switching a hen and to chicks from free range to a coop.

queenoftheroost

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 26, 2014
13
0
22
I am new to raising chickens and I can use some advice. A neighbor set up a coop last spring and had a huge flock of hens and roos that he raised from chicks. He also had 5 ducks part of his flock..They were completely free range returning to the coop at night. We live in the country with many predators including fox that are hunting in broad daylight. 2 weeks ago I noticed a hen in my perennial garden with 2 baby chicks. I found a nest along the foundation of my house where she and the chicks go every night. Though it is hidden from view it is not protected from all hunting predators. The hen comes to me and the neighbor told me to keep the family and also one of his roos, this roo hangs out here a lot and can eat from my hand. I have a nice coop and yesterday I captured the hen and chicks and they are in the coop . My questions....do I feed the chicks chick food, they were basically just foraging with mama and eating from my birdfeeder, how do I separate the feeding? Also if I get the roo in the coop will that be ok ( he is not aggressive) and right now spends the night in his old coop next door...also how do I keep the hen and chicks from going back to the nest in the flower bed? Please help....
 

BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
Welcome to BYC!

I recommend getting chick feed. You'll want to keep the babies on that for at least 16 weeks. While I have chicks I give it to the Mama and Roo as well. I just put oyster shell on the side so she gets her calcium. My rooster seems to prefer chick feed anyhow. I left my new Mama and chicks in for about 5 days so they knew where "home" was and then continued to let them free range. They went in every night and they live with my rooster. So far I have not had a problem with my roo or other hens and we're at about 11 weeks now.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,037
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
I am new to raising chickens and I can use some advice. A neighbor set up a coop last spring and had a huge flock of hens and roos that he raised from chicks. He also had 5 ducks part of his flock..They were completely free range returning to the coop at night. We live in the country with many predators including fox that are hunting in broad daylight. 2 weeks ago I noticed a hen in my perennial garden with 2 baby chicks. I found a nest along the foundation of my house where she and the chicks go every night. Though it is hidden from view it is not protected from all hunting predators. The hen comes to me and the neighbor told me to keep the family and also one of his roos, this roo hangs out here a lot and can eat from my hand. I have a nice coop and yesterday I captured the hen and chicks and they are in the coop . My questions....do I feed the chicks chick food, they were basically just foraging with mama and eating from my birdfeeder, how do I separate the feeding? Also if I get the roo in the coop will that be ok ( he is not aggressive) and right now spends the night in his old coop next door...also how do I keep the hen and chicks from going back to the nest in the flower bed? Please help....

A simple solution for feeding is to feed your entire group a grower ration/flock raiser/all-flock type feed. Then, offer free choice oyster shell for your hen once she returns to production (most do not produce while broody - including post-hatch while raising new chicks) to provide the calcium she needs (the calcium is the only "bonus" to layer ration). Because the birds are now confined, their ability to forage for their food is no longer able to sustain them so you do need to provide feeding.
How large is your coop/run area that the birds will be living in?

Edited for spelling - "now" not "not"
 
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farm316

Songster
6 Years
Jul 28, 2014
805
37
146
Well for starters….

1.) Start by allowing your group to explore it new surroundings don't give them any food till after they are relaxed and not stressed of this new "Coop environment"

2.) your chicks shouldn't need any *starter* but will probably eat what you feed your adults, Make sure the little chicks have plenty to eat and that the bigger ones are not pushing them around; you may have to separate the chicks during each feeding time and allow them too get food without getting pushed at or maybe pecked.

3.) I would move your little chicks ASAP… how well is momma protecting her chicks?? If mom is really good at protecting the chicks then I think you will be fine. The only thing to watch out for is your other hens pecking at the baby's as food or part if their ranking establishment. you might want to let momma and her baby's be separate for a little time just so the baby's have time to grow some more. How old are your chicks??
 

BayBay Peepers

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 5, 2013
5,156
1,126
338
Wisconsin
I was under the impression that the calcium levels in layers feed are too high for a growing chick. So if the group is eating a layers ration it could be detrimental to the chicks.
 

farm316

Songster
6 Years
Jul 28, 2014
805
37
146
Sorry I forgot, yes we fed our chicks starter feed. I would separate the chicks and the mom and give them both starter feed to eat,
 

queenoftheroost

In the Brooder
5 Years
Sep 26, 2014
13
0
22
Thank you everyone. I do have chick starter food but I wasn't sure the hen could eat that. They are the only chickens in the coop right now. I am confining them as suggested, I put some live crickets in today and they are happily chasing them around. I figured it would relieve boredom since they have been completely free ranging. The chicks hatched around Sept 8, that is the first time I saw them and they never left the garden.The rooster still wanders back to the neighbors coop at night. I will probably get him in there after these guys adjust. Last night was their first night of confinement.
 

farm316

Songster
6 Years
Jul 28, 2014
805
37
146
you sound like a great chicken Mom!!
PM me for updates please! I look forward to hearing more about your flock!

Farm316
 

MANNA-PRO

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