Thank you for this great site! Since I am brand new here, and also new to belonging to any group ( other than a few facebook groups) or website club, I will be open to and appreciate any help here! I have one rooster and two hens, Bantys I think they're called, they were actually given to me and I started with 6, but we had some problems with coyotes so am down to the three, EXCEPT, one of the mamas just hatched several babies, two have died ( can the Mama smother them?) I want to learn everything I can so i can take good care of them, I'm wondering if I should take the Mama out now that they are over a week old and seem to be eating fine on their own? We moved them from where she had them originally because it wasn't a safe place, and put them in a rabbit hutch to keep them safer, but I am afraid she might be smothering them. Is this the right place to ask these questions?
Welcome to BYC! I would suggest reading through the Learning Center, this is the best place to learn about chickens all in once place. https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/1/Learning_Center Also, if you are having trouble with predators I would definitely check out the Coops forum to get some ideas on building a secure coop/run for them https://www.backyardchickens.com/atype/2/Coops just make sure you use 1/4 inch hardware cloth (very strong mesh wire) instead of chicken wire which is flimsy and most predators can rip right through it. Good luck to you!
Hello and Welcome To BYC! Liz9910 gave you some good links to follow, there are several good articles on broody hens in the raising chicks section of the Learning Center.
Chicks will usually stay with the mother for about 6 weeks. When did the two little ones die? Sometimes a hen will step on or accidentally smother a chick, but some chicks have internal problems and will die even if the mother didn't do anything wrong. Is there plenty of room in the rabbit hutch for them, they are not crowded in the nest?
Here is a long thread on hatching with broody hens https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...n-hatch-a-long-and-informational-thread/20580
Thank you all who have taken the time to reply to my post!! The rabbit hutch is actually quite large (5ft.long X 27in. deep X 32 in. high), also the chicks seemed quite healthy when we put them and Mama in there, I think maybe she smothered the two that died. They seem to be eating on their own pretty good, we're giving them Purina "Start & Grow" poultry feed, which was recommended at the feed store! Since we are down to 6 chickens total, three adult and three babies, I really want to ensure they all thrive, not just because I want the eggs, but because they are God's creatures and he's charged me with their care!! I admit that when my husband first brought them home I didn't want anything to do with them, I was TERRIFIED of them all my life after being chased by a large goose when I was young! But as time passed, I got used to them pecking around the yard and as the rooster came into his own, it was fun to listen to him trying out different crowing sounds til he finally got it right!
I have one question about leaving the Mama hen in the hutch all the time, with the babies, is it ok to let her out during the day for awhile? Rudy( the rooster) has taken to hanging out near the hutch and I am wondering if she needs to be out getting exercise or whatever chickens need to do when they're not taking care of the chicks. The other hen is sitting on eggs somewhere (I can't find where yet as we have several acres and I have severe arthritis in my hips), when we do find her, can we put her in the same hutch, I do think it's plenty big enough, but I'm not sure how much room they need!
It is good to let her out of the hutch. She and the babies will need exercise daily. Make sure she doesn't have to fight off any other hens or roosters as she will have her babies in tow when she wants to get them out. Keep the food and water nearby for her and the babies at all times. She will take care of them as needed and will watch over her babies 24/7 for a while. As they get older, she will eventually start going off by herself. But for now, she will keep them by her side until they are older.
X2 what TwoCrows said, it is fine to leave her and the babies out for awhile, just keep an eye on them. Can she and the chicks get in and out of the hutch on their own, or do you have to lift them in and out?
Since they weren't brooding together, you do not want to put the new broody in the same hutch at the same time as Mama, mother hens can be very protective of their space, chicks and things like food and water.