Move Mama and Chicks to roomier digs?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SusanPC, Feb 13, 2015.

  1. SusanPC

    SusanPC Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    22
    83
    Feb 28, 2014
    Southwest Florida
    I currently have my BO and her nine adopted chicks in an enclosure around her nest box which is 2' wide and 6' long. The chicks will be a week old tomorrow (Sat., Feb 14th). She spends most of the time during the day out in the broody enclosure with them underneath her and really only seems to drag everyone in to the nest box at night. The chicks venture out about every 5-10 minutes or so to eat, drink, meander, etc. She moves around near the food and water and back and forth as the day progresses. Our temps. have been swinging from the high 70s to the mid 40's during the week. On the warm days they spend a lot more time out from under her.

    My question is when to move them from the broody hen pen they are currently living in which is located in the coop. We have sectioned off part of our run and plan to place a plastic dog crate in there for a nest box. The area is definitely less enclosed, but is well-protected from wind and weather and we plan on adding a heat lamp if necessary. We just feel it will give our hen more room to stretch out and lead her babies around and be more interesting for all of them overall. We would like to move them today or this weekend since we will have nice temps during the day until Monday. On Monday, we may get into the low 30s, but then warm up again after a few days. What do you think? Photos below.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,566
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    At a week old, I'd be putting momma and babies in with the flock. This is a great age to do so--the babies are sturdy and able to run away from the other hens, they're young enough momma is still fiercely protective and no one will mess with them. Growing up in the flock lets the chicks learn good chicken manners from a young age and removes any issues of integrating young birds after momma weans them and they have no one to defend them.

    If you want to have them close but not together for a week or so, that's fine but I'd get them all living together sooner rather than later.

    The temp really doesn't matter as far as moving them. It's always 100 degrees under momma, no matter how cool it is outside. As they get older they'll spend less and less time under her, no matter the temp outside. They're hardier than we give them credit for!
     
  3. SusanPC

    SusanPC Chillin' With My Peeps

    179
    22
    83
    Feb 28, 2014
    Southwest Florida
    Move complete! I do have some bad news. Several hours before I moved them to the pen, one of the Silkie chicks died. It was by itself and seemed very sleepy. I held it for a bit and realized it was not acting normally. It died within about 5 or 10 minutes. I didn't see any visible injuries or pasty butt, so I am not sure what happened. I will keep a close eye on the other chicks through the weekend. The chicks were excited about their new digs and Mama went in the nest box (dog crate) and got it tidy. After dark, we checked to make sure all were tucked into the crate under Mama. It should be an eventful weekend watching chick antics (and hopefully no more bad news).
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by