Raising my own chicks.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by jimz1, Feb 16, 2012.

  1. jimz1

    jimz1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2010
    Coleman, Wi
    We would like to raise our own chicks but not really sure how to go about it. We've got a couple of broodies but only one I think would be the best. Do I need to keep her seperated from the others? Do I make a seperate pen for her? Will she roost? Do I need to put up a roost just for her? Please help me! We plan to start sometime next month.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    There are lots of different ways to do it and lots of different reasons to pick one way over the other. There is no right way or wrong way, just the way that works for you.

    Broodies have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. They haven't gone extinct yet. I do think room has a lot to do with it. If they are in fairly tight quarters, more things can go wrong.

    If you elect to let the broody hatch with the flock, collect all the eggs you want her to hatch, mark them so you can tell which ones they are, and give them all to her at the same time. Then check under her daily and remove any new unmarked eggs that show up. I just use a Sharpie and draw a ring around the egg so I can see the mark no matter the position of the egg.

    If you decide to isolate the broody, prepare a place that has a nest, room for food and water, and some room for her to get off the nest and go poop. Move her at night with as little light and commotion as you can manage and lock her in there so she cannot go back to her old nest and other hens cannot get in to lay in her new nest. The big risk in this is that she may not accept her new nest and may break from being broody, but most can be moved successfully.

    When they hatch, I let the broody bring them off the nest, then I put them in an isolated area for a couple of days. You don't have to pamper them this much, but I like to give them a couple of days to learn to eat and drink without interference from the older hens. Then I turn them loose with the flock. I have never had a dominant rooster present any kind of threat to the chicks. On the contrary, they often help Mama look after the babies. On rare occasions, other hens or maybe a non-dominant young rooster pretty low in the pecking order will threaten the chicks. Mama has such a bad attitude about this that they quickly learn to leave the babies alone when they are in Mama's protection. One thing I will warn you about. Do not set it up so that the chicks can can go through wire and Mama cannot. She can't protect them that way.

    Some people for their own reasons isolate a hen and chicks from the flock. I don't because they have to integrate Mama when she weans the chicks and eventually the chicks themselves. I let Mama take care of integration.

    Asi said, I'm not saying my way is the right way or the only way. It is just the way that works for me.

    Good luck!!!
    1 person likes this.

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