Should I take or leave the chicks with Mama?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ccoke, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. ccoke

    ccoke New Egg

    Oct 8, 2012
    My barred rock hen went broody for about three weeks before I gave her six fertilized eggs to set on. Two days ago, four cute little chicks were hatched and the remaining eggs were discarded. I live in Pennsylvania, and it is getting cold. I have Mom and chicks in with three other grown hens, and I was taking my chances, since she was the alpha female, and I think she can protect the chicks. I wonder though, that since she has technically been setting for about 6 weeks total, and to keep the chicks warm, she is still sitting a lot, if I should take the chicks and just raise them inside with my heat lamp. ( I raised the other four hens from chicks, so I have all the equipment. ) I am afraid that she is going to get weaker and cold herself, since feathering for the new chicks is about another 4 to 6 weeks away. Should I help out Mama or let nature take its course?
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland

    I understand your concern, but after sitting for 6 weeks I think she deserves the chance to raise and enjoy her babies. Just make sure you feed her well. Slip her some nice high protein snacks when the other hens are not looking, but stay away from layer food, it's bad for the chicks. Scrambled eggs and a few extra meal worms will be nice for her now and let nature take it's course. If you're really concerned it wouldn't hurt to hang the heat lamp in their coop for the first few weeks, but I'm sure they'll be O.K.
    I've had 2 hens raise chicks this past winter and they moved around plenty. The chicks crawled under the moms every now then when they got too cold, but we had no problems and moms and chicks did well.

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