Moving baby chicks with momma

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Soto Hobby Farm, Mar 25, 2018.

  1. Soto Hobby Farm

    Soto Hobby Farm In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Hi! I have a hen setting on 14 eggs. She’s preferable to the laying box that happens to be about 2 feet off the ground. I’d prefer not to move her now, the eggs are due to hatch in about a week. What should I do about getting the checks down to a safe height once they’re born? Once the eggs start cracking should I just move the whole box? She’ll have the whole barn to herself as I’m moving the other chickens to the new barn before the chicks hatch.
     
  2. UnionGroveGirls

    UnionGroveGirls In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    I am letting a broody hen sit on some eggs and she is in a nesting box about 2 feet off the ground in the coop. It's my first time to let her hatch some eggs and I think I will just let her do it in the coop with all the other chickens and the rooster. 1. I'm guessing I need to make a ramp to the floor so the chicks can get out of the nest. 2. The laying pellets are in a feeder that's hanging from the ceiling. So I need an area for the chicks' food and water- does it matter where it is in the coop? 3. Everyone's out and about during the day, and I close up the coop at night. I assume that the hen will manage her chicks. Right?
     
  3. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

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    Apr 22, 2012
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    The only risk with having the nest elevated off the ground is having chicks fall out of the nest and get chilled because they can't get back to the hen. This risk is higher with the large clutch she's sitting on. Eggs will typically hatch over a 48-hour period, so the chicks that hatch first may venture out from under the hen and fall out of the nest.

    To mitigate this risk, you can confine the hen to the nest once the hatch begins and keep her confined until after all the chicks have hatched. Alternatively, you can move the nest box to ground level now - that is what I would do. Even if she hatches the chicks out in the elevated nest, she will move the chicks to a ground-level nest after they hatch, so it makes sense to move the nest to ground level now. I would definitely not move the nest during the hatching process or even within a couple days beforehand.
     
  4. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

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    Hatching in the midst of the rest of the flock is risky, especially if any newly-hatched chicks venture out from under the hen while she's hatching the rest of the clutch. This exposes the helpless chick to the other flock members, who may kill and eat the chick(s). I recommend isolating the hen from the rest of the flock (but within sight of them) during incubation, hatching, and for 4 to 7 days post-hatch. This gives the hen an opportunity to hatch out the chicks in peace, and gives the chicks time to gain strength and bond with the hen. After this, the hen can then integrate the chicks into the flock.

    The chicks do not need a ramp to get out of the nest. They will jump out of the nest to follow the hen, although I recommend a ground-level nest (see above post).

    Provide chick starter at ground level for the hen and chicks. The rest of the flock can eat this as well. Provide water at ground level for the hen and chicks, so the hen can teach them to drink.

    I don't let hens free-range with their chicks unless the chicks are at least 1 week old, the weather is mild, and the ground & ground-level vegetation are dry. It's very easy for chicks to get chilled when they get wet. Also, if the hen is not really attentive to the chicks, she can wear them out when free-ranging, so it may be wise to limit the extent of free-ranging that she does if this is an issue. As the chicks get a bit older (3 to 4 weeks), they typically have no issues with keeping up with the hen.

    It will typically take a few days for the chicks to learn how to use the coop ramp, so you will probably have to help them the first few days. Getting up the ramp is more of an issue for the chicks than getting down.
     
    Soto Hobby Farm likes this.
  5. Soto Hobby Farm

    Soto Hobby Farm In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Great info thank you!
     
  6. Soto Hobby Farm

    Soto Hobby Farm In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Victoria, BC, Canada
     
  7. Soto Hobby Farm

    Soto Hobby Farm In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Hmmm, new issue. I went to let the chickens out this morning and I found one dead on the ground! Now I only have 2 chickens and a rooster (one of them is the one setting eggs). I’m not sure why the chicken died but she definitely wasn’t as healthy looking as the others. And she had some feathers lost that I treated with DE... they were growing back. I don’t want the chicks to be exposed to any illness. Can I clean the coop somehow while the hen is still in there setting on the eggs?
     
  8. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

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    Be sure to inspect the hen for any signs of external injuries in case a predator found its way into the coop. Also, be sure to check for any signs of lice or mites, as these can easily kill chicks. Any parasite issue should be addressed before the chicks hatch, and you'd probably need something stronger and more effective than DE.

    She won't be happy about you cleaning the coop, but the disturbance may not be enough to chase her off the nest, especially if you're able to drape an old bed sheet over the nest box so she can't see what's going on.
     
    Soto Hobby Farm likes this.
  9. Soto Hobby Farm

    Soto Hobby Farm In the Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2018
    Victoria, BC, Canada
    Thank you! I didn’t notice either but what would you suggest for mites or lice?
     
  10. song of joy

    song of joy Crowing

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    I'm not sure what's best, as I've never treated for either. Check out the other forums, as I'm sure there are good recommendations on when and how to treat. Just be sure you've correctly identified the issue before treating it.
     
    Soto Hobby Farm likes this.

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