why does mom spill out all the food

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Gorman Farm, Jan 18, 2017.

  1. Gorman Farm

    Gorman Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This is my first time letting mama hen raise the chicks. All 5 eggs hatched and seem to be doing well. I noticed that mom uses her beak to take all the food out of the feeder and kick it around on the floor of the crate I have them in, is this normal? Observing them I see the chicks are all eating and drinking. I fill the feeder and then the chicks go to it and she knocks them out of the way and spills out all the food with her beak and then they eat it off the floor, so weird. Since I am in Florida 84 degrees out today I made a small covered run for them to get some sunshine and mom had a well deserved dust bath, she also kicked sand all over the babies while she was doing that...She ate some grass and the babies were so cute trying to copy but not so successful yet. They are all 3 & 4 days old.
     
  2. chicknmania

    chicknmania Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    All the stuff she's doing is perfectly normal. Just keep trying. [​IMG] And have fun watching momma and babies.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Have you ever raised a human infant? When you're trying to teach infants to feed themselves, do you place the food in a neat little bowl on the high chair tray and hand the baby a spoon or do you start the infant off with finger food scattered on the tray?

    Baby chicks are no different. They learn faster to eat food if it's scattered around on the ground rather than placed in a container. Never second guess a broody! She knows what she's doing!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  4. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Perfect answer.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Broody hens are scratching machines. It's such a strong instinct, it's all about finding food. They don't care that humans provide food in nice little crumbles in a tray. Their little chicken brains tell them to scratch the ground to churn up insects/seeds etc for the babies to eat. Broody hens will scratch their way to China, given a chance. They'll knock chicks flying that get in their way, knock over feeders and waterers, decimate a nest, nothing deters them from finding food for the littles. Just go with it. Chicks can eat of the ground just fine, and it makes momma happy.
     
  6. Gorman Farm

    Gorman Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ok thanks for the replies.Most importantly I see that they are all eating and drinking. I will put them back out tomorrow in the sun for a bit so mom can get her dust bath in and keep teaching them to forage. This gives me a chance to clean the cage while they are out. Not going to worry about it anymore.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Momma will like that.

    I'm trying to think of a way to utilize my broody hens to till my garden beds [​IMG]

    I think they'd be awesome at that.
     

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