Separating baby chicks from mom

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Abby001, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. Abby001

    Abby001 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 22, 2013
    I have five day old chix that hatched in my chicken coop and mama hen is doing great to teach them to eat drink and also lets them lay under her with the other eggs. I don't think the other eggs are going to hatch as there are about 15 of them. She is sitting on them and also keeping the chix warm. My question is will the mother keep the babies warm as it is fall (not spring) and the weather is going to get cold. Will they survive the winter this late in the game? I live in CT. Should I put them in a brooder box with a light on and the mother too or just leave them alone. I'm afraid the cold will kill them. Also, shall I put the eggs in an incubator.
     
  2. TRChickenRanch

    TRChickenRanch Out Of The Brooder

    We have a first time momma hen and she had 3 chicks about a week ago. She had 5 eggs left. Since this was our first time with a setting hen we weren't sure how long to wait for the remaining eggs. Turned out she is smarter than us all and she discarded them on her own and continued caring for the 3 chicks.
    We opened the eggs out of curiosity and they were not viable.
    I am far from an expert, just sharing what we experienced last week.
    Our momma is very protective and will charge at us as soon as we walk in her coup. We have a heat lamp going for her now but when it gets too cold we will bring them in a look after them for her.
    Good luck.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,564
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    [​IMG]

    Once the chicks have been hatched for about 48 hours, after the hen leaves the nest is when I clear out the unhatched eggs. I just discard them, it's up to you if you incubate them or not. If you do, be prepared to brood chicks as momma most likely won't take them.

    I'd leave the chicks she hatched with momma. You'd be amazed how warm she is under all those feathers! She'll brood them just fine, and yes they'll run around with just chick down in the cold and be just fine. They'll probably feather in much faster than brooder babies and be stronger overall.

    Folks worry about fall weather, but really it's often nastier in the spring than the fall, and they do just fine then.
     
  4. mustangmolly

    mustangmolly Out Of The Brooder

    22
    0
    24
    Dec 4, 2012
    Thank you donrae, that was very helpful! This is the first egg we have ever hatched. I have 2 silkies who have decided to sit on a nest of 3 eggs together. One chick (a barred rock whose egg they adopted when she laid it in the nest!) hatched today. I left it will them tonight but the nest is in the coop with the other hens. Should I separate the chick and 1 silkie and let the other silkie hatch the last 2 eggs? Or just leave them all together right there? Or move them all? Not sure what to do in this situation.

    Also, should I provide food and water right there next to the silkies for the chick or will mama take care of that too?
     
  5. country chick1

    country chick1 Out Of The Brooder

    43
    2
    24
    Oct 11, 2013
    i would separate the chick and mother as sometimes the others can kill the chick. provide chick starter and water, mumma will teach it how to eat and drink and scratch
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2013
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,564
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I would just leave the chick and hens alone. Hens usually set up to 48 hours after the first chick hatches, to let most of the clutch hatch. The chick absorbs the whole egg yolk just before it hatches, this is so it's sustained for those 48-72 hours until momma leaves the nest.

    I just had two hens co-nest, they sat on 6 eggs and raised the babies together and did just fine. Silkies are pretty laid back most of the time, so they may do the same and be just fine. You'll just have to keep an eye on things and see how it goes.

    I prefer to leave the momma and babies in with the flock. The momma will keep the other hens from hurting the babies and the other hens will teach the chicks manners and their place in the flock, so you won't have to worry about introducing them later. Make sure there is plenty of space, and give the chicks hiding places. Things like a Rubbermaid tub on it's side, a piece of plywood leaning against the wall, things like that help make life nicer for the babies. Wouldn't hurt to put out another feeder and waterer, just to be sure the babies get access. make sure the waterer is okay for them to reach, and yes they can jump/fly up onto bricks or things like that.

    When momma(s) come off the nest, they'll take the babies to food and water. You just need to make sure the babies can reach it. I usually have my feeders hanging pretty high, to minimize spillage, so be sure to adjust accordingly.

    Enjoy your chicks! Watching a broody hen (or two!) raise babies is one of the coolest things!
     
  7. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    "I have five day old chix" If you mean you have 5 chicks that are 1 day old I see no problem. If you have chicks that are 5 days old and still in a nest with a broody hen & 15 eggs that's a problem.
    If the hen is a good broody she will keep the chicks warm after they jump out of the nest. Her & the bitys will walk around and scratch then she'll sit down & puff up and the bitys will huddle under her and warm up for a while then they'll all go back to scratching & pecking and repeat that process all day long.
    I don't know how cold your cold is but unless it's snowing or below freezing I don't think you have to worry about the cold.
     
  8. Abby001

    Abby001 New Egg

    3
    0
    7
    Oct 22, 2013
    Thank you for the reply. The only thing I worry about is if they wander away from mom and fall outside the coop (as it drops off) and they won't be able to get back in. Also, the doorway is open so an animal could walk in. The others stay outside all day. But I do have a horse and goats and it's fenced in and never had a problem. I went home at lunch to check on them and found the nest empty with just the mother sitting by the door and I thought they were gone but it turned out they were under the mother. I think I will bring them in under a light just to be safe. Now my only question would be do I bring in mom too? I haven't done anything with the rest of the eggs. I'd be afraid to break them only to find a chix inside. Three originally hatched and one died.
     
  9. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,401
    172
    143
    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    When I have baby chicks in a pen that I don't want to go out when I open the pen doors for the day I put a board across the bottom of the door opening. The chicks can't jump over it but the rest can come & go at will. The hen will jump over and try call the chicks out but since they can't get out she won't go very far away. Perhaps you can do something like that.
    If you bring the chicks inside your house bring the hen too. If it's just for overnights you can use a large shoebox and won't need to fool with a light, food or water. If it's for several days till they grow out of the helpless state you'll need a much larger box with heavy feed & water bowls they can't dump over and make a mess.
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,564
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    The momma will either get them back in the coop, or she'll just brood them on the ground. No need to take them from her, and no need for a light. She's keeping them nice and warm!

    And if momma's off the nest, it's time to clean out the eggs that didn't hatch. My advice is to dispose of them somewhere you won't see them, and don't check them as there are probably partially developed chicks inside and that's just disturbing.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2013

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by