Raising chicks without an incubator

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Hotwings, Jan 28, 2007.

  1. Hotwings

    Hotwings Songster

    Jan 27, 2007
    southwestern Michigan
    I am new here both to this website and to the wonderful world of chickens. My friend and I have gotten our 1st flock of chickens last spring. She has the farm and I do the research since I live in the city. So far she has been lucky with her birds. We are hoping to have chicks this coming spring, if her Plymouth Barred Rock rooster does his job. All her chickens arre almost a year now. She would like to have the hens brood the eggs rather than a incubator. We have researched to find breeds that are good brooders. She has a Plymouth Barred Rock, Buff Orpington and a Australorp hens.
    My questions would be once the hen starts to brood should she be separated from the rest of the flock? If she sucessfully hatches her eggs will the rooster be protective of the chicks or see them as a threat? My friend keeps her small flock in a converted horse stall for a coop and everyday they are let out to free range. They can stay in the barn or walk outside. I would appreciate any info. I think this site is great. Thank you Mary
  2. chickpea

    chickpea Hatching

    Jan 29, 2007
    Hi Hotwings,
    I have both barred rock and buff orp. The buff was determined to set despite the fact, I really did not want her to, but I was unsuccessful at keeping her off the nest. I did have to seperate her and I allowed her to set on 2 eggs. She hatched out both. She did a great job, and I never once checked the eggs etc. I did get concerned because, she ate very little and her comb became very pale, which I guess is all normal. The chicks were "wild" so to speak, and nothing like brooding them myself. It was nice, however to watch Mom raise her biddies. The Rooster and other hens of my flock kept their distance, It took a while for them all to live in harmoney and the 2 that hatched insisted on roosting in the trees, never would join the others in the coop at night.

  3. spencereb

    spencereb In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2007
    Hello Hotwings
    Last summer I had almost the same exact questions. I'd never had chickens before. We didn't really need the eggs, so we let her start a collection. I didn't think she would ever decide to set. She finally got to about 15 eggs, all the whille acting just the same every day as ever before. Then one day, all I saw up there was the rooster and the other two hens. I got worried, went up there, and there she was, setting! Three weeks to the day and presto, they all hatched out at once except for maybe two or three. I took those and tried to hatch them myself, which we did except for one, which was way cool for the other two! But one promptly died, the other one we nursed along for a day or so, til he could walk. Then we tried to give him back to mama and the rest of the babies. Big mistake! She attacked and killed it before I could stop her. Actually, the rooster tried to keep her away from the loner, but to no avail. Anyway, the rooster would let all the chicks hop all around him and even on top of him when he was laying down, he's a great daddy! Mama took good care for several weeks, then she sort of weaned them off. Only difference, all ours do roost in the hutch, but then they do have a covered run with no access to trees, only shade. Also, if they free range like you say, I think other folks say the hen may choose someplace you don't know about to lay her eggs, leaving them vulnerable to night time predators, so watch out for that.
  4. ncboman

    ncboman In the Brooder

    Feb 14, 2007
    Quote:hehe, [​IMG]

    Most experienced chickeneers seperate the brooder to separate quarters, absolutely required in tight space, imo. Freerangers usually do fine mixed as the brooder keeps the peeps away from the rest for a time, but many pen the brooder for a bit anyway.

    Roosters? well, [​IMG]
    I've never had a rooster that I considered a threat to peeps. I've seen many try to be friendly and watched the broody hen take it to his arse in defense of the brood. :mad::mad::mad:

    Buff Orpingtons (my favorites) make excellent mothers but there's a night and day, Jeckle/Hyde change that occurs when they're broody. No longer docile and neighborly, they become reclusive and VERY protective of the peeps. This diminishes over a few weeks and she returns to her old self. [​IMG]

    I really enjoy watching hens and chicks. All that is missed when buying dayold. [​IMG]

  5. ajlynco

    ajlynco Chirping

    Sep 7, 2011
    Reno, NV.
    Will the chicks born from a BR or RIR roo and either a black sex link or a california white leghorn hen be as a prolific layer as their mothers? I know the hens aren't known for their broody instincts [​IMG]
  6. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    You might start a new thread on that under the "breeds, genetics, and showing" section to get more responses. Sorry I don't know the answer.

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