Mother hen is dead :(

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by GimmeCake, Aug 4, 2014.

  1. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Today, I awoke to find my baby chicks (2-3 weeks old) outside (happens often, they usually find their way back in by night at latest, but I help them if I see them outside) and the feathers of the mother scattered around all the way to around a bit over 50 feet outside the coop in one direction.

    I don't know what happened, or how the mother got out (I've never had a full-sized chicken get outside before), however, she's presumably dead. No body to be seen, just feathers.

    How should I take care of the chicks now?
     
  2. flockoffour

    flockoffour Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So sorry to hear about your hen :(. For the chicks, you can make a brooder or if you have electricity running out to your coop, put a heat lamp in the hen house. They will be able to eat and drink out of feeders/waterers on their own, however they will need a source of heat because at their age that is what the hen was mostly providing for them. You can look in the coop section of the website to find different brooder and heat source ideas, just be careful and make sure your heat lamp is secure and not in risk of falling onto something and being a fire hazard. Good luck with the chicks!
     
  3. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree, the chicks will need your help until they are a little older - at the very least for protection from whatever predator go their mother. Do a search for brooders and you will come up with lots of information. The article Chicks 101 in the Learning Center is also a great resource. Good luck.
     
  4. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I can put them in a brooder (I already have some old equipment from when I first got my chicks) if I need to, but I'm afraid they older chickens wont accept them when I go to put them back in the coop in a few weeks.

    The coop (indoors part) does have electricity running to it and two light sockets (though one socket is broken at the moment, can be fixed if needed). They're outside a lot of the time, though, so I don't know how effective putting heat in the coop will be.
     
  5. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    I would put a heat lamp with a 60 watt bulb in it in the coop for them to get under. If you have room, you can fence them off where they can come and go or keep them put up, but having them around the others will keep them part of the gang. First though you need to plug up the hole in your coop or run where they get out. Last year I had a broody hen walk away from her chicks at exactly 3 weeks, and they did fine even though it was cold in March. They just ran around together, and piled in a nest box at night to keep warm. Mama had already taught them to forage and the others had accepted them. Good luck. Below is a picture of how I separate chicks:

    [​IMG]
     
  6. GimmeCake

    GimmeCake Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put a brooding lamp in the coop to warm it at night and did some work on the coop to help prevent future escapes.

    Right now they're sitting together in the corner they used to sit under their mother.
     
  7. Stiggy

    Stiggy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aww that's no good, it sounds like something has gotten her, she would have been defending her chicks. They will be missing her but should be ok as long as they are kept warm and dry with food and water
     
  8. DurhamChicks

    DurhamChicks New Egg

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    Almost the same thing. I came home from work today to find my 3 chicks (11days old) without a mom. Her feathers were scattered outside the pen. I have 13 other hens in a coop and run, but these chicks have been separated. I am afraid to introduce them into the coop since they are so little. I have a brood box that they have been sleeping in at night with their mom. The daytime temps here in Paris TN are 80-95 degrees and 60-68 degrees at night. How long will they need a lamp and when can I let them meet the big girls (no rooster)? I added a pic but I can't make it right-side up. sorry....low tech girl here.
     

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