Stressed! Chick Advice!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Thunder Bird, Feb 14, 2016.

  1. Thunder Bird

    Thunder Bird Out Of The Brooder

    So my dad didn't agree to any of my complaints about not getting chicks to accompany my lonely hen, Raven. So instead I got two sibling chicks. I'm new in chick caring, and don't totally agree to the whole process of caring for them all by myself, so Raven has to take care for them. Though she's not broody yet, and I need to make everything chick-safe.

    Meanwhile, I have to take care for them. It will be about a few weeks until she gets broody, and i'm worried that they can die before they can see the outdoors. I put them in a temporary box with newspaper and paper towels for their bedding, and two lids for water and feed. But i'm not sure if I should do this. Any advice?
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    How old are the chicks?

    Your adult bird will not look after the chicks - broody or not - they are not hers, so I'd suggest having a plan B.

    I'd suggest searching for "looking after chicks" and see what info there applies to you.

    All the best
  3. Thunder Bird

    Thunder Bird Out Of The Brooder

    I heard hens adopting chicks, even pullets, but i'm not being totally sure. They are about a week old, or a few days older
  4. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    In some circumstances they may do, but if she doesn't? - hence the suggestion of a plan B.

    You have at least another 2-3 weeks before they are fully feathered out and then they will no longer require a heat source.

    Then you may wish to read up on integrating new birds into a flock.

  5. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Hi Thunderbird,
    How old are the chicks? That's important. They do need supplemental heat. Should be about 85 degrees. Get a cheap fish tank thermometer and stick it to the inside of the box at about the height of the chicks backs. Reduce the heat 5 degrees a week until you reach 70 degrees and then leave it there until it is time for them to meet your hen. They will be ready to go outside in 50 degree weather when their breasts are fully feathered (4-5 weeks old) . Put the heat bulb (60-85 watt incandescent bulb will do)at one end of the brooder and not over their feed so they can get away from the heat if they want. . Not Teflon-coated as these Teflon bulbs will outgas carbon monoxide and kill the chicks.
    For feed, use a commercial chick feed. It's a complete diet. No need for chick gravel unless you are feeding them something else like treats in addition to their chick feed. Change their water 2-3 times a day as they poop in it. Use something deeper than a lid. Put some marbles in it so the chicks can't climb in the water and get wet. Your bedding ideas are good to start with. Later, go to Tractor Supply and buy a bale of the pine shavings. They work great for older chicks. ( the white bale, not the yellow bale). Your birds will probably be ready to go out with your hen at 4-5 weeks old.
    Welcome to chick raising!!
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016
  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Your hen is much more likely to try to attack these new youngsters then she is to brood them. Some broody hens will accept day old chicks that are slipped under them, usually at night, even then it can be dicey whether she'll accept them or not. A hen who is not broody and is given older chicks...more likely the chicks are going to get soundly pecked at the least. Even if your hen does go broody it's unlikely she'd accept chicks the age yours will be by then.

    Set your chicks up with a proper brooder with a heat lamp, bedding and chick starter feed. If you don't provide a heat source at this age then you are right, they are not likely to survive long enough to put them outside. When they are 4-5 weeks old you can work on integrating them with your older bird. If she is very bossy or dominant it might be better to wait until they are older and bigger.
  7. keesmom

    keesmom Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    I suspect she will disagree with you on this strongly. Your hen isn't in a mothering frame of mind so she will not take care of them. Even if she were there is no guarantee she would accept them given that they are older. That trick works with day old chicks.

    So it's up to you to care for them. A heat lamp or heating pad to keep them warm, chick starter, and water is all they need for now. 3riverschick has a good idea with the aquarium thermometer. You can try to introduce them to your current hen when they are feathered out but go slowly. If she's intimidating them too much you may have to try again when they are larger.
  8. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I did have a hen adopt three six-week old chicks this past summer, and she was a doting mom, feeding them and watching over them and teaching them things, but that's very rare. She raised them until they were almost four months old. She went broody out of season for this purpose, and I'm not sure how rare it might be.

    Here's what you can do: Rig your brooder so you can have it where your hen can watch the chicks and be close to them, but have them safe from her in case she's more inclined to hurt them.

    Give them several days of being in close proximity. The chirping may awaken her broody hormones. If this happens, you will know by the change in her vocalizations. Instead of clucking, she will sound more like a pop corn popper, emitting these popping sounds continuously as she walks around. As the hormones really grab hold, she will fuss over the chicks and want to get close to them. Then you can let her in with them and see what she does.

    I have no idea how long this might take, or if it will even happen. But in order for your hen to want to mother the chicks, she probably needs to be broody. If that happens, she will also take over their heat needs, and you may be able to ditch the heat lamp or whatever you're using as heat.

    This could be a very interesting experiment.
  9. Thunder Bird

    Thunder Bird Out Of The Brooder

    thanks guys! I noticed she didn't want to mother them RIGHT after I posted this. She's more scared then attack. I don't want to upset her anyways, and I keep them inside, though my oldest sister is babying them without letting them have their freedom in their brooder
  10. realsis

    realsis Crazy for Silkies

    Jan 17, 2013
    do you have a source of warmth? They need that!! especially at night if they are outside! what's their sleeping arrangements? :) oops just read you keep them inside. but until a certain age they do need a heat source
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2016

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