Mom left the babies this evening

MillersinMD

Hatching
Jul 19, 2019
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Southern MD
My broody hen adopted 4 chicks eight weeks ago. They are fully feathered now but still attached to mom during the day. Today I had to put a cover over the nest boxes because I’m getting too much poo on the eggs daily and I’m tired of changing the nest bedding each day. Anyway, mom decided to roost outside in the run tonight with the other hens instead of staying in with the babies. It’s going down to 48* tonight and I’m worried they won’t be warm enough in the coop on the roost bar by themselves. Thoughts? Should I go move everyone into the coop too? The window is shut but the pop door is open. Thanks!
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
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Feb 5, 2018
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Were the babies sleeping and pooping in the nest boxes? You want to break that habit asap, so blocking them is definitely the right move. After everyone is in bed for the night, you can uncover the nests so they're available first thing in the morning for the layers, usually nobody will move back there in the dark.

Many broody moms leave their chicks at 5-6 weeks so your babies will be fine. I raised my chicks in the coop with a heating pad and they were roosting at 5 weeks with night temps in the 30s. Do you have an extra lower roost for them? The older birds might not let them on their roosts next to them until they earn their spot, so you can start placing the chicks on their own roost every night, soon they'll get the hang of it and go there on their own. Be sure to have plenty of ventilation where they sleep, it's almost more important in winter than summer.
 

rosemarythyme

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Jul 3, 2016
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At 8 weeks they should be more than feathered enough to manage just fine, 48 isn't anything to be concerned about.

As far as "should everyone be in the coop" that is up to you. If you feel they are safe enough in the run from predators they don't HAVE to go in, however for predator protection I don't allow my chickens to sleep outside.

Poop in the nestboxes is no good and you need to be training them out of sleeping in there, since that's likely what's happening. The chicks are old enough to be on the roost and not sleeping in a nestbox.

I hope that shut window isn't the only ventilation for the coop? The goal isn't to keep a coop warm in most climates (and again 48 is nowhere near cold) but to keep it dry and well ventilated. Perhaps the reason your adult chickens aren't sleeping inside is due to lack of ventilation, if you're closing it all up?
 
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