unplanned chicks in chicken run, help!


5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
I have had chickens for a few years and now some eggs have hatched. They are from a mid size bantam and mid size rooster.
A larger chicken has gone clucky and now I have 2 baby chicks. Maybe a day old. They are under the clucky hen, but I have no special food or water feeder for them. I have a hanging feeder and a water trough. The weather (Melbourne) is warm during the day and drops to about 10c overnight. The clucky hen i large and seems to have kept the eggs warm during some cooler nights and recent storms, but she sleeps out of the hen house in long grass. I could move her to the henhouse where I have roost boxes with hay but she doesn't use them.

I will get proper food tomorrow morning but what should I be doing in the first 24 hours and week?
Should I put water out in a low dish and food as well? I only have pullet layer pellets right now and red hen.

It is also getting dark.

Any assistance appreciated, as I would like to make sure they thrive.


Apr 20, 2017
When did she hatch them? Are you sure she’s done with the hatch?

Broody hens will do all the work. She’ll keep them warm, teach them how to be a chicken, etc.

Pick them up some starter and a few shallow dishes so the chicks can early/drink without fear of drowning in the bigger dishes you have hanging. Don’t lower the bigger feeder and drinker because the chicks can drown in the deep bowls.


Premium Feather Member
11 Years
Nov 23, 2010
St. Louis, MO
Chicken hatchlings can survive a couple days without food or water. If they are outside, the hen will find things for them to eat. But the sooner you can get some starter feed the better. (any crumbled feed around 18-20% protein and no more than 1% calcium)
They will need access to water. Chick water founts are pretty cheap.
I suppose predators are not a problem?
A hen with chicks outside don't survive till morning here.


5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
I checked them two days ago and no hatchlings, I couldn't find any other eggs, we had 4, 2 hatchlings and one dead chick still attached to the egg. Not sure on the missing one, but not under the hen. These can't be more than 48 hours old but hopefully less.
I put down a shallow dish of water and red hen near them. I will get chick food in the morning, hopefully they will be fine. No large predators as the run is full enclosed in chicken wire. Foxes are rampant outside the wire, but inside is safe.


Nov 12, 2017
Northwest New Jersey
Chicken wire is ripped by critters like tissue paper. It's not made to keep the critters out it's made to keep chickens in. Chicken wire for chickens. Critter wire (aka 1/2 inch hardware cloth) for critters. Good luck with your new babies!:thumbsup

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