new mother's eggs are hatching...what next


14 Years
Mar 19, 2007
I have a young austrolorp hen that decided to go broody on me. I had some issues with other hens sneaking in and adding eggs to her nest and her spending a long time off her nest. I decided to lock her up in the nest box to give her the best chance of hatching her eggs.
She still had issues of spending alot time off the nest, but this morning, day 23/24, I checked on her and there was a little black head poking from under her wing. I listened and could hear a couple more peep coming from under her.

I've shut up the nest box and tied it shut to keep the kids from bothering her. They can hear the peeps and are all excited.
Whats next?
I switched her food over to chick starter, gave her a bowl of oyster shell and BOSS if she wants, filled the water bowl with marbles.
How long should I keep her and her babies locked up in the nest box? I also have an issue of access to the nest box. My boxes are in a 3' high raised platform. If I were give the mom and babies access to the outside, they would have to walk up a long plank. Most of the hens don't use the plank and just jump up. Can I rely on the new momma to teach the babies to use the plank or do I risk them getting stranded on the ground? Should I make a new covered nest box in the corner of the run? Can I just pick her and the babies up and relocate them to the ground? Will the other hens and my 2 roos bother and pick on mom and babies? Mom is a young hen and her and her 2 sisters are at the bottom of the pecking order. Will this be a even bigger problem now she has been locked away on her own for the last 2 weeks?
I'll try and get some pic in the next couple days. I'm trying to be good and give her privacy and let her get used to being a new mom....but its sooooooooo exciting. My 3 year old daughter has her ear pressed to the nest box and just giggles and jumps excitedly whenever she hears a peep.

Peace & Aloha,

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