Surprise broody! Now what?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Lady_Grey, Oct 29, 2011.

  1. Lady_Grey

    Lady_Grey Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 28, 2011
    I've got my first broody! And she's caught me unprepared; I'm not sure what I'll do with the chicks once they hatch in two weeks, so for all you who are experienced:

    First, is it really necessary to have separate facilities for raising the young ones? If not, once they get past the fluffy baby stage, how do you make sure that they don't eat the lay ration and the hens don't eat the grower feed, and everybody's happy?

    Second, if I decide to sell the chicks as day-old babies, will it be traumatic for the mother hen and/or prompt her to set again?
  2. eggsrcool

    eggsrcool Sussex Fanatic

    Hi, congratulations on your broody!

    Yes, it is necessary for your hen and chicks to have an area separated from other chickens, for about 6 to 8 weeks after they hatch.
    The chicks and mother hen should have their own food and water supply. Chicks cannot be fed adult food, and should be given starter crumbs, which should be available at your supply store.

    I'm afraid I can't answer your second question regarding selling them as day-olds. However, I would imagine it would be traumatic for the mother hen, but don't take my word on it- someone who knows the answer for definite should come along soon.

    Good luck with your hatch!

  3. silky ma

    silky ma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 14, 2007
    I know that with my silkies...who are always broody..they know if a chick is gone, and they are not happy. So if you are planning to sell the babes then place the eggs in an incubator and give mom fake eggs. or if you are a kind heart put most in an incubator and let her have 2-3 along with fake ones, that way everone will be happy!
  4. suburbanchickymama

    suburbanchickymama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Apex, NC
  5. Lady_Grey

    Lady_Grey Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 28, 2011
    Thanks for the replies! Well, it'd be easy enough for me to supply a dog crate and wire off a section of the run for them - but would they be warm enough? By the time the chicks hatch out the daytime highs probably won't get above the 40s, if that. What do y'all do when you have a late hatch?

    And what about feed? I can put the chicks' feed behind 2-inch mesh but that'll only be helpful for a week or two before they get too big to hop through the wire. After that the hen will eat their feed, and they'll be agile enough to get to her layer ration no matter where I put it. Again, what do y'all do?

    (and I can't help but wonder what the old-timers did... I can't imagine my great-grandmother providing separate housing!)
  6. eggsrcool

    eggsrcool Sussex Fanatic

    If possible, could you bring them somewhere warmer (garage, shed?). If not, they should be warm enough, but keep a very close eye on them.

    The mother hen should be allowed to eat the chicks' food, and by doing so it encourages the chicks to eat it.
  7. Godiva

    Godiva Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2007
    Lady_grey, yes your grandma wouldn't have had separate housing. BUt she also wasn't feeding the feed we do and there wasn't the potential for the chicks to be damaged by too much calcium and too little protein etc. If you are unable to set up a separate area for your hen then maybe you should break her of the broodiness and wait until you are ready. I made the mistake with the first broodies I had, of just putting eggs under them whenever they went broody. I landed up with WAY too many chickens and lots of headaches with all the management issues I hadn't seen coming [​IMG] If she has only been on the eggs one week (and if they aren't 'valuable') you could just toss them and put her in jail for a while... Or else I would suggest partitioning off an area of the coop that will be hers and the chicks for a while. That way you don't have to worry about reintroducing her to the flock once they are ready to rejoin the party.... Good luck figuring out what to do... steep learning curves are part of the fun of chickens [​IMG]
  8. Arielle

    Arielle Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 19, 2011
    Massachusetts, USA
    Quote:Times have changed and if you want more of your chicks to survive, a little supervision is necessary. I've just dealt with my first broody, unexpectedly. I decided to take away the chicks at hatch and put them in a safe brooder and the hen when back in the coop with her friends. No fuss. Our temps have dropped and it has snowed 6" --not a great environment for chicks. I took the chicks before they had bonded. Also the hens would not likely be laying at this time = no chicks. Not the best time of year for survival in some areas of the country.

    I have other chicks that are young and they snuggle up under older chickens and they are protected by these older birds ( really only 5 weeks older LOL). I expect that is what a hen does: snuggles her chicks up under her and between her feathers to get warm.

    She, your hen, can eat their feed as she will not be producing eggs anyway until the chicks are old enough to wean.

    WHatever you decide to do, try to be flexible in case the situation alters. GL

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