Naughty Bantam Mother is driving me nuts!

Chicken D's mom

In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 17, 2009
I have my new baby chick inside of a brooder box with its mom in the house.

It's very cold out in the coop. We brought mom & baby in the house to be hatched during a blizzard.

I've given my chick "Medicated Chick starter" and provided water, but mom keeps making a huge mess in the brooder and throwing the chick starter all over, kicking bedding in the water and all over baby, stepping on baby, kicking baby...being a pain in the @$$.

I tried to give mom her own food..."Complete Chicken", but she throws that all over too, and I don't want baby eating that.

I tried to put them back out in the coop yesterday, but the rooster wants to get in the brooder with baby & eat the "Chick Starter".
The coop is not very accomodating to such a small chick because of Long "Step ups" into the coop and to water source etc...

I got too nervous and brought mom & baby back in.

Will the "Chick Starter (Medicated) be harmful to the hen? Will "Complete chicken" all purpose chicken feed be harmful to baby?

Should I throw mom back out in the coop and use a heat lamp to raise baby?
Should I put them both back out in the coop, baby in brooder and let mom have free will access to the baby? I have a heat lamp in the coop, but the baby has been in the house since it was born. I'm afraid it will freeze. It's supposed to be 14 degrees tonite.

Please help.
If she is causing such a mess I would put mom back outside. The chicks will be fine left in the brooder without mom. Just keep on the heat lamp 95 degrees week one and drop the temp 5 degrees every week. You can put a feather duster or stuffed animal in the brooder to keep the chicks company like mom would. Or if you really want to keep mom and chicks together chick starter will be ok for mom to eat. You don't want the chicks eating the layer feed, that will hurt them. When they are a little bigger and get around more you can put them in the coop. Just put something in the coop so the chicks can hind under or behind just incase the older chickens want to peck at them. It is safer for the older chickens to eat starter then it is for the younger to eat layer.
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My broody hens always eat medicated chick starter along with their babies. It won't hurt her.

It's perfectly normal for the mother to be making a big mess. My only idea for that is to give her a bigger area to make a mess in! I say that because then maybe the waterer would stay marginally cleaner. You could also lift the waterer up on a small block to keep it out of the bedding. It might help. Obviously not too high, or the chick won't be able to reach it.

I've often noticed that mother hens kick their babies as they are scratching around, trying to teach the babies to hunt for food in the dirt. I've never had a chick actually harmed by this. Then again, my broodies and babies are always outside, so there is more room for scratching, and for escaping.

I don't know what to tell you about putting them out in the coop. I have no experience in that area, never having brought a broody hen inside. Or ever having hatched eggs in really cold weather...
Okay, thanks for the advice. I took baby and mom and put them in a smaller brooder, and took that out to the coop. It's a little warmer today and under the heat lamp in the coop it's 50 degrees.

I used a smaller brooder that would be harder for the rooster to get into and I also gave him his own "Chick starter"... and put rocks in the bottom of the brooder so he won't tip it over. (I use plastic storage totes for nesting boxes and brooders. Easy to clean and works great. Plus if you need to move them, snap on the lid and go!)

Now they all seem very happy!!! Baby can't get out to eat the regular chicken feed, but mom can. I put the waterer on one of the rocks. And I put a thermometer in the brooder to see how cold it gets. I'm thinking once I close up the coop tonite mom & the heat lamp will keep baby nice and toasty.

If not I can put a lid on them & bring them back in.

I've never observed a hen with her baby before...I suppose she doesn't mean to be rough.
Don't put a heat lamp on mom and baby. IF you're taking the baby only, then it's fine for heat, otherwise Mom will keep the baby plenty warm enough.

Mom might be making a big mess because she is PO'd because she is confined and indoors. I've had tiny free range banty hens hatch 6-8 chicks in the middle of winter (down to 10F at night) and they all did great. They'd be out scratching and roaming at 7am when it was barely 20 degrees outside, and run back to mom to warm up if they got chilled.
Mom can eat medicated chick starter, no problem...she won't resume laying until she's "weaned" her chick anyway.
Ya, I need to get rid of that heat's been out there since before Christmas when we had well below 0 weather and my roo's comb frostbit.

When it started warming up, Suzie, my hen picked the nesting box under the heat lamp to lay her eggs. So I left it there. It's a few feet away and is used to generally warm the coop, not like you would put on a brooder.

Suzie is a Japanese Bantam which I have heard is not too cold tolerant...I figured that's why she liked the warmer nesting box, but I don't know for sure. I'm learning as I go.

I also thought mom was PO'd. I've never seen her behave like that before.
Anyway, they all seem very happy right now:)

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