SHOULD I move my brooder?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by GretchenM, May 30, 2012.

  1. GretchenM

    GretchenM In the Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2011
    I've seen the thread on HOW, but SHOULD I? My nest boxes are about 5 feet in the air (suspended from the ceiling). Will that be a problem when the chicks hatch? Will they injure themselves leaving the nest? Will Mama stay down on the ground with them at night, or go back up to her nest? My neighbor says not to worry, but the closer we get to hatch day (3-4 days to go), the more I"m doubting his wisdom!

    Based on comments to the "how to move" thread, IF I move her, I think I will wait till night then detach the box and set it on the floor.

    Any and all thoughts greatly appreciated! This is my first broody!
     
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité

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    I think you have a good idea there.[​IMG] Wait 'till night time and lower the box.
    We usually move the new mom and babies after they finished hatching.
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    It is a worrying time, especially the first time. It helps to remember that just because something can happen does nto mean iot absolutely will.

    I've seen hens get chicks out of a ten feet high hay loft. Mama says jump and they do, then they run to her when they are on the ground. They are a lot tougher than many people think, but there is always the possibility that something could happen when they jump. I personally would not worry about 5 feet but I can't give you any guarantees that one won't get injured when it jumps.

    Another possibility is that a chick may fall out of the nest before Mama is finished hatching. That is not good. Mama then has a tough choice. Does she leave the chick to its own devices or does she abandon the rest of her eggs ti take care of that chick? If you have a decent lip across the front of the nest, it is unlikely for a chick to accidentally fall out, but I don't know what your nest and the lip looks like.

    Most of my broodies just take the chicks to a corner of the coop and keep them on the floor overnight. I have had a few that try to return to the nest at night. That nest is maybe 12" to 14" off the floor. Most of the chicks can jump up there if she calls them, but they will never make 5 feet. I always check around bedtime to make sure she has collected them all. Sometime I have to catch a couple an put them in with her for one or two nights. Sometimes she comes back off the nest and keeps them all on the floor.

    I sometimes have a separate nest set up on the floor of the coop so they don't have to jump up to a nest. Sometimes Mama will use that nest and sometimes she takes then to a corner of the coop.

    If you do move her, night is a great time, using as little light and commotion as possible. You might leave her locked in the nest for several hours so she cannot abandon it. Broodies go all day without getting off to eat, drink, and go poop. It's not cruel to imprison her on the nest for several waking hours to make sure she cannot leave.

    Good luck!!!
     
  4. GretchenM

    GretchenM In the Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2011
    Thank you!
     
  5. GretchenM

    GretchenM In the Brooder

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    Mar 7, 2011
    This is wonderful and reassuring feedback! The box does have a decent lip. I think I'll just leave it (my husband offered to put in a ramp just to make me feel better!) as is and search for baby chicks on the ground before I lock up at night.

    THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH for your feedback!
     
  6. GretchenM

    GretchenM In the Brooder

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    Update (a bit late): Guess we weren't real observant on when our little Mama started brooding, b/c the very day my husband was going to lower the nest box, the day before we thought she would start hatching, he walked into the coop and found this on the ground:
    [​IMG]

    So instead, he ingeniously installed a platform about 12"or 18" square just beneath and mostly in front of the nest box and put chickie starter and a waterer on the platform. The 3 chickies happily just hang out doing chickie things, though each morning one would be on the floor, and we picked her up and put her back in the nest.
    [​IMG]

    On day 3, Mama got them all down on the ground of the coop and has been sheltering them there ever since. So far, so good!
    [​IMG]

    Thank you for all your guidance, encouragement, and comfort! ;-) Just wanted you to know how the story ended!

    [​IMG]
     
  7. sumi

    sumi Égalité

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    Congratulations! Those are cute babies.
     
  8. GretchenM

    GretchenM In the Brooder

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    Aren't they?! Papa is a Sicilian Buttercup, and he and his "siblings" had those stripes when they were young.
     
  9. sumi

    sumi Égalité

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    We had a striped number as well. She looked like a field mouse. So of course she's called Miss Mouse! Though she looks completely different now. I'm often disappointed when I hatch these stunning chicks and they end a more subdued colour when they're big. If only they'd stay so cute!
     

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