Will mama hen ever leave the nest?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by upmycreek, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. upmycreek

    upmycreek Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2011
    Hi all,

    8 new baby chicks arrived in the mail this Tuesday and I stuck them in with my broody silkie hen (during the day!) and she loves all 8 the second she saw them. This is my first time baby chicken raising and I have tried searching how the whole process works, but the pages and threads that I have found are only about the initial introduction. My hen is a first time "mom" so I am worried that she doesn't know what to do.

    My question is when will mama leave the nesting area and start showing them the ropes of chickendom? I have food (starter) and water close by and I have also putting a mash near her. She doesn't ever seem to move. She was sitting for 20 days prior to me sticking the babies with her and she has lost a lot of weight so I am concerned for her, but don't want to overreact and mess up the natural process. Reassurement and advice is very much appreciated.

    The fun part... Chick Pictures!
    Exploring their new house...
    First time meeting their "mom"

    All 8 are under her in about 30 seconds...
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    The hens usually stay on the nest most of the time for the first few days. This is twofold, first it helps the newly hatched chicks dry off and stay warm. Plus, in a "natural" hatching, where the hen laid eggs over a course of two weeks or so before brooding, they don't all hatch at the same time. Hatching can be staggered over a day or more. So, staying on the nest gives those stragglers a chance to hatch, too. She should be leaving the nest by tomorrow or the next day, to start moving the babies around. If she's not interested, you may have to encourage her a little. But keep in mind, her first job is keeping those babies warm. She may be getting up for short periods of time and you wouldn't know unless you watch her constantly.
  3. upmycreek

    upmycreek Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 7, 2011
    Oh ok. That makes me feel a little better. I just checked on her and she had eaten finally! Thank you again for your reply.
  4. Kaeta44

    Kaeta44 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I agree with what Donrae has told you. In addition, I'd remove her adult chicken food in case the babies try to eat it. She'll be perfectly happy eating the chick food for a while.

    It will take her a while to recover her previous good condition, but she'll get there, don't worry.
  5. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    When mine hatched they stayed in the nest for about 3 days then mama had them all outside. They all ran around and when it was time to warm up under her they went for a bit. The out the came and went through it all again. When they went in at night they couldn't manage the ladder so I had to put them in but coming out next morning was never a problem. It was about 36 degrees but I just let mama be the judge. It all worked out fine.

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