some litter or such under the nest a little just to give them a soft place to land.

    You'll get differing opinions here on separating a hen and chicks form the flock. Some people have had disasters trying to keep the hen and chicks with the flock while others consider that the best way. Some of it depends on the personalities of the chickens involved. I think a lot depends on how much room you have. What normally happens is that a chicken will peck at a baby chick, mama will severely reprimand the offending chicken, a lesson will be learned, and the other chickens will then know to leave the babies alone. Sometimes you will have a chicken that just cannot learn a lesson or you have a mama that is just not that protective of her chicks, but that is not the normal case. If she has room to work, mama will usually do a good job of protecting her chicks. Sometimes the rooster can be an offender but usually he will also protect the chicks.

    I personally like raising the chicks with the flock. Mama takes care of a lot of the integration issues and the chicks usually develop better immunities. But they are living creatures. Anything can happen.
  4. sweet-T

    sweet-T Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2009
    Thank you, thank you!
  5. Laffindog

    Laffindog Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 26, 2008
    I also have a little cochin sitting on two eggs right now and even though she still has about two weeks to go, I'm a little apprehensive about what I should do for them if/when the chicks hatch. We put her into a large wire dog cage and I'm wondering how long we should leave her and the chicks in there before introducing them to the run and coop?

  6. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    On day 18 I moved my broodie (nest box and all) to a x-large plastic dog crate but it is still in the coop. I was afraid that the other hens might harm the chicks.She is a bantam and the other girls are standards. She hatched them yesterday which was day 20. They are doing well and mommie has taught them to eat and drink just fine.
    The other hens can see her and babies but can't bother them.

  7. cochinbantam-lover

    cochinbantam-lover Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 1, 2009
    Awwwwwww how sweet!! [​IMG]
  8. Portia

    Portia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 29, 2008
    South Central PA
    The chicks will get down without too much of a problem, and mama will take them outside when she feels they are ready. One thing I usually have to do for the 1st week (sometimes 2) is put the chicks back into the coop & nest box with the broody at night. Broodies assume that the chicks will follow, and hop up into the coop & nest box with ease. They can't seem to figure out why the chicks don't follow and just sit in there and cluck for them to come. As for the chicks, they run around outside the coop peeping their little chickie heads off until I rescue them and tuck them under mama. Next night, same thing until they are old enough to jump up on the modified steps I've made and get into the coop. From there they either go into the nest box or mama comes down and broods them overnight.
    That's my experience. I have a batch of youngin's right now that have yet to figure out how to get into to the coop...out is not an issue, gravity is their friend. In...an altogether different issue
  9. QiPointFarm

    QiPointFarm New Egg

    May 11, 2009
    I'm kinda in the same situation with the same questions. I'm leaving my broody hen in the coop with the other 7 chickens and 2 roos and hoping all will turn out well. I have no way of seperating them. In addition to my question... will mom protect her chicks? What is best to do as far as food and water for the chicks when they are in the coop with the other chickens? The food for the adults is in a hanging hopper and their water is raised off the coop floor. Do I need to put something in the coop for the chicks to access or will mommy hen take care of getting the food and water as birds in nature do for their babies? If I have to supply for the chicks, won't the other birds eat the chick starter?

    I wish I had accomodations to seperate them but I just don't with my small little backyard flock.
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You need to put food and water where the chicks can get to it. If you want to keep the big chickens out of it, build a bottomless box that can fit over the food and water. Leave vertical openings 2-1/2" wide that the chicks can get through but the big hens cannot. I'd suggest wooden slats. It will have to be tall enough to fit the waterer under but wide enough to be stable.

    I've found it keeps the food and water cleaner if I set the food and water on a 2x6 piece of board. It's a firm foundation so the waterer doesn't turn over and a baby chick has no trouble hopping up on the 2x6. Some just stand on the ground and drink.

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