Will Mother Hen Look After her Chick's whilst we are away?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by opheliarose, Nov 21, 2014.

  1. opheliarose

    opheliarose In the Brooder

    Hi Guys!

    One of our Hen's has become broody, we have a Rooster so they are fertilized and we have candled them so there are definitely chicks growing inside.

    We are going away on Holidays to America in December, we have someone that will be checking on the flock and filling up their feed and water etc. but the eggs are due to hatch whilst we are away.

    My question to you is, will Mother Hen look after the chicks? Do we need to put out Starter Crumbles for them? Keeping in mind the rest of the flock will also have access to this feed to... plus the adults will have their Layer Crumbles out too.

    Any advice would be super helpful

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Naser

    Naser Songster

    Oct 29, 2014
    She needs food water and shelter, she will do everything else.
    To avoid larger hens eating starter crumbs but them in a plastic container with a hole big enough for the chicks to get in and small for the large hens to get in.if it is near, the chicks will find their way inside it.
    Be sure that the nesting box doesn't have obstacles in a way the chicks can get out but won't be able get back in.
    Don't leave water in containers in which chicks can drown.
    Be assured that mice and rats will come to eat your chicks crumbs. so if you are going for long the chicks will starve as mice and rats will eat their food. unless you have someone around to check on them every two days or so.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2014
  3. opheliarose

    opheliarose In the Brooder

    Thank you for the advice of putting the start crumbles in a container with a whole big enough for chicks but too smaller for chickens, will definitely make something...

    Problem now is, her nesting box is up off the ground and the chicks won't be able to go out from the box to get the food and water themselves...

    It is quite a big box, could I leave water and crumbles for them in the nesting box with them? I know it will get messy but it is better then them starving or getting thirsty??

    and yes, we are paying someone to come check up on them twice a week
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Any way you can put the nest down on the floor so if (when) they do get out they can get back in?
    The mother needs to get out and eat, drink, poop too.

    Is this hen an experienced mother that will she defend her chicks from the rest of the flock?

    Is your chicken sitter experienced with chickens enough to spot a potential problem and how to fix it?

    These are the things that would concern me, I'd want someone to look in on my birds every day, every other day at the least.
    1 person likes this.
  5. krista74

    krista74 Songster

    Jun 4, 2014
    Victoria, Australia.
    I agree. I think the best course of action would be to give her and her chicks a nest box at floor level. If it's up high and the Momma gets out to eat or drink or stretch her legs (which she will - nature will dictate that she should leave the nest with the chicks to teach them to forage), the little ones will follow her - jumping out and down if they have to. The issue then, of course, is that they can't get back up to the nest again.

    If it were me, I would also fence off a separate area with mesh or wire around the floor level nest, for just the Momma and the chicks to be in. I wouldn't want to risk the rest of the flock being able to get to the chicks. It is not unheard of for other hens to peck at or kill new chicks, and since they are going to be relatively unsupervised I really think a separated pen would be a good idea.

    A separate pen solves the food problem too. Both Momma and her chicks can safely eat the starter crumbs, and the rest of the flock won't be able to get to them. Keep in mind that a hen with new chicks will be teaching them how to eat and forage - so she will regularly kick all of their food out of their feeder and dig it into the ground so they can 'find' it. Their waterers will also quickly fill with dust and turn muddy, due to all the flicking and scratching of soil.

    Speaking of waterers, they should only be very shallow and then filled with marbles so that the chicks don't fall in and drown. Being that it is so hot here at the moment, and that (as I said earlier) the water will get muddy quickly, plus the fact that you can only install shallow water anyway....you really need someone checking on them at the very least, once a day. I have chicks at the moment and I change their water twice a day at a minimum - both for cleanliness, and for the freshness since it's so hot. If you have someone coming twice a week I really fear that they will run out of feed and water - and little chicks won't tolerate that for long.

    I wish you all the very best with your hatch, but I really do encourage you to get some more help in for your girl. She will handle most of the Mothering, BUT only if given the necessary things to allow her to do so - feed, water, and a safe nest.

    - Krista
  6. jerryshaw

    jerryshaw Hatching

    Nov 30, 2014
    The mother hen will look after properly, All she need to have is food and fresh water. Some times other hens or cooks broke the eggs so you must keep it in safe apartment of coop.

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