Sitting hen and a couple of fresh chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kjfarwell, May 3, 2016.

  1. kjfarwell

    kjfarwell New Egg

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    May 3, 2016
    Topeka, KS
    Hi, we have one rooster and 14 hens. Our Buff Ophington has been sitting and we just had two chicks today. I goofed up my timing and did not get her and the eggs moved before hatching has started. She is still sitting on over a dozen eggs. I can think of two options:

    1. Move her, chicks, and eggs to the other house (I think it is called a broody house?) with the starter food and setup
    2. Move her and eggs to broody house and the chicks to a heat

    lamp setup in the garage

    or are there other/better alternatives?? I appreciate any input, this site is awesome!

    Thanks
    Keith

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  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Is there a reason she can't brood her chicks in the main coop? The majority of my broody hens raise their babies in the coop with everyone else. Momma is hormonal enough no one wants to mess with her, and it lets the chicks learn good flock manners from the start.
     
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  3. kjfarwell

    kjfarwell New Egg

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    May 3, 2016
    Topeka, KS
    I'm not sure how the chicks would get food and water...the boxes are about a foot off the ground. Should I just build a ramp? If I do that, I also have to feed them all chick starter....which isn't the end of the world I was just wasn't sure about how they would eat/drink. I also now have another hen that wants to sit lol...so kind of another reason to move them as the Buff has way to many eggs under her from what I've read so I thought about splitting the eggs up between the two hens, will that work? I only have 3 boxes so taking two up for the sitters doesn't seem like that would work.

    Thanks!
    Keith
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    The boxes aren't that high. When momma is ready to leave the nest (usually 2-3 days after the first chick hatches) she'll just hop down and call the babies. They'll willingly tumble down after her, and that's not too much of a drop. You can pile some bedding under for a cushion of you want. My broody mommas usually don't go back to the nest box, they make a nest on the floor to brood the chicks.

    You'd just need to be sure the feeder and waterer are low enough the littles can reach.

    I agree that buff has a lot of eggs under her. did you set them all at once, or did she continue to add to her clutch after she started setting? If they were all set at once, they should all hatch around the same time frame. If they were added along the way, you can try putting the ones that don't hatch under the other hen. Thing is, though, if they're staggered like that, you might have chicks hatch in just a few days, and some not for another two weeks. You can candle the eggs that are left when the buff leaves the nest and see how far along they are and make your decisions then.

    Regarding your new broody, a hen usually has to have been setting close to the 3 week mark to take chicks. There's a hormonal thing that happens while they set. Trying to give chicks to a hen that's only been broody a week or so doesn't always end well for the chicks.
     
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  5. kjfarwell

    kjfarwell New Egg

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    May 3, 2016
    Topeka, KS
    Thank you for all the help. I'll do some cleanup of the old straw and stuff below the boxes then and add a bunch of fresh. I also have a small water and food thing I just got today that I think will actually fit right below/behind the ledge where the chicks could get to it easily and maybe the bigger ones won't so much.

    We didn't even know she was sitting until she had a quite a few under her from multiple hens (we are assuming)...so we are expecting a chick and a chick there lol

    If the buff abandons the eggs for the chicks I'll try to get the other one to take over and see how it goes. This is our first time and we didn't plan it....just kinda happened and we thought it would be good for the kids. Next time I'll hold some eggs back and mark them with a pencil (just read that someplace) so she doesn't get overloaded

    Thanks!
    Keith
     
  6. kjfarwell

    kjfarwell New Egg

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    May 3, 2016
    Topeka, KS
    So just an update. Worked from home a fair amount today to keep an eye on things....went out and sure enough 3 chicks and mama were below. We ended up moving them all to the small house b/c the hen was keeping the rest of the girls out of the house lol and she had moved the chicks outside....so, we figured this was the safest thing. I took 7 central eggs and put them in our small incubator and then another hen has been sitting on the leftovers....not sure how long the eggs can go without a sitter so we will see if anything comes of the remaining eggs but I figured I'd try it out. Kids are super excited and hopefully the little ones make it.
     

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