What do I do now?


Aug 22, 2017
Los Angeles (Woodland Hills); gardening zone 9B
My broody hen hatched 3 chicks 3 & 4 days ago.

When the hen was brooding I put some food and water in the nesting box with her. When her chicks started emerging -- still in the nesting box up in the coop -- I set moistened all-flock pellets so they could get at it. Now they're running around the coop and they've followed mama down to the lower run.

When I incubated the chicks myself I gave them starter feed and chick grit. But, for my broody-raised chicks, "their" food isn't theirs anymore. It's fair game for anyone in there with them. Just setting feed in a container on the floor for them had every hen and my roo all over it -- and there wasn't anything special about it that wasn't in their feeder.

My second concern is, when they follow mom down into the run the only food and water available -- since they can't compete for the adult flock for the food intended for the chicks -- is in the feeder and waterer that hang 3-4 times their body height above them.

I don't see how I can control this situation without taking them away from their mama hen and I don't want to sever that bond and remove the best protection they'll have. What should I be doing?
Adjust by leaving feed and water on the ground near the other feeders or put those that hang down. For now grind the pellets into smaller pieces in your blender for everyone and let mama teach them. She will also defend them. When you think they're big enough start grinding less until they can eat pellets. Or buy a bag of crumble for everyone. Either way, if you make wet feed for the babies the adults will eat it so feed everyone the same thing together.

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