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New Mom Hen and Chicks need ..what?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by horseandgardenfarm, Jun 25, 2011.

  1. horseandgardenfarm

    horseandgardenfarm New Egg

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Hello,
    One of our Buff Orpinton's has ( today or yesterday) hatched her baby chicks. She brooded in a small nesting box in our small coop ( 8'x12') ; the box is about 2' off the ground.
    She regularly shares the coop with 5 others layers and a rooster -- and temporarily there are 12x 2 mo. old chicks visiting for another month.

    Are Mama and babies ok at 2' off the ground?
    Is her 12" x12" nesting box too small to raise her family?
    Will the other birds bother the new chicks?
    Should I make a nesting area on the floor( say a box covered with chicken wire) so she is on the ground and babes are closer to food?

    The coop has a chicken door open to a large grassy enclosure --all birds come in at night and that door is shut.
    Will she take the young chicks out there soon?
    I'm not worried about other predators -ie rats, but should I be?

    Anywho, lots of questions.
    Any insight would be appreciated.
    Thanks!

    Not sure how to add this the 'right' way but I see others itemizing their critters. So...
    4 BO, 2 Chantecler mixed breeds, one BO Rooster, 2 cats ( mother and son), 2 dogs ( father and daughter), 2 horses - one TB off the track, one TB/Percheron cross.
    Wwoofers, interns, big organic vegetable gardens!
     
  2. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Mansfield, MO
    I have a mama hen with her four chicks in a separate fenced off area right now but..........I have had hens hatch chicks and they stick right with her freely in the coop. She will take them anywhere she wants to go and they will follow. she should be very protective of them. I wouldn't keep them off the ground like that. I have had the same experience and the chicks have fallen out and others pecked it to death since mom stayed with her other chicks. Years ago they didn't keep them separate from flock so I would put her down with them either in a fenced off area or just let her take care of them in the coop. Nothing is written is stone.
     
  3. Enslaved-by-Ducks

    Enslaved-by-Ducks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2011
    Dear Newegg,
    That box is way too small for them to be in. For the first couple of days, it would be ok but you must relocate them and mom so she can have her time to teach them to eat, and without any interuption from other birds. They will also want to run about and explore the territory with mom and the other birds and especially the rooster will possibly kill the babys. Find a area about 5ft. X 5ft. and cover the top with wire and have a enclosed makeshift coop just for mom and her babys. Mom will need to have the new babys to herself while raising them. When mom is ready to move on, which could be a matter of a few weeks, she will leave the makeshift coop and join the others. Sometimes after the mom leaves, she will no longer care for the babys or have anything to do with them, and they will have to fend for themselves. Do not allow the babys to run around with the adults until they are fully featherd and grown. about 2-3 months. Chicks learn how to eat on their own in just a few days with the help from mom. Some mothers will stay with her babys for weeks but some for just a few days....other hens will want to take over mothering and that's ok but only keep that one mother with the babys. Do not allow more than one....best of luck and if you need any other advice, I will glady help. Have a great day with your new brood...[​IMG]-----and definetaly remove them from higher areas from the floor...they can fall out and you will loose them to foul-play.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Are Mama and babies ok at 2' off the ground?

    I've seen broodies get their chicks down from a 10 foot high hay loft. Mama says jump and they do. None were injured. I would not worry about 2 feet.

    Is her 12" x12" nesting box too small to raise her family?

    She will not raise her family in there. She will bring them out to join the rest of the flock when she feels it is time for them to eat and drink. Most of my broodies sleep on the floor in a corner of the coop, but I did have one that took them back into the nest for the night. That nest was about 14" off the floor. The first couple of nights some of the chicks had trouble getting up there, so it will probably be a good idea to check on them at bedtime to see where Mama took them and make sure you don't have cheeping chicks that did not make it with Mama, but that has only been a problem one time, and that was not a very intelligent broody. She did manage to raise them though.

    Will the other birds bother the new chicks?

    They are living animals and anything can happen. You could write a book on what could happen. Usually Mama has such a bad attitude that the other chickens quickly learn to leave her chicks alone. Usually means most of the time, but there can be exceptions. A good rooster looks after all members of his flock. Not all roosters are good, but I have never seen a rooster try to harm a chick. I have seen roosters help take care of the chicks, but remember, not all roosters are good. Hens are more of a threat than the rooster, but hens are not always a problem. Sometimes another hen bothering a chick is perfectly acceptable. It teaches them chicken etiquette, but sometimes it can be dangerous.

    Hens have been raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. Usually it works out great, but occasionally bad things happen. I cannot tell you what specifically will happen in your case.

    Should I make a nesting area on the floor( say a box covered with chicken wire) so she is on the ground and babes are closer to food?

    You can if you wish. She might even use it, or she might just want themn to sleep on the ground in a corner of the coop.

    The coop has a chicken door open to a large grassy enclosure --all birds come in at night and that door is shut.
    Will she take the young chicks out there soon?


    Probably. You need to have food and water where the chicks can get it. That can be in the coop or outside. Mama should take the chicks to the food and water.

    The way I do it is, after Mama brings them off the nest, I lock them in an enclosure for a day or so. This way, they can learn to eat and drink without interference from the older chickens. I find that my older chickens consider anything not in their feeder but someplace else a special treat, even if it is the same feed. So they like to wipe out the feed I put near the ground for the chicks before the chicks can get to it. After the day or so in isolation, I let them run with the rest of the flock. I use this to put their feed under so the other chickens cannot wipe it out. After a couple of weeks it is not necessary, but for the first two weeks, I think it helps.
    [​IMG]

    By the way, when I have a mixed age flock, they all get Starter or Grower with oyster shell on the side. This way the ones that need the calcium for the eggs get it and the growing chicks don't get the extra calcium that can harm them.

    I'm not worried about other predators -ie rats, but should I be?

    I just worry about the normal predators and make sure they are safely locked in a predator proof place at night. If you have problems you will need to deal with it, but I would not get too worried about it without a specific experience.

    Not sure how to add this the 'right' way but I see others itemizing their critters. So...
    4 BO, 2 Chantecler mixed breeds, one BO Rooster, 2 cats ( mother and son), 2 dogs ( father and daughter), 2 horses - one TB off the track, one TB/Percheron cross.
    Wwoofers, interns, big organic vegetable gardens!


    If you go to "Profile" at the top of the page, you can add signatures and all kinds of good information to your display. One thing I suggest is to give us an idea of your location. Not your specific street address, obviously, but an idea of what your climate might be like. That does help in a lot of cases.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Enslaved-by-Ducks

    Enslaved-by-Ducks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 22, 2011
    I love this forum because there so many folks with every different kind of advice. I trust this site and it's subscribers. I have had chicks and ducks for 5 years now and every flock is different in that it all depends on their environment. If you have chickens cooped up 24/7 in a small coop without any stimulation, you will have major problems with behavior however, if you provide a variety of stimuli, freeranging, ladders, large tree branches to jump on, ect....the more stimulation,m the better behaved flock I have found. So, it all depends on you. I have never let my chicks run with the adults at that young of age only because I wouldn't or had no desire to have a adult kill or harm the chicks. I had three Roosters who would attack my chicks and had to remove the Roosters from the flock until the chicks were fully grown and then I allowed the roos to come back in. Only then did I feel comfortable. Every one has their own method of raising their flock and we all have different experiences. You will just have to study your flock and know when to intervene...Thanks.
     
  6. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

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    Mansfield, MO
    Quote:You are so right, we all need to remind our selves that nothing is written in stone and we are only offering advice based on each of our experiences. [​IMG]
    Edited to add Welcome, Enslaved-by-ducks, in case I hadn't given you a welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
  7. horseandgardenfarm

    horseandgardenfarm New Egg

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    Jun 25, 2011
    Thank you all for the helpful advice!
    My mama hen and her four chicks are fine and hanging out with the whole flock. They haven't been outside yet ( the door is open but Mama hasn't taken them out).
    But they are eating and drinking. All the other birds seem to be respectful of the little ones ( so far) or perhaps Mama is just sending out the protection vibe.
    I did put up a simple ramp the first day and I believe they used this to get down from the 2' high nesting box.
    All is well and it's such a treat to have baby chicks! First time ever!
    Thanks
     

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