what to know before chicks hatch?


Nov 4, 2017
My broody hen 9 month old (EE named Feather Face) is doing great. Its her first time setting on a clutch of eggs, and my first spring being a chicken owner!
I have some 2 week old chicks in the house that I got as day olds... but of course just as I got them, she went broody and so now I have put 16 fertilized eggs under her (from my mixed flock)--- and yesterday was day 8-- I candelled quickly out in the barn- and from what I could tell, all of them were developing! Yaaaaay!

She is pretty tolerant of me, and lets me hand feed her in the nest, pet her, and even pick her up and forcer her out to drink and eat while I check the eggs out (Ive only done this once, but it went smoothly). I'm impressed!

I wanted to know if there is anything I need to know about letting your hen raise baby chicks? I hear there are all kinds of mothers.... some will be great, some not. So, assuming she makes it to hatch, what are some of the things I should know- or are there any articles I should read?

Im thinking about things like :
- assiting with any hatches that look destined to fail
-how to even count or take stock of whos hatched and who hasnt?
- is there a way to tell which chick came from which egg? do they hatch one at a time, slowly, or like in an hour can a few have hatched..?
- will i have to check every hour on progress?
-they are in the barn and its hovering around freezing- do I need to plug in a heat lamp at all- I was hoping to avoid it
- she is in a makeshift carboard nest box I made to mirror the size and shape of the one in the coop she choose before I had to move her to the nursery (she's in the nursery within her coop- the nursery is 12.5 square feet. ) once they start to hatch- does she get off the nest? stay on top of them?-- will I even be able to see anything? Should I get rid of the box once they start to hatch?
Will 12.5 feet be big enough for a medium size hen and a dozen or so chicks- maybe up to 16???
How long before I can try and integrate them? How long before the need their own coop? She was the flock leader.

I know chicks need shallow water they cant drown in, and chick starter. She can eat the same, and they need grit. I will provide vitamins in their water. anything else?

Lots of questions :th
First thing first- stay calm. She knows what she is doing and will do great. Don’t worry. I say this because the first time I had a broody, I was worried contstantly. :oops:Chicks will hatch most likely in groups. I don’t think you will be able to tell which chick came from which egg unless you watched 24/7. You don’t have to plug in a heat lamp because feather face will keep them warm. Once the hatch starts, she will sit on the chicks for 24-48 hours and then she will get up and take the chicks to eat and drink. That should be plenty of space, and in my opinion, I would leave them in there for the first 4 days or so and then introduce them back to the flock.
If you want a link to an assisted hatching article, I can find a good one for you.
If I forgot to answer anything, tell me and I will try my best to help you!
Good luck on your hatch and keep us updated! :caf:wee
Thanks @The Golden Egg5

I'm just excited, :woot not worried at all.
I like the idea of introducing them nice and young like a week or 10 days- but Im a bit worried about the other adults. I will keep a close eye!!!
And I might just sit there and watch all day.. LOL .
Do chicks ever hatch at night or only daytime?

I will keep you posted with updates! Will candle again on day 14.
I hatched directly in the coop, and after a couple curious pecks, the big chickens left them alone. The little guys knew to run to their mom when they sensed trouble and she would protect them. They will hatch at any time-day or night.
Do chicks ever hatch at night or only daytime?
They don't know if it's day or night, they'll hatch when they are ready. :D
I leave the broody alone when eggs are hatching....
...one of the downsides to broody vs bator hatching, you don't get to watch.

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