Moving hen and new baby chicks


6 Years
May 31, 2013
Today our baby chicks are hatching! We’re first timers and have only had our coop since the summer. Four Orpintons. One went broody so we got her some fertile eggs of the same breed.

They are in a raised hen house with a steep ramp to the ground that is also enclosed. The three other hens come and go into the boxes to lay eggs. The only way I can safely block off the mother and her chicks for a few days (weeks?) until they grow would be to move them father back into the hen house. Is it safe to move the baby chicks? Will the mother follow and care for them? Does she need to go outside once they are all hatched or can she just stay inside with them? There is plenty of room to walk and poop.

If anyone can walk me through the first few days or weeks of this I'd appreciate it.

Once all the eggs hatch, the mama should be fine to move somewhere else with her chicks. Make sure your cage or area keeps the chicks enclosed and safe.

At what point in the day or how many hours after the first chick emerges can I assume any other eggs won't hatch if they have not already?
If the other hens aren't broody, I wouldn't bother moving them. Momma will keep the chicks safe from the bigger group, and she won't take them out until they can run fairly well anyway. As long as the ramp has a rough surface so they can grip as they walk, run, or hop up, they'll learn how to get up and down the ramp with no problem. She'll show them.

The only real issue with keeping the chicks and momma hen separate, is if other broody hens try to squeeze into the same nest. They often step on the chicks in an attempt to get comfortable with another full-grown hen in the same box.

Also, if there wasn't a ramp, and the chicks could get down onto the ground but not back up into the coop, momma hen would find a quiet corner on the ground and start nesting them there. She likely won't abandon the babies just because they can't hop back up.
Cool. Now the issue is one chick has hatched (24 hours ago) and the other eggs which I can't see, have not hatched. Will she eventually abandon the nest for this one baby chick when the others haven't hatched?
Yes, trust her instincts. She will move when she is sure there are no more that will hatch, and it is time to feed her new babies. Make sure that they have access to a low feeder and waterer.
I have to say this new mother hen business can be quite stressful, but what a relief when everything goes well, as well as can be expected I guess. Out of eight eggs only three hatched, only one was a full egg unhatched—I shook it and it was liquid inside—the others were decimated, four of which I could find almost no trace between the muck and poop the hen had been sitting on the whole time. She was a trooper though, she really never left her nest in three weeks and only ate little bites and drank some water I had put within reach.

Once the first chick hatched I was nervous about when, and if, other’s would. I think it took a day and a half. She sat still for a full two days before finally this morning she wobbled up and moved out of her nest. I could then clean it out and move her and her chicks over to another nest where they can all walk around a bit. I suppose she will be weak for a day or two. I remember once being hospitalized where I couldn’t get out of bed for three weeks and boy I sure couldn’t walk very far the first few days!

The three chicks are healthy and soooo cute!

Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement, not having experienced this before it’s amazing how simple and straightforward it can be. Now I’m crossing my finger they are all hens!
Hi, I have a momma setting. and I heard chirps this morning. She is in a coop with 3 other chickens and a rooster. Do I have to worry about them killing the chicks? I ask because in the past when i had a hen sitting, I found a dead chick in the coop.

Is it better to isolate them away from the rest of the chickens? When is the best time to move her? Can I move her during the day? I've heard it is better at night. I have another area to put her that she can be with the chicks by herself.

Becca G
this is funny. i was trying to help someone on backyard chickens, so I look up on google if mama and chicks can move... guess where they brought me? back to backyard chickens! Thanks for the help and now i'll go back and tell her what i found. Haha!
Thanks again!

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