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Need help!!! Question about a mom and her baby outside in the cold...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hmt007, Oct 9, 2014.

  1. hmt007

    hmt007 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 6, 2014
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    I am a "newbie" and the winter is starting here in MA. I have 4 younger silkies (3-8 months old), and 2 days ago took a silkie mom, her week old chick and her fertile eggs home. The 4 silkies huddle together in the coop, but the mom will not leave the brood box with the eggs and her baby. I am so scared that without huddling with the others she and her baby are going to freeze to death. It is still in the 60's during the day but this week will get into the 30's at night. The coop is draft free but just set up this week, so not a lot of organic material to raise the temp inside the coop yet.

    [​IMG]


    I was thinking of doing the snugglesafe in the egg box, or possibly taking her and the baby inside for the winter. Any suggestions would be appreciated....I am an absolute nervous wreck right now!!
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    You really need to isolate that newest addition...the mama silkie and her chick...from your existing flock. You just never know if any unknown disease/illness they might be carrying, so it's best to be on the safe side for the sake of your existing flock.

    Is there any way you can cordon off an area in the coop with chicken wire so that they can be in the coop with the rest of them but not interacting with each other? They would need their own waterer/feeder.

    I live in snow country, too, but don't get as brutally cold as you do in Maine. I'm using pine wood shavings on the floor of my coop. Right now it's about 4-6" deep, but plan on adding-to throughout the winter. COLD is not their enemy....poor ventilation and humidity is. Chickens do well down to as low as -20 (I'm not familiar with silkies however). You just don't want any direct drafts on them, but you DO want good air circulation. If you see any condensation/moisture on the windows/walls of your coop, there's too much humidity in there...crack a window a little bit til you get it adjusted right.

    I see from your pic that you do not have a covered run area for them. Living in Maine that is a MUST-have for keeping snow out of the run. If you 'wrap' the run with some heavy-duty plastic sheeting to keep the wind and snow off of them your girls will be able to escape the confines of the coop and get some fresh air most days.
    [​IMG]

    I wish you well in getting things ready for the upcoming winter. If you have any more questions please ask!!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2014
  3. Aime137

    Aime137 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 29, 2012
    Loxahatchee, FL
    I am surprised she is staying on the eggs. My hens will leave any eggs that haven't hatched by the time the first chick is about 2 days old. When are the other eggs due to hatch?
    As long as she can snuggle down in the nest box, in a draft free coop, she should be fine. You could give her a heat lamp, just so you can rest easy. :) If you do though, make sure it is secured well so you don't burn the coop down. The chick will keep warm by snuggling up to mamma hen.
    When I have a momma hen with chicks, I keep them safely separated from the rest of the flock for a couple of months. The new hatches can get badly hurt from the pecks from older chickens.
     
  4. hmt007

    hmt007 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 6, 2014
    Massachusetts
    Thank you for all of the great advice!! They all came from the same farm a week apart so I am not too worried about disease. The run is in the process of getting made and will hopefully be done by the weekend. The coop is very ventilated and draft free...sealed every possible crack and open area. My BIGGEST worry is the lone mom and baby staying warm not being near the rest of the flock......:(
     
  5. Aime137

    Aime137 Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 29, 2012
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    I think I would probably run a heat lamp out there. The other chickens attacking the chick is a very real concern. I've seen what chickens can do to a young baby and "it aint pretty". It's a good idea to keep them safely separated for about 6 weeks or so.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    And my advice is the exact opposite. I'm an advocate of leaving momma and babies with the flock, so they all grow up together. This completely avoids any big integration issues, the chicks are just there.

    I've had birds roost in trees in the winter, on separate branches so there was no snuggling involved. They lasted 2 winters here before I cooped them. True, my weather isn't extreme, but it got below zero and we had some spectacular wind and rain storms, along with normal snow fall. My birds and their toes were all fine. I dislike heat lamps for a variety of reasons, fire being the largest.

    I think it was Canoe Chicken who posted pics last spring of baby chicks running around in below freezing temps. Those birds are a lot hardier than we give them credit for, even silkies.
     
  7. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Totally agree with you @donrae Using a heat lamp in the coop in winter can spell doom for your flock....
    [​IMG]

    12 chicks and 8 hens were lost in this heat-lamp-related fire
     

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