size of broody vs hatchery chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PtldChick, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    My broody is raising 5 mixed bantams (she hatched) in 2x4 hutch. I also got several bantams out of a mixed assortment at Coastal at the same time - they are the same age within 1-2 days. The broody chicks are LF or banty cochin X banty polish and d'Uccle roo X oegb, dutch or silkie. The hatchery chicks are mille fleur d'uccle, silver sebright and BLR wyandotte.

    They are now all 3 weeks. The broody's chicks are smaller and have less feathering than the hatchery chicks that I am brooding inside. Is this normal? It's not a breed issue - the inside ones are some of the smallest bantams.

    It's been unseasonably cold here in the PNW and the outside chicks don't have a heat lamp. Are they spending so much time under momma due to the temps that they are not growing and feathering out as quickly as the house raised ones?

    I'm thinking of replacing the outside chicks with my inside roos if momma accepts them (the d'uccles are already showing themselves and I'm pretty sure about one of the BLRs, too, less feathering and big legs). I can't keep roos anyway, so they might as well be the more feral ones. and since they're a bit bigger and more featherd, if it works, I can let them roam out off the hutch sooner. I'd hate to take all the chicks away from momma - I have no idea how a mother hen would react to losing her chicks.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    It’s hard to say exactly what is causing that. I suspect two things, but this may depend some on whether you are keeping Mama and the chicks contained or are they allowed good access to the ground and room to roam. The ones with Mama are probably getting a lot more exercise. Also, the ones with Mama are probably eating a much wider variety of food. They probably are eating bits and pieces of things from the ground and maybe fresh vegetation. The type of food they are eating is different. And Mama’s chicks are not bored. They have things to do other than just eat.

    I suspect the chicks with Mama are healthier than the chicks in the brooder. To me, bigger does not necessarily mean healthier.

    When you take the chicks away from a broody, she looks for them for a day or so, then forgets about them and goes back to being a regular chicken. She is not traumatized for life but quickly gets over it.
     
  3. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 15, 2011
    Portland, OR
    Thank you Ridgerunner. Always good to hear from an 'OT'. :)

    I let momma and the babies out of their hutch for the first time the other day. They surprised me that they can jump back into it. They stayed in the coop, and momma had them eating all sorts of feed bits that had fallen on the ground. She was pretty protective of them and chased the other girls off if they got too close. So I'm going to leave the hutch door open for them to come and go as momma sees fit. They stayed out from underneath her a good amount of the time even though I thought it was cold.

    My blue cochin banty is now broody so I may have more little bits on the way soon!
     

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