my chicks are hatching - advise please!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by robynt, Jun 16, 2008.

  1. robynt

    robynt Hatching

    Jun 16, 2008
    We have a small, temporary coop with 8 nesting boxes (our barn burned in April, and my husband built a 4x4x4 coop for house our 5 hens and rooster until we get the new barn built). One of our hens went broody (first time for us and her) a month ago, and when we checked on them last night, the first egg was in the process of hatching. We checked again this morning and the chick is still working on hatching out.
    1) Is it normal that it takes this long? Our hens do lay VERY tough shells...
    2) One of our other hens is helping out - yesterday she retired to the nesting box and has been sitting on the eggs along with the mama hen. But, we're in a bit of a cold spell here in Massachusetts (low-60s). Should I just trust that the hen(s) will keep the chicks warm?
    3) Food and water - should I set up a chick-sized feeding station in a neighboring nest box for the chicks? Or should I take them all (with mama) and put them in a dog crate? Or should I just leave them alone with their mom in the fenced chicken run and let them forage? The run is mostly dirt and doesn't seem to have a lot of insects or other food. We usually have the chickens free-ranging in our yard, although I know we can't do this with the chicks because while we do our dog and 3 cats coexist well with the grownup chickens, I am afraid they'll eat the chicks or at least accidentally kill them if given the opportunity!
  2. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Songster

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    I've never hatched chicks before, so unfortunately I can't tell you if that's how long it normally takes for a chick to hatch.

    Yes, the hens should be able to keep them warm just fine. They've been doing it that way for years [​IMG]

    You may want to separate the hen and her chicks, I have heard that the other hens sometimes try to kill new chicks.
  3. coffeemama

    coffeemama Barista Queen

    Mar 5, 2008
    Yes the hatching is normal-I would move her after all of the eggs have hacthed, or maybe you can even set up a temp "cage" around her. We had low 50s and high 40s when my chicks hatched, and mama kept them warm. But-she only had 4 (she is bantam, they are standard).
  4. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:It can take the anywhere from 24 - 36 hours to come out of the shells. If they need help she will know what to do.

    Quote:That is a hard call. The second hen may attack the chicks as they are hatched and kill them. Then again they may share the chicks but a broody can be very picky about who gets around her babies. If you could maybe set up a temp pen to keep the others out of her nest. Then it is best for all involved. i would not move her until the hatch is finished.

    Quote:Are the nesting boxes lower where the chicks can get in and out of them easily? If not once the hatch is over move tham all to a safe place where they can get to food and water as they need it. In a couple days momma hen will take those babies out and show them off. She will teach them everything they need to know.

    Congrats on your hatch. I just had my first hands on broody in 20 yrs! [​IMG]

    Yayy for broody hens and hatching eggs.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: