Oh, now what do I do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Bil, Oct 9, 2009.

  1. Bil

    Bil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2008
    Cottage Grove, OR
    I've hatched a number of eggs out of my incubator, and I know exactly what to do to take care of the new chicks so they do well.

    BUT, I had a chicken go broody 3 weeks ago so I decided to put some eggs under her and see what would happen. I wasn't even sure if the eggs were fertile, our rooster is only about 7 months old.

    Well, yesterday I heard some tiny chirps coming from the brooder (where I put the hen and eggs last week), and sure enough so far 3 have hatched!! I then started to think, "What do I do now?"

    I have the hen in a dog crate with the door open so she can get out to the brooder (it is about 4' x 6') and eat and get water. I changed the waterer to a chick waterer and I now have chick feed in there. I also put in a heat lamp just in case. So here are my questions:

    Do I need to put in some different feed for the hen?
    How long will the mom stay in the brooder with the chicks? (the brooder's walls are only about 3 feet high. She could get out easy)
    When should I move the chicks over to the main coop?
    What else should I know? [​IMG]

    Thanks for the help!

    Bil
     
  2. The Chickens' Maid

    The Chickens' Maid Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 2, 2009
    CT
    Mom will stay with the chicks until they are old enough to take care of themselves, sometimes longer. She can eat the chick feed, too. If you can separate momma and chicks in the main coop, I would suggest it. I've found that it helps with introducing the chicks to the flock. Momma can keep them warm, so I don't think you'll need a heat lamp. Besides the obvious food, water, don't let the chicks drown in their waterer, ect. that's pretty much it. Momma hens are amazing!
     
  3. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    Definately no heat lamp, mama is a little furnace for them. Heat lamp will just mess up her schedule.

    Yes, she can eat chick feed, but if you put some big-girl feed in there up higher than the chicks can get to, she'll eat that cause it'll be at her comfy height. Neither will hurt the other though.

    The rest of the flock may be fine with the chicks, it partially depends on the hen's position in the pecking order. If she's protective enough, and high enough to stand up to the rest, she can deal with them, and let her take them in with your supervision.

    The flock can and sometimes does attack chicks, but mine never have though I've had some tough [email protected]@ed broodies!!! so it's possible they won't. Play it by ear.
     
  4. Bil

    Bil Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 8, 2008
    Cottage Grove, OR
    Thanks! So, I'll take the heat lamp out when I get home. There really isn't any way to separate them in the coop right now so I'll keep them in the brooder for a few days.

    The hen is Dictator (even above queen) of the flock, so I hope that she won't have any problems (she even tells the roo what to do!)

    So excited to have our first "natural" chicks on the farm.

    Bil
     
  5. PortageGirl

    PortageGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 8, 2008
    Portage County, Ohio
    If she's that high up in the flock, you have the perfect broody! It can be very tough and sad with whimpy hens.

    Let her decide, she'll bring the babies to mingle with the flock when she thinks its right, and I've seen hens keep 'mothering' the chicks long past the point they actually need it, but it all works out in the end. You can give her a chance to do so when you can watch them, just try to let her handle things. (hard to do, but it usually works out)
     

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