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New chicks - Now What!???

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Stephanie-n-Hayden, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Songster

    Aug 15, 2009
    I am a first-timer with all of this. I have learned so much from all of you all here that when I realized I had 4 new hatched chicks on my hands, I came straight to you all!! HELP! [​IMG]

    My 6 month old banty hen went broody toward the end of Sept. and started sitting on her eggs. My RIR has been laying all summer, one big brown egg a day, and the banty hen has laid one small white egg each day. All of a sudden, she started sitting on them and would not get up. Finally, after reading all of your all's posts, I started picking her up off the nest and getting her to eat and drink some each day. She was originally sitting on 13 eggs, half of her own and half of the RIR's. Crazy. My one and only rooster came up missing one day while we were gone (may you rest in peace Ricky, we miss you so [​IMG]). He was a young banty too so I wasn't sure if he had "done the deed" with the hens yet. Everyone I had talked to said he was too young to fertilize eggs yet. They also said that I wouldn't want chicks at this time of year do to the cold (I live in KY). So, after he died, I decided to try candling her eggs to see if I could tell if any were fertilized. [​IMG] The big brown one's (RIR) were not. But I couldn't see into the lil ones as well, and by this time there was only 5 of those left. So, in hopes that Ricky Roo's legacy may live on in a baby chick, I numbered the eggs and put them back into the nest with her. I was planning on tossing them out the end of Oct. if they hadn't hatched, and I really didn't think they would.

    I went out this morning to clean up in the coop as I do each weekend. When I entered, I saw some broken eggs and heard the tell-tail signs of babies. Sure enough, the eggs had hatched over the last couple of days and she has four chicks underneath her. [​IMG] One was on the floor dead, I assume it had fell out of the nest box (which sits about 3 feet off the ground) and got too cold over the night. Another was on the floor, so I put it back in there with her.

    So, here is my question...
    What do I do now. Here is what I have observed so far....
    1. She is sitting on them keeping them warm.
    2. I was afraid more would fall out and die so I moved her nest to a crate on the floor of the coop and placed food and water close by to make it easier for her to drink and eat without leaving her chicks. Do you think she will take to the new nest alright?
    3. I assume I will need to get starter feed for the chicks to eat, right?
    4. I have a Silky hen and a RIR hen in the coop as well. Will they hurt the chicks? What do I need to do about that?
    5. Will the chicks learn to eat and drink on thier own by watching momma?
    6. I put a heat lamp in there in the corner where the new nest is so they have a warm place during the night when they get too big to stay under momma.
    7. It looks like they have been nibbling on her comb! Is this normal? What do I do about that? [​IMG]

    Please help me. I really want these babies to be okay, as well as my hens. I will do what ever is best, if I just knew what that was!

    Thanks for all of your help. Your advice is much needed and very welcomed here!

    Unsure but Excited,
    Stephanie [​IMG]

  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

    Jul 9, 2009
    Northern CA
    My Coop
    In my limited experience........

    Good thing you moved her. Is she high in pecking order? If not, I'd probably put her in a dog crate within the coop so others don't bother her and the chicks. If she's top hen, then they probably won't mess with her. (haven't done this myself, just my observations watching my flock interact)

    Yes, chick starter and it's okay if mom eats it too.

    Momma will teach them to eat and drink, and she will keep them warm. No heat lamp needed. They have a nice cozy down blanket to run under whenever they get cold.

    The comb may be the other chickens trying to bother her, not the chicks.
  3. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Songster

    Jul 19, 2009
    Southern Illinois
    Congrats on your new babies! You did a good job of moving them to their new ground floor accommodations. Mom will usually do a good job of protecting them, but if you are worried, you can move the new family into a crate or pen.
    Can you post any pics?
  4. Chickn chick 46

    Chickn chick 46 Songster

    May 22, 2009
    Congrats on your new babies! and sorry about your roo [​IMG] I'll try to help you as best as I can.

    You said you moved momma and babies to a crate. Is it a cage of some type? Heres my experience with my broody when she hatched eggs in the nest. I moved her and her babies out of the coop and kept them in my greenhouse in a dog crate. They will need chick feed, I didn't use medicated but that was my choice. Momma hen will teach them everything they need to know about eating and drinking, most hens are excellent moms.

    Not sure about the comb picking but I noticed that my chicks would pick at momma hens eyes [​IMG] Ouch!

    They will be fine with her, don't worry. So glad you had some hatch. Can you post pictures? We all love pictures of new babies here [​IMG] And lastly, enjoy them! They are fun to watch grow up
  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    Aug 25, 2008
    First and foremost- CONGRATULATIONS! [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] Ricky lives on!

    And second, you are doing things right, except for worrying so much! If possible, put mama and chicks in a crate or fence off an area where the other hens are stiil there but can't get to them. Even just some chicken wire to keep them apart. Put out starter for mama and the chicks- chicks should not have layer feed, but mama can eat starter. You don't need the heat lamp as of yet.

    Great job! [​IMG]

    ETA: We want pics!
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2009
  6. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Quote:Yep, new2 said it about right! Mama can handle things, winter or not. [​IMG]

    Stand back and watch her for a while, see how she does with other hens, and how the other hens react to her and the chicks. Mine have always been ok with em, but this is not always the case. If theres too much agression from the others, get her and the babies out of range either by enclosing her within the coop area, or removing her AND the chicks out of their range... but other than that, let her raise em outdoors, they'll be healthier for it.
  7. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Songster

    Aug 15, 2009
    Quote:Thank you so much. From what I can tell, she is not high in the pecking order. She has always been a "shy" hen while the other two are bigger and "hang out" together more often.

  8. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Songster

    Aug 15, 2009
    Quote:It is like a milk crate. I have a pet taxi I could use if it would be best. I have kept the others outside in the run all day, and I am getting ready to go to TSC to get the stuff I need for the babies. I'll sit and observe when I return to see how the other two are going to do with the new ones, especially now that they are all on the floor.
  9. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Songster

    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    See if you can borrow or get a large dog cage/crate that has room for mamma, babies, a small waterer and some feed, and put the whole thing in the coop is my best advice if she's low on the pecking order. Once the other hens know they aren't weird chipmunks that they should attack, they'll be ok.

    You don't have to worry if mama eats the starter feed, she isn't laying anyway. the other hens that are laying eggs shouldn't eat it though if it's medicated.
  10. CHIC

    CHIC Songster

    Aug 18, 2009
    I'm a worry wort like you too so I brought my Momma and babies into the garage. I put them in the brooder. They are doing great, it is getting quite cold here too but I guess it's not that cold in the garage. If you can build a brooder or just a dog crate would work. I would bring them in if I were you since you seem so concerned. You sound just like me. I think the others are probably picking her comb. That is just my guess. This is my silkie hen with her babies on one half of the brooder.
    My 4 week olds are on the other side

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