Orphaned chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MarisaBarefootin, Jun 24, 2018.

  1. MarisaBarefootin

    MarisaBarefootin In the Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2018
    My Hen (cartridge Cochin) was broody for 3 weeks, her eggs were rotten. I ordered her 5 1 day old chicks, put them under her and took the eggs away. She did great with them, they were born May 31st. They were penned off in the coop until they snuck through the fencing a week ago and she flew over. They have all been living in the coop with 5 other hens and a rooster and the outside run just fine. This morning the mother hen had been mauled and one other hen was dead but intact. All's that I thought were left of the babies were feet. But then I realized later in the day 2 of the babies had escaped the run and were in some bushes around the house. If I put them back in the coop without the mother will the other hens bully them, even though they hadn't previously? All of the original 7 were raised in a broader with a heat lamp. I could do that if I have to, but these chicks seem a lot hardier and love to play in the run!
     
  2. ChickNanny13

    ChickNanny13 Free Ranging 5 Years

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    Sorry to hear of your losses :hugs You could try putting the 2 in the coop but in a wire cage or separated (see but no touch) by some wire, observe how the flock reactions are. They're only 3wks old (?), the other hens never bothered them cause they had Mama to protect them. I'm thinking you may need to raise them until they are fully feathered, then reintroduce them to the flock (see but no touch).
     
  3. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

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    I'm so sorry. Did you figure out how the predator got in to make sure it can't come back? If not, it might be worth investing in a "game camera" (you can find them on Amazon for around $60) to take still pictures or video when something trips the motion sensor, day or night.

    It's had to say whether to leave them in there - I would do lots of watching and listening. We have a few that age (with a hen that's currently weaning them) that will boldly walk right up to adults and get in on the watermelon treat or whatever is out- but by now our flock has seen so many babies that it's not a novelty- a couple kind of act like auntie hens when momma starts weaning them - it all comes down to your flock dynamics. Again- watch and listen - make sure the chicks can negotiate the flock as is - do they let themselves be cornered- do they run (and do the hens chase) them- if there are treats, do the adults let the babies in on it--- those sorts of things.
     
  4. MarisaBarefootin

    MarisaBarefootin In the Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2018
    I hate to say it but it was honestly my fault. I've been leaving the coop open at night because its been so hot and they've been panting so much, I've been afraid they'd overheat if I closed it, and I workover nights, so when I leave at 5pm sometimes its still 90 degrees. Whatever it was, maybe a cat? only seemed to want the babies. I closed it last night, and today am going to install wire mesh on the windows, so I can leave them open and possibly a fan.
     
    PachecoPeeps likes this.
  5. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

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    I strong, STRONGLY suggest you get a poultry exhaust fan. Look on valleyvet.com Type in "exhaust fan" and you'll see

    Indoor/Outdoor Shutter Barn Fan


    - they are made specifically to operate in the terrible conditions of poultry dust and other debris that will choke (and even cause fires, eventually) regular fans.

    https://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.html?pgguid=D74B298D-3C6F-4287-9F9F-4EA09B8D0A73&gas=exhaust fan

    They come in 12", 16", 20" and 24" -- Look at the bottom left on the product page under "Information" for the blue links to all the specifications including CFM (cubic feet per minute- how much air is moved), and how much energy is used. We went with the 24" for one coop and the 20" for the other- I like to get things that are operating at 1/2 speed and meeting my needs instead of having a machine on "high" the whole time.

    All you have to do is cut a square opening and install 4 screws, and plug it in. Very easy.

    Here's what makes it different. Instead of just putting a fan on your chickens and having the air bounce off the back wall - it sucks the air through the coop and out the other side- creating its own cross-breeze where the fan itself will not. You can still have a fan on your chickens with this - but the exhaust fan has made a HUGE difference in our coop.

    Now- key to this- wherever you choose to put an exhaust fan- you need something porous so the air can be sucked all the way through the coop and out the other side.

    We used a security door- the kind you buy at Home Depot to put over a front door - mesh metal to protect against all predators --- or it could be an open window (covered securely with hardware cloth frame, of course) --- just something open enough to allow the fan to effectively suck the hot air out and bring in fresh air. As the evening cools, the temperature in the coop goes down at a much faster rate than with a fan.

    We lost a chicken last year in our coop to heat exhaustion even with 2 fans running full blast- I was up almost all night checking on them - the temperature finally dropped around 3am so I went to bed- but one of my poor little hens must have collapsed after that.

    When they're hot like that their hearts and lungs are working over time trying to rid themselves of the heat- then it's hot all day. Before I found the poultry exhaust fan, I started carrying all of my chickens inside at night (35 of them) to a bathroom so they could cool off and get a break. We haven't hit 100 yet this year (pacific nw) but we've had multiple 90+ (which is hot for us) days in a row- and between the new poultry fan and a fan in front (on the really hot days) - I've only had to bring a couple of my biggest, heaviest feathered girls in. Everyone else did so much better.

    I hope that's a functional idea- the unfortunate part about predator loss is now they know where to come looking again- and right now your chickens are at risk either way- too hot in the coop or the next meal. =( Or have them trash a bathroom, LOL- but I was willing to do that- lots of cleanup.
     
  6. MarisaBarefootin

    MarisaBarefootin In the Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2018
    Awesome, that sounds like it will work! I'm going to look into it!

    I've put the chicks back into the pen inside the coop, they fly out every night and roost with the hens, but I've been getting them back into the pen before opening the coop in the morning, because I don't want them out in the yard by themselves. Also they're basically "feral" I didn't touch them much because they were with mom before. And now they freak out when I come near them, I thought I could try to slowly socialize them, but I think I'm just going to leave them alone because they get so stressed. Maybe they eventually will just trust me.
     
    Shezadandy likes this.
  7. Shezadandy

    Shezadandy Songster

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    Yes- it's lots of patience, and sometimes being willing to ignore them. I try to talk a lot, move slow, if you've got a particularly friendly older hen, she might act as a good bridge to the scared babies.
     
  8. MarisaBarefootin

    MarisaBarefootin In the Brooder

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    Jun 23, 2018
    I ordered the poultry fan! Thank you so much! So far the hens aren't bothering the babies at all, and its gotten a little cooler, that the open window (which is about 6 feet off the ground) is keeping it cool enough in there! And the babies aren't leaving the coop to go outside at all, as soon as I open it they go back in the pen.
     

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