What to do with my broody hen and possible chicks...

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by juleeque, Dec 14, 2014.

  1. juleeque

    juleeque Chirping

    Jul 14, 2014
    Greetings all...I have looked at other posts and still have questions, please bear with me??
    My buff orp. hen has been broody for about 2 months...I have followed many ideas on here to break her, and as a last resort I put fertile eggs under her. She has been on them (5) for almost 2 weeks. I've been giving her food, but she wont take the water. I have taken her off the nest to go out and poo and she eats the (wet) grass. But she won't stay off the eggs long, maybe 2-4 min max. She is in the coop (2 levels) with the other hens, I don't have any roos, so these eggs were given to me by a friend. So here are my 1st time questions:
    1. It is chilly now (Dec) in Arkansas, and at night I close my girls up in the (top of the) coop, with a heat lamp, will the chicks get
    cold even under mama? (lows in low 30's)
    2. None of the other hens bother mama, but if she has been broody for so long, will she indeed protect the chicks?
    3. My hens were hand raised, should I take chicks away from her to hand raise them or will that make her stay broody?
    4. Will the chicks be able to go up and down the ramp at a day or two old?
    5. Or should I keep mama and the chicks in the house? (that would stink after a few days!)
    6. I've read that when the chicks are given chick starter, the other hens will eat it too and stop laying (or something like that), how
    do I keep the laying hens from eating the chick starter? And equally, how do I keep the younger ones from eating the laying pellets? I don't have room or opportunity to keep them isolated, plus I want them to integrate....
    7. Any other suggestions would be helpful....I'm learning!!
  2. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Songster

    Aug 10, 2013
    1) A good Momma hen will cover those chicks and keep them warm..Remember, if she is sitting those eggs her body temp has to be atleast 99 degree's so it is warm enough under her.
    2) yes, if she is worth her weight she will protect them, where does she fit into as far as the pecking order?
    3) When possible leave chicks with Momma, if she is friendly with you chances are she will allow you to handle her chicks.. ( I have a broody like that)
    4) Yes
    5) ughh... I would not..
    6) I feed my entire flock (hens, roosters, chicks and Turkeys) an all purpose feed, it has more protein than chick starter and mine do great on it.. Momma will break it up for them and within a few days they can handle the pellets by themselves.
    7) First off, why do you heat the coop? I have never and although I live in Oregon we have had some Very Very cold days and nights. I never heat the coop and one side is completely open (covered with chicken wire of course) My sis lives in Oklahoma and she doesn't heat her coop either.. To much of a risk of fire.
    The time your hen is off the nest is probably her internal clock telling her that is the right time.. She is getting up when you don't notice.. Hens have this thing about wanting to keep their nest hidden and rarely get off of it when your around. Keep water and food atleast 10-15 feet from her and let her be, I have yet to see or hear of a hen that has starved herself to hatch eggs. I had a hen that I never thought left the nest but of course she did, just when I wasn't looking [​IMG]

    Finally, remember. Chickens have been doing this for many many years without human interference, we in our know it all minds think we know whats best or that we need to "help" the only thing domestic broody's need from us is a safe place free from preds, they can (and do) do the rest

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