Question about the hen raising chicks????

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lemondsm, May 17, 2011.

  1. lemondsm

    lemondsm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2010
    Yulee, FL
    I have a broody hen and her eggs are beginning to hatch. Our chickens not currently free range. I would like my hen to raise her chicks but here are my concerns:

    #1 The nest she chose is not the one closest to the ground. It is about two and half feet off the ground. Will they wait for her to hop out of the nest? Obviously they will not be able to get back will that work when she has 8 eggs or so still to hatch?

    #2 I have a few roosters. Two of which I plan to find new homes for. However the problems is two of them really really love the ladies okay they pretty much love anything that moves. My coop has several hiding spots for my hens and younger chickens. How will this work with the chicks?

    #3 water and food for the chicks. I assume I would need to put feeders on the ground versus hanging as they are now. Is there a way to control the chicks food and water from being consumed by all of the other chickens before the chicks could eat and drink throughout the day.

    Any feedback will help. I may just need to pull them for now but I am hoping to have my hens raise their own chicks.

    Thank you
  2. DAFox

    DAFox Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 7, 2009
    SW MO in Vernon Co
    The second that she has hatched most, get her and the babies on the ground. Some of the chicks may fall out or follow Mama off the nest even at less than a day old. She'll be torn as to what to do. Finish hatching or take care of those on the ground. At least if all are on the same level, all will have a chance.

    I can't help you with the rest, since I always separate my broodies. It makes it easier for me.

    Good luck,
  3. bonder

    bonder Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 2, 2010
    I agree with the above poster. Once some start to hatch, move everybody to the ground. Food and all. Is there a way to confine mama and the babies, just for a few days within the coop? I have a dog kennel, with a locking door, that I let mama finish hatching in. I put her, the hatched babies, the unhatched eggs, chick food, water and bedding in the dog kennel inside the coop for about 1-2 weeks. Make sure to clean out the kennel often. Mama will still have that stinky broody poo. I let mama and the chicks out inside the coop while most of the others were outside free ranging. No one even messed with the chicks. When I left the coop, I'd put mama back in the kennel. She'd squawk for the chicks and they'd come running back to the cage. After 2-3 weeks, I let mama determine when to take the chicks out. By 3 weeks, they are feathered (mostly) and are starting to fly (somewhat). I'd forgotten how much baby chicks eat and drink! I'm always running out to re-fill the water and food. Make sure mama and baby always have access to both.
    Good luck!
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    If you cannot separate them from the flock, make a creep feeder for the chicks. This will consist of a barrier~ under which the chicks can fit and the other birds cannot~where you can place their food and water. You can even use an upturned laundry basket up on 2x4s or bricks....just make sure it is stable enough that, if the other birds roost and climb upon it that it doesn't move or tip over. Ideally it is best to have a separate area in which to have broody and chicks until they are ready to be integrated.
  5. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I agree with some of above.

    Do not feed hen and chicks near nest site. They (chicks) can go 48 hours without food as yolk not completely absorbed until after that. Feed will attract predators to hens location, especially at night. My hens typically stay on nest (without feeding) for another 36 to 48 hours after first chick hatches. Premature exiting of chicks from nest may be a function of nest design. Confine them on nest for 48 hours, then release as a group under supervision. Sites hen selects for brooding at night I check to see if they can be made predator resistant.

    Broody hens with my roosters at least, seem to not be very attractive mating partners, even to the most randy stag. The fluffed up look, clucking and growling seem to be a real turnoff.

    In a free-range setting, the hen will not move around much during first couple days off nest. As indicated above you can effectively make a creep feeder were adults can get to feed. Can be a problem if hen cannot get to same since she will be inclined to move off evev though more than adequate available for chicks. Keep water shallow if sides of water volumes are steep.

    Watch forage quality. This time of year I make no provisions for chicks in respect to food since forage more than adequate. As forage base is consumed, you me need to supplement. Stay away from scratch if it contains large particulates made of corn.
    Last edited: May 17, 2011

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