Mother Hen just quit! Need heat for 5.5 wk old chicks tonight?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by junglebird, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. junglebird

    junglebird Songster

    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Mother Hen just quit! [​IMG]

    The 10 chicks are 5.5 weeks old, feathered out. Our daytime temps are 90, night time high 50's. They've been sleeping in a plastic sided dog crate with mom in a separate coop from the flock, I'm waiting to see where they decide to go tonight. They've been integrated (during the day) with the flock since nearly week one, so they may head into the coop with the flock. Should I shoo them into the brooder that has a light in it? Or let them tough it out where ever they choose?

    This is my first time with hen-raised chicks. Thanks for your help! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2011

  2. Lil'ChickFarm

    Lil'ChickFarm Chirping

    Jun 27, 2011
    At this age, they should be able to take care of themselves. I had three 7 week olds and they were pretty independant. They cuddled together at night though. Mother probably thinks they are old enough to be on their own.
    I would put them in the coop for safety at night though.
  3. lauralou

    lauralou Songster

    Dec 10, 2007
    Central Virginia
    At that age, they don't need a heat lamp. Hens often leave their babies around that age, sometimes earlier.
  4. justtoni44

    justtoni44 Songster

    Mar 13, 2010
    I think it is warm enough.mine that age are out wthout heat.
    just decide where you want them and be sure it is safe.....
    oh, our hen said "i've had enough also"[​IMG]
  5. junglebird

    junglebird Songster

    Aug 29, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    justtoni44 [​IMG]

    Thanks everyone for your responses!

    The chicks went back to their dog kennel (in a coop) to sleep, so they are locked up safe and sound there. The hen was such a good mama, I think it's right to trust her timing. I also remembered that the previous 2 nights when I went to lock everybody up, mama and babies were kind of standing around in their space, not hunkered down - too hot, I'm guessing. Also, the chicks have already befriended the whole flock, including the rooster, and they aren't shy to scrabble for tidbits ... It'll be interesting to see what the daytime relationship between mama and babies will be during daytime from here on out. I have noticed that some of the chicks started hanging out with their bio moms about a week ago.

    So I'll reframe mama, not a quitter ... but a good mom who knows how to set good boundaries! [​IMG]

  6. NHchicks

    NHchicks Songster

    May 13, 2010
    My mama hen left her 4 chicks at four weeks and I was worried sick. But they were just fine, and that hen is now broody AGAIN... ugh.

    My OTHER mama hen hasn't left her chicks yet and they're 7 weeks! I'm about to put up a post with pictures on that one.

    My motherless chicks are now about 8 or 9 weeks old and still sleep in the dog crate and not the permanent coop, by their choice. I'll just let them stay as long as they want, I need to give away some chicks anyway for lack of coop space. By fall they'll all be in the coop, thinned out.
  7. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Songster

    You say those chicks are feathered out. I'd offer them a seperate nesting box for nights. Place a tree branch on the floor, near a 4" deep nest of straw. They will be protected from the roosting chicken's droppings falling.
  8. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I let mine sleep where they want. And no, no heat; I'll bet they wouldn't stay near it, anyway. Here, they can roost, or huddle in a protected corner, or even gather in a nest box if they want. I find they'll roost when they're ready. Mine grow up in the flock, too, so they can fend for themselves when mama turns them loose. So far I haven't had a mama make any big mistakes.
  9. PetRock

    PetRock Crowing

    Apr 28, 2010
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Our broody cut her three chicks loose at 4 1/2 weeks and that was over 6 weeks ago when the temps were cooler at night. She started not giving them treats first and pecking them when they came close. She went in with the other hens to roost at night and the babies went into the dog kennel in the outdoor brooder. We put the whole kennel into the coop every night for warmth and safety. We shut the door to the kennel so the big girls wouldn't get any ideas of stealing their space. Now they are too big for the kennel so we have closed off two of the 6 nest boxes, removed the divider between them, and put a hardware cloth door with a small opening on the front. The little ones can get in but the big girls can't. The babies are now 11 weeks old and showing interest in roosting with the others. They get into the coop early but get displaced by the hens. Sometimes they go into their area with no problems and sometimes I have to remove them from under the roosts and place them in a no poop zone. They all free range together during the day and have since day 2. The babies are brave souls and rush right in to grab treats while the older teenagers who were not broody raised hang back or run away from the hens. Mama, who is top hen, sometimes tolerates them by her and sometimes pecks them just like she does the other lower hens.

  10. wsmoak

    wsmoak Songster

    A timely thread, I was just going to ask when a hen usually leaves the chicks. I have a Barred Rock in a tractor with eight 5-week-olds, and she doesn't want to leave them yet. I would like her to go back to the main coop and start laying again!


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