Nesting box

Pawpaw&Mawmaw

In the Brooder
Jan 13, 2018
11
39
42
Hello everyone,

Got a question from a first time hen mama and a HHIC (Head Hen In Charge, ME)! Set up our coop with 12 nesting boxes when we first got our hens almost 2 years ago. Got a Buff (Molly) that went broody during bad December weather. Broke her. Molly went broody again in late February. With no roaster, I gathered 6 fertile eggs, stuffed them under Molly and she went to town being a Great sitting mama! Flash lighted a couple of eggs and So far, So good right? Problem, even with the 12 nice nesting boxes built in the coop (4 wide and 3 high), our girls have always preferred 1 of 3 plastic 12"L x 18"W x14"D boxes with pine flakes inside for laying eggs. This is where Molly is sitting on her eggs. My worry is when the chicks hatch (hopefully), how will they get out of the box without getting hurt? I've decided to let her do the raising of the chicks inside the coop with the rest of the hens (more natural that way), unless she turns out to be a bad mama and does not protect them well from the rest of the ladies. Will my chicks get hurt trying to get out of the box or (and this may sound really stupid!) will Molly help them out of the box somehow? Once the chicks are out, will she nest on the floor with them? Worried.......like a first time mama! I guess Molly and I will learn together, but hopefully not at the chicks expense!
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,499
11,299
701
Central PA
You can staple/glue a temporary cheap wood or metal stop (about four inches high) over the front of the nesting box, and then just take everyone out and let them sit in the floor after they've hatched.

She will almost certainly nest on the floor with them; I've never had one that didn't, but, of course, there are exceptions to most rules...

Even if one falls out of the nesting box, it's not a death sentence--we've had careless bantam peeps fall fifteen feet from the hay loft and then just stand there cheeping for Mamma! What I would worry about is one chick falling out and then not being able to return, while Mamma sets on his siblings. Thus, the non-permanent stop.
 

Foster's Freehold

Songster
6 Years
Jun 7, 2013
346
458
182
South Central KY
While you are waiting for the momentous event, set up an area for them on the floor. That way, their food and water is there for them and mamma. The big girls will get used to seeing them in the run. If it were me, I'd put a piece of fencing up around it, that way the big girls can't get to them. After they get up a bit bigger, you can let them out.

Even a great mamma has trouble keeping an eye on them all, so give her what help you can by separating them for a while. And save them from themselves. I have bought chicks, about 4 weeks old, but one of them is a daredevil and scoots around the run every morning. Until one of the big girls looks at her crossways, then she scuttles back to the rest. Chicks with a mamma might be braver, but there is still a risk.
 

sylviethecochin

Free Ranging
Jun 14, 2017
5,499
11,299
701
Central PA
While you are waiting for the momentous event, set up an area for them on the floor. That way, their food and water is there for them and mamma. The big girls will get used to seeing them in the run. If it were me, I'd put a piece of fencing up around it, that way the big girls can't get to them. After they get up a bit bigger, you can let them out.

Even a great mamma has trouble keeping an eye on them all, so give her what help you can by separating them for a while. And save them from themselves. I have bought chicks, about 4 weeks old, but one of them is a daredevil and scoots around the run every morning. Until one of the big girls looks at her crossways, then she scuttles back to the rest. Chicks with a mamma might be braver, but there is still a risk.

Or, depending on your flock, you might be able to let them range with the rest of the flock. Mine just ignore chicks, unless they're stupid enough to stand in the feed dish--and then, they might, at absolute worst, lose a bit of fluff to an unusually vicious hen. Maybe test reactions?

You will have to get chick feed--or just use grower and supply layer pellets on the side for the entire flock, so that the chicks can eat with the flock (sorry, I just assume you're feeding layer. Chicks shouldn't eat that, partially because of the calcium content.)
 

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