My First Attempt!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by JadeMurphy, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. JadeMurphy

    JadeMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2011
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    Hi all,

    I have two lovely hybrid free-range hens, Dotty & Chick, that cater for my family's egg needs.

    I bought a rooster a few months back for, what I must admit, seemed to be no particular reason. I wanted to try & hatch chicks, but just before buying Optimus Prime The Rooster (named by my young brothers!) the 'chicken man' told me that due to many different reasons we would probably not get a broody hen or any natural hatchlings this year.

    However, it is now day 7 of incubation of 2 eggs, which is being done by the younger hen of the two. From what I know via googling & asking questions she is doing everything perfect. I am planning to candle the eggs later today & am slightly excited & apprehensive at the same time!
    I decided to limit to 2 eggs just because both me & mother hen are inexperienced, and as silly as it sounds did not want the responsibility of many chicken lives. I do have an incubator if things happen to go wrong & I am able to save them.

    What I really wanted to know was:

    Can I leave the mother hen & eggs/chicks in the coop with the other two?
    There has been no problem so far, the other hen has left her to it & is now laying in a different place. Will the cockerel or hen try to kill or eat any chicks once they are here?
    I haven't got another run sorted, & it will be quite difficult for me to get one. If it is a possibility, I would much rather leave them together.

    The coop we have in an Eglu Cube, it is not ground level & there is a very gappy ramp up into the coop. The cage door is only shut during the night, and the door at the top of the ramp to inside the coop is never shut. I am in the process of making two boards for inside (as the floor is quite gappy) & a safe ramp for any chicks, but do you think this will be sufficient?

    Any comments/help would be very much appreciated!
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2011
  2. JadeMurphy

    JadeMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2011
    England
    Does anybody have any ideas?
     
  3. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    It can work but it's harder. Usually the mom will protect the chicks from everyone else but not always.
    What I don't like is it's hard to give the proper feed to the chick cause everyone else wants the starter.
    The egglu probably isn't big enough to fence in the nest and leave enough room around it for food, water and poop space for the broody without crowding the other birds?
     
  4. JadeMurphy

    JadeMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2011
    England
    If it's a possibility then I'm going to try and leave them in the coop then. However, we do have a utility room that the chicks could come into if mom doesn't defend them or they find it too difficult.
    The eglu can comfortably house eight birds though, and we have three in there, so if I use my imagination I could split it I think. If I were to shut the house door and leave mother & chicks inside, is a crate with hay sat outside on the grass warm enough for the other hen & rooster overnight?

    I didn't even think about any stealing of chicks food/water!

    Thanks.
     
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Quote:I have a broody now with 14 eggs under her(i'm getting greedy).
    I plan on putting her in her own space this week in another building (hopefully it won't upset her too much.)

    Quote:I would try to divide it. That's what I did the first time. There are 4 nest boxes and she was in the last one so I corralled the corner of the coop and all 13 eggs that were under her became chickens.
    The next time 2 hens wanted to share the eggs in a smaller coop with 11 chickens and it didn't go as well. Too much crowding and most got crushed when they started to hatch, 3 eventually became chicks and only one survived.

    Quote:Warmth isn't the issue unless you are on one of the poles - where are you?
    The only reason they need a coop is to be predator proof and dry.
    Though I don't recommend it, I've had 2 week old chicks escape and survive in the woods at night when the temps got into the 50s and show up the next morning.

    Quote:They prefer the chick starter to the layer pellets. One option is to feed everyone starter and give oyster shell free choice so the hens can get added calcium.
    That's when the chicks can get hurt when they try to eat and the hens are gobbling their food.
     
  6. openheartnp

    openheartnp Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 25, 2011
    Green Twp, NJ
    I'm no expert at hatching eggs, but I have been reading on this awesome forum about snakes and other things that like to get in and take them. How predator-proof are you?
     
  7. JadeMurphy

    JadeMurphy Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 30, 2011
    England
    http://www.omlet.co.uk/products_services/products_services.php?cat=Eglu+Cube

    Above is a link for the cube, but we have an extension on ours so the run is another section longer.

    We are in Worcestershire in the England. Adders and other snakes are around somewhere, but I've never seen any in our village, let alone around the coop & I'm constantly outside & work with wildlife. There is a working fox den on our land though, and vixen has stolen chickens from outside the coop before. It's been perfect so far when it comes to being predator proof - so that's not an issue.

    If we only have three birds in a decent sized coop, crowding will hopefully not be an issue? The other hen & rooster are out during the day, and if, just if, both eggs hatch, mother hen & chicks would be kept in (when I say in, I mean that the outer door would be locked, they would still be able to move inside & outside) during the day. The only time they would be locked in together is during the night.

    I'm on a roll here...

    I could shut the inside door for the night, leaving mother and chicks inside with their food and water (inside is big enough for everybody to walk around), and put a makeshift home in the run for the other two, leaving them with the run & original feeding stations.

    I think I have this nailed!!

    Thanks everyone [​IMG]
     
  8. ki4got

    ki4got Hatch-a-Holic

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    Roanoke VA
    Quote:They prefer the chick starter to the layer pellets. One option is to feed everyone starter and give oyster shell free choice so the hens can get added calcium.
    That's when the chicks can get hurt when they try to eat and the hens are gobbling their food.

    i would say when the chicks come, make an area where momma and the others can't get to but the chicks can... a kind of creep feeder for the chickies. then you can leave food there 24x7 for them but the adults wouldn't get it.
     
  9. Bugg

    Bugg Out Of The Brooder

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    Quote:This idea has worked for me:
    Try using a small piece of chain link fence or wire fence with 3" openings to section off a small area. Put the starter feed in that area. The new chicks can go in and out but the larger chicks and grown hens can't. The mother doesn't need to get to the starter feed either.

    At night I put my chicks into a dog cage that has extra wire around it to protect against preditors.

    good luck, Bugg
     

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