Letting hen raise chicks ?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Slackdaddy, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. Slackdaddy

    Slackdaddy Hatching

    Apr 23, 2008
    New here [​IMG]

    We (10 year old Daughter) have 1 rooster 13 hens in a 8'x12' coop with 4 nesting box's
    we have hatched 2 chicks in an icubator, hatched a duck in the incubator.
    Now one of the hens is sitting on eggs in a nesting box, and we want to just let everything happen natural.

    1) do we leave her in the nesting box, or move her and eggs now ?

    2) after they hatch, do we leave them in the nesting box ?? how will they eat ?

    3) Should I move her and eggs to a new "caged off" nesting area, where they can have access to food
    and water after they hatch ?

    4) I was thinking about caging off a 2'x5' area in the coop and making a nest for her ? would I have to lock her and
    the chicks in there after they hatch ? or will the others leave them alone ??

    What to do, what to do ?

  2. king2

    king2 Songster

    Sep 20, 2007
    I don't think you should move her and the eggs if you plan on letting her hatch them, moving her and them could cause her to stop sitting. I have let hens hatch out babies and they are always good mothers. It would be a good idea to move her and the babies when they hatch to prevent the other hens from picking on them. Good luck [​IMG]
  3. GwenFarms

    GwenFarms Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    I've moved broodies many times without any problems. My concern with you leaving her would be that other hens would get in and try to lay in her nest when she is eating. Not to mention just having other hens around, alot of times, will have one leave the nest. If you could cage her in with food and water that is best. I recently moved a broody and her nest into our rabbit hutch, put her a little food and water in and she has done great. A neighbor of mine has a great set up where he is able to cage off his nest boxes individually when one goes broody. They are like individual little pens when the doors are shut, but regualr nest boxes when they are open.

    The success of moving one depends on how hard of a sitter she is. Game chickens and buff orps will sit a nest under any circumstances. You may have read about the hen that I drove around for weeks under the tool box of our truck. She went everywhere we went and never came off of her nest, except to eat. I had to wait on her to finish just once when I was at a neighbor's, but she went right back to sitting in the truck when she was done. At hatching time I moved her from the truck to another nest of guinea eggs, which she is now sitting for me, without any problems.
  4. jimnjay

    jimnjay Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    Bryant Alabama
    I agree about the other hen laying in the same nest as your broody. Before long you can have to many eggs and the chance that the developing eggs will get pushed to the outside. I have only once had a little girl leave her eggs when I moved her. Not so much that she gave up, she just refused to to back to the new spot and returned to the old nesting box. I have all my nesting boxes portable so I can pick up the entire box and place it in a spot that is more private.

    Usually when a mama raises her chicks she will protect them from the other chickens but it depends on the breed and personality if they will give her to much trouble. It is nice if you can raise them all together so you don't have reintroduction problems later on. But you have to keep an eye on them.
  5. smoothmule

    smoothmule Crowing

    Apr 12, 2008
    Buffalo, Missouri
    Over the years I've had excellent luck letting my hens set and raise chicks in the coop and yes the others will lay in her nest box sometimes but I have always marked the setting eggs with the date so I can take out the eggs laid later. I often have other hens set while the setting hen leaves to eat but the setting hen always gets her spot back. I may have just been lucky and mine are mixed breeds so I know some breeds have different personalities.

    The only thing I do is make sure I know when to watch for them pipping so I can be ready to move them to the ground the next day and I make sure there is a fresh nest box on the ground and they always use it at night. The dates on the eggs really helps me.

    As a side note, I also set only eggs of the same size under one hen. I have bantams and some are large. Right now I have only the large eggs set to hatch, 5 under one older hen and 3 under 2 small young hens that are taking turns setting and sometimes set together. When they do that, I split the chicks between them at hatching and they do very well.
  6. ginasmarans

    ginasmarans Songster

    Jan 15, 2007
    West Tn
    If she will stay on the eggs,I'd move her. I've had hens both ways and they do much better if they are alone. Sometimes my hens won't take to the moved nest and I have to move her back. If you can pen her up in the nest and let her out once or twice a day, that will work. If not,mark her eggs(I like to put the hatch date on them)and take the unmarked eggs out daily. The problem is, if she gets off her nest to eat and drink,and another hen gets in her nest,she will probably just go get on a different nest. This will leave her eggs uncovered once the hen laying gets up. I have let the hens raise their chicks in the coop, but you have to make sure they can get food and water that the other hens can't get to. I make a creep feeder of sorts by using wire with holes big enough for the chicks to get through,but too small for big chickens. Make a circle out of it and put the food and water inside.
  7. Slackdaddy

    Slackdaddy Hatching

    Apr 23, 2008
    This girl is a sitter !
    We have 4 boxes for 12 hens, the other hens don't appear to be bothering her.
    Any time we get close she makes "purring noise" and her feather stand up, so we have not looked under her.
    We are still collecting eggs from the other box's.

    I was planning in closing in the area below the box's (about 16" x 3') with poultry wire, then moving her and the chicks after they hatch ?

    Should I put med chick starter and layer feed in there (plus water) ? how will they know the differance ?

  8. Justino

    Justino ♪♫ Rockin' Rooster ♪♫

    Dec 21, 2007
  9. GwenFarms

    GwenFarms Songster

    Feb 26, 2008
    Quote:All that sounds great. For now you can just keep feeding her her regular feed, but when the chicks hatch just put chick starter in there and the hen and chicks can both eat it.
  10. darcy1

    darcy1 Hatching

    Jan 16, 2008
    I thought the hens could not eat the medicated chick starter. Is this true? I was kinda wondering this myself since one of my silkies has adopted some chicks. Now I'm not sure which food to put inthe dog crate with them, (chick starter, grower, egglayer mash, cracked corn, fresh greens, fruit, worms)

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