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Author Topic: Looking after chicks with a broody  (Read 6929 times)

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2016, 07:39:21 pm »
It's always a bit of a gamble in these situations IMO.

Could be that she senses that there is a problem with the chick that hasn't hatched yet or simply that she is now busy with her new family and their needs.

We always do our best to give the chicks a chance so yes I'd see if anyone could let you have the use of an incubator.

Has the chick made any progress? You could spray the egg go try to hasten hatching. How long has it been since it pipped? We have picked chicks out or taken off part of the shell to speed things up but you have to be very careful because they will bleed if you do it too soon.

Keeping the egg warm and letting it hatch naturally would be best. Not sure if a hot water bottle and placing in airing cupboard would be okay .... farmers around here say that it works .... so maybe as a last resort!

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #16 on: July 07, 2016, 12:03:04 am »
Not great news unfortunately. We brought the eggs in after she set up camp outside the nest box again day yesterday. We kept them warm and brought the candler in this evening to have a look. One I could see feathers but no movement, two I couldn't see anything. They are dark brown eggs which doesn't help.

We gave up and I went to dispose of them. The first one popped when I tapped it against the sink and reeked. No development and a ticking time bomb. Funnily enough this is the one that she did sit on the other night, rejecting the other two.

The second one I cracked broke my heart. I was expecting it to pop but it didn't, there were black feathers and then they moved  :'( It was very small with a large yolk sack that hadn't been absorbed. For some reason this chick was several days behind the others (they are 3 days old now). I held it until it stopped moving and felt very awful but I don't think there was anything I could have done for it. Maybe if I had an incubator I could have tried it in there, but there was no movement when we candled.

The third was likely the one that I had heard tapping on the shell. It was huge in the shell but still had a bit of yolk not absorbed and was lifeless.

I kind of wish I had done this during the day so I could have gone out and seen the four other chicks jumping around and remind myself that there is good from this hatch. I guess it is my first smallholding loss and as much as I try there will be more.

On the upside the other four are doing really well. One was even on mama hen's back when I went in today!

Does anyone have an idea of why these two chicks were so far behind the others? Especially the live but very underdeveloped one? I have a picture of the two of them I can PM if it helps. Just wondering if we can prevent this next time.

Thank you all for your help though, just wish it was better news :-(

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

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in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #17 on: July 07, 2016, 08:37:01 am »
Awww, sorry Dan's. It's always a gamble regarding the unhatched eggs. Try to focus on your healthy chicks.Your hatch wasn't a disaster at all. You have 4 healthy new lives.

The smelly egg wasn't fertile or died very early in development. It happens. Did you candle at any point during the 21 days? All you can do is candle and remove anything that doesn't seem to be developing correctly.

In the case of the small, less developed chick. There may have been some underlying problem with that chick meaning that it just didn't grow as it should. I'm assuming that she didn't have too many eggs under her and that she could cover them all and keep them warm.

The chick that looked large and formed may also have had some underlying weakness and possibly couldn't make it out of the shell.If we can see movement but feel that a chick is not making progress, after say 24 hours, we spray with tepid water and remove a tiny amount of shell with our fingers or tweezers. Then leave for a while and see what happens. Often that seems enough for them to do the rest themselves.In some situations we completely pick the chick out .....this has mainly been for incubator hatches where conditions may not have been ideal for the hatching process but have done this with natural hatches too.

Some people disagree with helping chicks out of the shell as they believe these chicks are weak and it indicates a problem.

 :hug:

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2016, 08:46:22 am »
I've found that chicks hatching more than two days after the due date generally have a problem and wouldn't have been healthy stock had they survived anyway.  I never interfere with or lift a broody and just let her get on with it.  My broody coops have a 3 sq metre chick-proof run and I find this is enough space to keep the broody from going stir-crazy whilst the chicks grow and are kept safe.

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2016, 08:49:09 am »
Should say to be very careful if you to choose to assist a chick .... too early and they will bleed. If you see any blood stop immediately.Timing is crucial. Important not to jump in too soon.

Only other thing I can think of is sourcing of eggs. If you buy eggs in ..... you don't know how old the eggs are, fertility rates, how healthy the stock were. Also possibility of inbreeding in parental stock.

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #20 on: July 08, 2016, 11:48:14 pm »
Thanks guys.

I think she did have too many eggs. She was only a small hen and we ordered 6 larger eggs. There was a mix up as the seller didn't have the eggs ready and didn't realise we had a broody so she ended up sending us 9 eggs. In hindsight we should have probably not put them all under her, especially when we saw some peeking out. I've learnt my lesson on that one.

The four we have are now very lively, jumping on Mama hen's back, trying to leg it out of the coop when we open it for food and water changes etc, and being impossible to catch. They've started getting proper feathers as well. We are picking up a large A-frame on Sunday that will give them more space. I'm looking forward to them being big enough to raise the food off the floor, Mama hen is kicking up the bedding all over the place, blocking up the drinker and burying the food dish!

Were there any book suggestions? I feel like I have 1001 questions and feel bad bugging you all all the time.

Dans
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

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HesterF

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • Kent
  • HesterF
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2016, 12:25:35 am »
I quite like the Haynes manual for Chickens (got bees and smallholding too) - particularly good photos.

Broodies can be random. I now try and time broody and incubator setting at the same time so I can move them inside if needs be. I've just done that and she was obviously off the eggs more than the incubator was - incubator hatch was fab so I put the chicks under her when they were tiny, and took the eggs that were under her into the incubator. They were all much slower to hatch and two of them got out but were too weak to make it. Having said that, two others hatched at 26 days (latest ever hatch!) and are now thriving - she adopted them once I was sure they could keep up with their four day older siblings. Don't brood on it (see what I did there?) - I've had them die at every stage and normally I reckon there's a reason for it...




in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2016, 09:02:08 am »
I have a few books but honestly couldn't say that they give much different advice than you have on here. A good general poultry book can be useful but not read anything giving much detail on broodies.

Can you put the feeders in the outdoor run section .... away from the bedding? You may need to partly cover the run to protect from rain and wind.

We raise ours quite early on. You can put them on a block of wood or similar ... chicks will hop onto the overhanging wood to feed. Helps keep food and water clean and bedding free. They are quite agile ... we even do it with tiny quail chicks.

Dans

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Spalding
    • Six Oaks
    • Facebook
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #23 on: July 10, 2016, 01:43:23 am »
That's a good idea Hester. Might try that in future. Can a broody adopt day old chicks on top of the ones she has successfully hatched? I suppose that she is somewhat limited on how many she can fit under her to keep warm?

Thanks for that In The Hills, we've raised them today and instead of having to change the water every two hours it has actually stayed clean!

Ok I'll fire off m questions.

The coop is currently inside my large, concrete floored, shed. I have bedding down in the nest box and the run area so that they have something to scratch in and the poop is easier to clear up. Is that ok?

I would quite like to move them outside and have the run on grass but we currently have something stealing eggs so I'm a bit nervous putting the chicks out in case it's a rat and they dig under to get the chicks. Am I paranoid? Would chicken wire under the run area, as a floor, make it safe to put them out on grass?

When is the earliest I can introduce them to the flock safely? I know some people hatch in the hen house and so the chicks are immediately integrated into the flock. Is earlier integration better?

They've gone through their medicated feed at lightening speed (I suspect because Mama Hen keeps throwing it out of the feeder and showing them how to scratch for it). Is there a set time they need the medicated feed for and does it store well? These may well be my only chicks for the year and I don't want to buy a big bag and have it go off.

Can I put some greens in for Mama hen, or are the little ones too young (I'm pretty sure they'll have a go at eating it if she does)? She was very much free ranging before and I feel a bit sorry for her on just chick crumb.

Dans - very nervous chick mother!
9 sheep, 24 chickens, 3 cats, a toddler and a baby on the way

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www.goodlife.sixoaks.co.uk

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2016, 08:12:54 am »
I have my Broody coop on the lawn very close to the house .....  daughter is always popping out to them ..... chicken mad! We do have the odd rat but not a massive problem. The shut in quarters are opened in the morning. Mum usually takes the chicks to bed fairly early in the evening and we then lock them in for the night .... just like the older hens. We've never lost any due to rats. I suppose it is always a risk but I think mum would try her utmost to protect the chicks if anything tried to get in during the day and they are fairly safe at night if locked in.

I like them on the grass personally. Coop is !moved each night and they spend more time out than in and so stay cleaner. Run is partially covered to protect from the elements and placed where there is shafe if hot weather.

They have grass, lawn weeds and insects to peck at ..... just seems more natural. Bit like free ranging hens ... maybe few more risks but also benefits.

Crumbs will last a while but not really until next year. Depends how much they are getting through. Growers pellets next .... introduce slowly by mixing in gradually with crumbs.

Ours are on the lawn and rest of flock have access to this area too so see them from day 1.We let mum and chicks out once they are feathered a bit and looking a bit like hens .... as growers. Feel they are a bit safer then from our mog, feral cats, rats birds of prey etc. Always watch reaction of other hens to start with but we've never had a problem. Mum keeps a careful eye on them. Also watch reaction of your cats, dogs, etc. I know some people that let them out straight away with mum but I've never risked it.

Try to relax and enjoy them. I always find it a better experience than incubator hatching .... when you're checking temperatures and all. It's more down to their mum and usually she knows best. ;D

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #25 on: July 10, 2016, 11:48:40 am »
I keep my chicks with the broody until she starts laying again, then she goes back with the flock and they stay locked up in the ark they were raised in.  We have too many predators - buzzards, sparrowhawks, kestrels, crows, ravens, badgers, foxes, stoats, weasels, polecats, rats - to risk them outside until fully grown.

Victorian Farmer

  • Guest
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #26 on: July 22, 2016, 10:33:04 am »
Naw the out come there is some good broodies and bad or first time. This was stressful for you Dan's. Growing them in the incubater till full term would of given the hen a hand. Then give her  3 chicks and no fuss it's just luck good or bad.. If  you won't broodies grow some silki sussex they are better than a incubater. All the best Dan's

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2016, 08:13:17 am »
Can a broody adopt day old chicks on top of the ones she has successfully hatched? I suppose that she is somewhat limited on how many she can fit under her to keep warm? YES, I got 20 odd chicks under a Sussex hen.

Thanks for that In The Hills, we've raised them today and instead of having to change the water every two hours it has actually stayed clean! CAN give them water drinking bottles too (I do this as a backup if I'm out all day.)

The coop is currently inside my large, concrete floored, shed. I have bedding down in the nest box and the run area so that they have something to scratch in and the poop is easier to clear up. Is that ok? SOUNDS OK.

I would quite like to move them outside and have the run on grass but we currently have something stealing eggs so I'm a bit nervous putting the chicks out in case it's a rat and they dig under to get the chicks. Am I paranoid? Would chicken wire under the run area, as a floor, make it safe to put them out on grass? YES, Or flaps of wire at sides, pinned into ground if that's easier?

When is the earliest I can introduce them to the flock safely? I know some people hatch in the hen house and so the chicks are immediately integrated into the flock. Is earlier integration better? ONCE mine have proper feathers and are flapping and running about I let them out in a big pen, they can see other birds through the wire, then I let them out in the afternoons sometimes. I have let mums with tiny chicks out to range with the others (own house) and never had any problems.

Is there a set time they need the medicated feed for and does it store well? These may well be my only chicks for the year and I don't want to buy a big bag and have it go off. Up to you whether to feed medicated or not, chick crumb for while they are chicks, then growers, They'll eat more crumb as they grow, and I don't think the transition to growers is essential, I'd buy another bag.

Can I put some greens in for Mama hen, or are the little ones too young (I'm pretty sure they'll have a go at eating it if she does)? She was very much free ranging before and I feel a bit sorry for her on just chick crumb. YES! If you can get their run on grass they'll eat a fair bit of it and enjoy it too.

Dans - very nervous chick mother! -got to start somewhere, and it's great that you care!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2016, 12:58:48 pm »
 :rant: :rant: :rant: My broody abandoned her eggs last night - stone cold and dead this morning, with just 3 days to go til hatching  :'(
Even had we been there, we don't have an incubator, nor any way to care for chicks without a mother hen.  She was in the main henhouse, with another just for her and the chicks ready and waiting for when they hatched.

We had lost another hen a few weeks ago, who seems to have made her nest in a hedge then disappeared - presumably a fox had got through the fence and taken her.  So no luck this year.

Enjoy the chicks you do have Dans  :thumbsup:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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waterbuffalofarmer

  • Joined Apr 2014
  • Mid Wales
  • Owner of 61 Mediterranean water buffaloes
Re: Looking after chicks with a broody
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2016, 04:14:06 pm »
:rant: :rant: :rant: My broody abandoned her eggs last night - stone cold and dead this morning, with just 3 days to go til hatching  :'(
Even had we been there, we don't have an incubator, nor any way to care for chicks without a mother hen.  She was in the main henhouse, with another just for her and the chicks ready and waiting for when they hatched.

We had lost another hen a few weeks ago, who seems to have made her nest in a hedge then disappeared - presumably a fox had got through the fence and taken her.  So no luck this year.

Enjoy the chicks you do have Dans  :thumbsup:
I am so sorry to hear this fleecewife, it must be really awful!  :hug:
the most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, loving concern.

 

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