Mother Nature vs. Artificial Parenting ?????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JonBoyWhat, May 15, 2011.

  1. JonBoyWhat

    JonBoyWhat In the Brooder

    Apr 18, 2011
    Plant City Florida
    Okay, I have some experience with chickens and keeping them for eggs and meat. This year ,however, I have acquired an American Gamefowl duo that I have bred. I know alot about the breed and even know a breeder of show-quality AGF that loves my rooster. I bred them in a coop in the early spring and the hen went broody over twelve eggs.

    Three weeks later I have chicks. They appear happy and healthy to the naked eye. I lost one chick because it got inside a water bowl and got cold enough to die before I could help it. As soon as I was aware of this, I was advised to remove anything in the coop that could hold enough water to drown the chicks and use a waterier. I knew to do this but I had over-looked it. So now I need to know if I am doing this correctly or if I would have better chances doing it another way. I want her to do this the natural way but if a brooder would prevent an un-wanted high number of fatalities then I need to know.

    I am going to give you all the information about the hens mothering ability, the feed, the coop and all the information about their situation in order to get your advice/input about anything I am doing wrong or should change in order to ensure a higher number of chicks that live to adult hood. My only motivation is preventing death that could be avoided using another method or improving the one I am using. All of these things happened in the same coop.

    During the Brooding process:

    The hen was only up long enough to eat, drink, etc
    She would run back to the nest when she heard anything suspicious.
    She was leave the nest on very hot days to cool the eggs and stay on the nest during cold days.
    She never flighted off the nest or behaved in a way other than a normal broody hen would.
    She hatched 10 out of twelve eggs.

    During Hatch:

    She gave no clue that it was happening.
    She hatched on a very hot day and lifted up and allowed the chicks to get out from under her to cool off.
    She never pecked them or was aggressive.
    She instantly became a very protect mother after the chicks were put out of the nest.
    She covered them until the humans had left then began feeding them

    Her Mothering Skills:

    She hides them from danger instantly.
    She never lets them roam too far away.
    She is very calm and has never panics too quickly.
    She is attentive to them and spends her day caring for them.
    She gives the impression that she would attack quickly if provoked.
    All the normal things you can expect with an increased protective instinct.

    The coop:
    It is about 11 feet by 11 feet
    It has one wall of solid wood and the other three with wire that is too small for chicks to pass through
    The roof provides shelter in one part and is wire on the other part.
    It has no possible way that a predator, even one as small as a rat, could get in.

    The care I provide for them:
    Feeding: Chick Starter that is 18% protein in a plate, and Purina Scratch Grain for the mother in a different location.
    Water: Provided in a waterier (1/2 Gallon) and adding sugar each morning until the chicks are one week. Filling as needed.
    Shelter: They have a place to be dry in the rain, but allows some rain to moisten the ground but the hen covers them during the rain.
    Extra Treats: Providing Grasses and bread as treats but the chicks usually eat the greenery not the bread. Not table scraps.

    Is there anything that I am doing that is not the "correct" way to raise chicks? Should I move them from the mother and into a brooder? Am I providing adequate care for them? Should I do more or have I over looked something? Any input is appreciated and I thank you in advance for your help!

    Jonathan in KY
  2. tazcat70

    tazcat70 I must be crazy!

    Sounds like she is doing a good job to me.

    I usually keep them locked up for a week or so, to help the chicks learn to listen to momma and so they are more aware of their surroundings.
  3. AKsmama

    AKsmama Songster

    Jun 20, 2010
    South Carolina
    It sounds like she is an excellent mother and you're an excellent owner. I'd leave them with her.


    Mar 2, 2011
    I have to agree that you are doing a fine job. Don't over-worry yourself into a nervous breakdown. You are understandably concerned but let her do the job. She sounds like a wonderful mother and you have nothing to worry about.
  5. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    x5 - Sounds like you both are doing an excellent job. Wow is she ever saving you a LOT of work! And anyway I love watching a hen with her chickies. [​IMG]

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