letting mamma do it

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by smalltownflock, Apr 2, 2018.

  1. smalltownflock

    smalltownflock Chirping

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    so I 3 silkie hens and one roo. a couple of the hens are starting to go broody, I have also seen the rooster doing its thing with a couple of the hens. I would love to let the hens lay on their eggs and raise their chicks on their own without any help from me. any one have any experience with this? Are there any steps that maybe I should intervene in? I would really like to just let the momma do it all on her own as I think that would be really cool to watch, but I'm also okay with stepping in if needed.
    Thanks
     
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  2. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

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    Just make sure to mark one clutch of eggs and remove any that other hens add to the nest, otherwise you end up with a staggered hatch where some eggs won't have developed enough before the hen gets off the nest to look after her chicks that hatched first. Hens usually wait around 48 hours from the first chick hatching before leaving the nest (though some stick it out longer in which case you need to ensure the chicks have access to food and water), but it's best if the chicks all hatch within a couple of days of each other.

    Hens can sometimes brood together or at the same time but sometimes they get overly protective of their chicks and can attack the other hen's babies. You won't know until you try but have a second space you can move one hen with babies to if the other starts making trouble.

    Remember to replace your waterer with something shallow that has marbles or stones in it to prevent chicks falling in.

    There's nothing cuter than watching a hen interacting with her babies! :love Good luck!
     
  3. smalltownflock

    smalltownflock Chirping

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    this is good info thank you.... in regards to water, I'm guessing the mother will teach them how to drink???? do I have to worry about the rooster pecking the chicks at all??
     
  4. JaeG

    JaeG Crossing the Road

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    Yes, the mother will teach them everything they need to know and it's fascinating (and gorgeous) to watch. I have no first hand experience with roosters (only what I've picked up on this website) but it sounds like most silkie roosters are as motherly as the hens. We've let a few of our broody girls hatch or adopt chicks but we can't keep roosters where we currently are, so none have stayed.
     
    azygous and smalltownflock like this.
  5. smalltownflock

    smalltownflock Chirping

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    Well this is exciting I've been kicking my girls off the eggs because I wanted more info and I wanted it to get a little warmer before we get chicks so by the end of the month if a hen goes broody I will let her do her job as a momma!! Thanks for the info
     
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  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Go to the learning center to find information about broody raising chicks.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

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    Just in case you weren't aware, but a hen will happily sit on and incubate eggs that she didn't lay. What I do is when I know when my broody is due to go broody, I start saving eggs from a particular hen that I want chicks from. When my broody starts sitting a nest, I then put these eggs I've selected under her.

    My broody nest is built on the floor in a partitioned off space in one of my two coops. When my broody starts sitting on these eggs, no other hen can get to this nest to lay her eggs and run the risk of either breaking the broody's eggs or adding her own to the clutch.

    When the chicks hatch, the broody and chicks are safe from the rest of the flock, and they even have their own partitioned off space in the run. The broody shows the chicks how to eat and to drink. They learn by watching her do it, so you don't need to do much.

    By the time the chicks are about a week old, I begin letting the broody show her chicks to the flock. She watches the flock carefully and thrashes any chicken that even so much as looks like they might mess with her chicks.

    Roosters usually aren't as much of a danger to small chicks as other hens are. As long as the broody isn't dead last in the pecking order, she will be able to lay down the law and the chicks will be safe.

    Watching a broody raise chicks is one of the big bonuses of having chickens. You're in for a huge treat!
     
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