Thinking of raising some chicks

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Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby DrMarmalade » Thu Dec 29, 2016 7:54 pm

Hi Guys

I have 5 healthy backyard chooks and one has gone broody, so am looking at getting some fertilized eggs.

My chicken coop has roosting space for all the chooks plus has 3 nest boxes. I am going to build a broody box for the broody hen, and introduce her and the chicks straight back into the flock when they hatch but i have a couple of questions.

The brooder box will be a separate box not in the current coop. Now when the chicks hatch, should i leave the brooder box there for them to use or will they all sleep in the main coop?
In the coop i have a hanging feeder that is off the ground. I know the chicks cant eat laying pellets, so they will have their own feed at ground level. Will this work ok?

The brooding Hen will be fenced off with her brooding box, but will still have visible contact with the flock.

Thanks for any help.

Cheers
DrMarmalade
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby Marina » Fri Dec 30, 2016 7:50 pm

Hi DrMarmelade and welcome to PC.

I would not recommend to re-introduce freshly hatched chicks to a flock. I would at least wait 3 weeks and ideally 6 weeks, provided your flock has ample space to roam and the area is predator free - no cats, dogs, rats, hedgehogs etc.

When I raise chicks with a broody hen they stay in their broody coop until the hen starts to lay again. There they are well protected.

If the young family can see the other birds it's very good as they then are no strangers to each other.

Yes, chicks need their own feed and it needs to be protected from the other birds - otherwise it's gone before you know it. This problem is easily solved if the mother hen and her chicks are in a separate coop.

Often the hen with her chicks will use the broody coop for a while after the barrier is taken down so yes, it's good to leave the broody coop there until they no longer need it.

Chicks need to be fed separately for at least 6 weeks, ideally for 3 to 4 months. If the broody hen eats the same feed as the chicks she'll regain condition more quickly so - in other words - it's good for her.

Your laying hens should not eat chick starter crumbs as most are medicated and you are not supposed to eat their eggs until 2 weeks after they have stopped to eat medicated chick starter crumbs.
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby DrMarmalade » Sat Dec 31, 2016 10:17 am

Hi

Thankyou for your reply.

I will take your advice.
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby DrMarmalade » Sun Jan 08, 2017 6:42 pm

Ok

I built the Broody Hen a brood house and moved her with the fert eggs. The first couple of days went great and she was on the eggs a lot, but the last 2 days she has not spent that much time on the nest. She is off about 4 hours a day i would say. Does this mean she has lost interest in the eggs?

Any advice appreciated.

Cheers
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby wolga » Sun Jan 08, 2017 10:38 pm

Yes unfortunately it sounds like she has lost interest .That happens sometimes when you move the hen with her nest and eggs. Sometimes if it's very warm outside the eggs can survive for a while. Especially in the earlier stages of incubation. Is she sitting on the eggs at night ? They could still be ok . For how long has she been sitting on them ?
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby DrMarmalade » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:35 pm

She has been on the eggs about 1 week. She does sleep on them at night.

How many hours should she be on them a day? Constantly?
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby wolga » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:58 pm

Most hens sit constantly on the nest and have only little breaks to feed and drink. Some get of the nest more often than others . I assume she has access
to plenty of feed and fresh water in her house. Right ? I've had a hen who spend quite a bit of time dust bathing, preening and wandering around
every day. But her chicks still hatched on time. You could candle the eggs in a few days time to see if they're still alive.
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby Marina » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:37 am

It entirely depends on the outside temperature whether your eggs will have a chance to hatch or not. It often happens that hens loose interest but you have nothing to loose waiting... Fingers crossed!
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby Kracka » Fri Jan 13, 2017 1:50 pm

I'd check for red mites too - I like to dust my sitting hens once a week (I use a cat/dog flea powder - permethrin, others use diatomaceous earth)
if she's getting bitten sitting on the nest, she would be getting off more (and eventually won't get back on)
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby DrMarmalade » Mon Jan 16, 2017 6:10 pm

Hi

There are no redmites as i clean coop regularly and check, and chooks dust bathe in ash and D-Earth. I know they can always come back but i think chook just finished brooding.

For future brooders, does the brooder box need to be really dark? I had her in a plastic storage container outside with a corrugated iron roof. She was fenced off in a 2mx1.5m pen with green windbraceing to keep her in. She was able to see and be visible by the rest of the flock. Was it too bright for her?

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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby Marina » Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:30 am

I don't think anyone will be able to tell you the reason why your hen abandoned her nest. Some hens don't like being moved, some aren't persistent broodies, some realise they are sitting on dud eggs.

It can become very hot and humid in a plastic container, especially if it gets a bit of sun during the day, so maybe for next time a wooden box may be a better choice but some hens are happily sitting in a plasic box and successfully hatch chicks. It all depends on how determined they are.
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Re: Thinking of raising some chicks

Postby Kracka » Sat Jan 28, 2017 11:21 am

so many variables and sometimes it just doesn't quite work out!
I have a Silver Spangled Hamburg that's made a nest in one of the sheds - she's not with the right rooster, so I had no intention of hatching those eggs, but I thought, great, I can use her to incubate some eggs for me (natural is always better than the machine) - so this morning I spotted her off the nest galloping across the lawn, so I figured now was my chance to swap the eggs
however, when I went to grab the eggs, they were nearly cold - she was off the nest all right & not going back! :(
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