New baby chicks born in woods - what do I do now?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kbird, Jun 13, 2010.

  1. kbird

    kbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Galena, Maryland
    We allowed one of our hens to sit on a clutch of about 18 eggs just a few feet from my husband's workshop in the woods. Unfortunately, the nest is in a huge patch of poison ivy. It had been what seemed like more than 3 weeks since she began sitting on them, so I wasn't sure they were going to hatch. I had planned to take her off the eggs this weekend. I went out this morning to check on her, only to find about 15 baby chicks!!

    Is it ok to let mom and babies stay in the woods and free range? Can the chicks eat the Layena Crumbles that mom eats? I would like to leave them all alone and just let nature take it's course, but I realize I might lose some of them. Any advice would be appreciated!!
     
  2. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Leave em, and mamma will bring them to the coop soon, probably in the next day or so... She should be able to protect them, but there's some risk both from predators during the next night or so, and from the other hens when she does bring them in. It's what I've done with this sort of thing and never had trouble with it, but you know your hens and the dangers of your area best.

    If want to get them, you go out tonight after dark, (wearing gloves and long pants and sleeves to protect from the poison ivy.... making sure strip carefully afterward and you wash EVERYTHING in moderately warm (NOT HOT) water as soon as you're done, not mixing that stuff with other laundry) go in after dark and gather the family all up and put them in a safe spot, separate from the other hens, but where they can all see each other.

    Personally, I'd try leaving them and see how it all goes, but that's just my choice. Try to get her to settle them in a nest in the coop somewhere where you can protect them from predators, and let her deal with the rest of the flock.

    For chick feed, you build a little A frame 'shed' that a chick feeder will fit under, and that the chicks can get under to eat, but not hens. I really need to build a new one and post pictures of it... my old one is long gone to the burn pile.
     
  3. kbird

    kbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 23, 2010
    Galena, Maryland
    PortageGirl,

    Thank you for the advice!! That makes me feel better. I'm soooo worried about those babies! Do you think the chicks need that special medicated feed? I read somewhere that they do. We have one of those large dog crates. I'll try to get them in there with some food and water with the mother hen. Thanks again, and I'll keep posting and keep you up to date :)
     
  4. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Olympia, WA
    I don't use medicated feed for my chicks, but I do keep some Corid on hand in case I have an outbreak of cocci. The chicks shouldn't be eating the layer feed though, it has too much calcium in it for their little bodies and that can cause organ faliure down the road. I feed my whole flock gamebird (20-22%) or flockraiser and put oyster shell out free choice for the layers so I don't have to worry about one group getting into the other groups feed.
     
  5. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    The babies will need starter or start/grow combination..for at last the first 4 weeks. after that you can switch them and the mommy to flock raiser...NO LAYER FOOD UNTIL THEY ARE ATLEAST 16 WEEKS OF AGE.
     
  6. keetsms

    keetsms Out Of The Brooder

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    Dry Ridge, KY
    I agree the protein content in the Layena is too low for chicks. Flock Raiser is a better choice if you want unmedicated feed. Good Luck.
     
  7. Three Cedars Silkies

    Three Cedars Silkies Overrun With Chickens

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    Gainesville, Fl.
    I can't even imagine how mama managed not to get eaten during the time she was incubating those eggs in the woods!! Maybe we have more predators than you have, but if they were at my place, they wouldn't survive one or two nights.

    I would bring them in TONIGHT!! As mentioned, pick them all up and put them in a extra large plastic storage container with mama until you can build them a safe coop. JMO... [​IMG]
     
  8. jojo@rolling acres farm

    [email protected] acres farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2009
    Nebraska
    I agree with the post above about bringing them in PRONTO. There is no way a hen can protect herself and/or her chicks from a coon, a dog or whatever. I can't believe she's survived this long.

    Good Luck - when you go and gather them up to bring them in - I hope they're all still there. 15/18 is a really good hatch. I hope they're safe and sound.
     
  9. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They survive by being very silent while sitting on a nest, with eggs or chicks, and have done so for centuries after all! I agree it's crazy that they can do it, but they CAN do it. My chickens free range so the whole area smells like chicken and predators don't always isolate one hen hunkered down under the bushes. That being said, it's still not exactly an ideal thing and bringing them in may well be the smart thing to do. NOW I have few enough hens that I'd notice it immediately if one went AWOL, but back in the day, it was difficult to impossible to keep track of my crazy girls!
     
  10. kbird

    kbird Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Galena, Maryland
    Thankfully, my hen and her new chicks are working their way closer to the coop. One more question...I was thinking about buying the medicated feed for the chicks. Is it ok if mama and the other chickens happen to eat some of it? Will it harm them in any way?

    So far all of the chicks have survived being free range on our farm during the night. I put crumbles and water near the coop and will move it closer each day, hoping she will go in there with her babies. I might also try just herding the hen in there, but don't want to stress her out too much! Our roo and the 2 other hens aren't taking much notice of the chicks, so that's a good thing [​IMG]

    Thanks again to everyone for your advice!!
     

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