Hen Brings Her Two Week old Chicks To the Outdoor Run to Join the Flock
Having a hen raise chicks is a natural and effective way to ensure they receive the care and nurturing they need to thrive. Not to mention, it’s so much easier to have a hen raise chicks. Brooder chicks require more work, which is time-consuming and can be challenging at times. Hens are maternal animals and have a strong instinct to care for their offspring. They know how to keep the chicks warm, protect them from danger, and teach them how to find food and water. These two little fuzzy butts are hatch-a-longs, meaning I introduced day-old chicks to my broody Silkie on day 21 of her dedicated broody cycle. She has been kept in the coop with her babies since day one and has done an incredible job keeping them safe from the rest of the flock. On week two she brought them out of the coop to join the flock in the outdoor run. As you can see in this short video, total harmony.
Putting chicks under a broody hen is a natural way to raise baby chicks. These chicks are called hatch-a-longs. There are a few steps to follow for this to be successful. But keep in mind, there’s no guarantee your hen will accept the chicks, so keep a watchful eye after the introduction.
How To Introduce Hatch-a-Longs to Broody Hen
Make sure your hen is truly broody, which means she is sitting on eggs (or fakeeggs) and exhibiting signs of wanting to hatch them. Signs of broodiness include sitting on the nest for long periods of time, puffing up her feathers, and spreading herself over the eggs giving her a flattened appearance. She may be pulling out her feathers for the nest. Important: Your hen needs to be dedicated to her eggs for at least 2 weeks. Prepare a safe and clean environment: Choose a clean and dry area within your coop or a separate brooding area that is safe from predators, drafts, and dampness. Provide bedding such as pine shavings for the hen and chicks to nest in. A completely enclosed area is best.
Purchase day-old chicks preferably, but up to 3 days old is usually acceptable. Place the chicks in a temperature-controlled brooder with access to food & water until nightfall. Late at night is best to place chicks under your hen. Broody hens are more receptive to accepting new chicks at night when they are more relaxed and in that weird hypnotic state that occurs after dark. Your chick feed and drinker should be in place at this time. Make sure both are close by and easily accessed by the chicks. Your hen can eat the chick starter, it will be good for her since she probably hasn’t been eating enough while broody. Tuck the chicks under the broody hen’s wing. If possible, do this in complete darkness to minimize disruption. Avoid disturbing the broody hen too much during this process. Observe the broody hen and chicks closely to ensure that the hen is accepting the chicks and keeping them warm. The hen’s body heat is crucial for the chicks’ survival, especially during the first few days of their lives. Continue to provide a safe and clean environment for the broody hen and chicks, free from drafts, predators, and dampness. Regularly clean the bedding and ensure that the chicks have enough space to move around and grow.
In The Perfect Scenario, What to Expect
By following these steps and providing proper care, the broody hen should take care of the chicks, keeping them warm, teaching them to eat and drink, and providing them with maternal care. After a Few Days, the hen can be allowed to take her chicks out with the other hens and she will protect them but watch carefully to make sure. By Week Five or Six, the hen will begin distancing herself from the chicks. Make sure to have multiple feeders & drinkers, as the new birds will surely have to find their place in the pecking order. If there’s going to be drama (expect it) it will be where the food is. Lastly, have fun, and don’t forget to enjoy the experience.
Customer Service & Shipment of Baby Chicks How My Pet Chicken Handled a Problem Shipment
My Pet Chicken is a hatchery that ships sexed Silkie Bantams and Millie Fleurs, my favorites. They also are a hatchery that ships only a few birds, they deserve points for that. My Pet Chicken is high on my list of choices for ornamental chicks, and I’ve never had a problem with a baby chick shipment, until now.
My order of six chicks arrived yesterday, nicely packed with plenty of straw-like bedding in a nice sturdy box with ample ventilation. They were shipped on Monday and they arrived Tuesday at 2 pm, exactly what I expected. Unfortunately, they were not handled with care either by the airlines or USPS, one Silkie was dead, and one Silkie and a Mille Fleur had broken legs. I was devastated. I’ve mail-ordered chicks many times over the last fifteen years with at least a 99% success rate. I wasn’t expecting to have any problems of this magnitude. Unfortunately, I had to cull the injured chicks, and I must say, even though I’ve had my share of unpleasant tasks over the years having chickens… it was still traumatizing. It’s done, I’m over it, and focusing on my three healthy fuzzy butt chicks. How Did My Pet Chicken Handle the Situation? I called My Pet Chicken informing them of the poor arrival of my chicks. I didn’t know what I was expecting… after all, it wasn’t their fault this happened. Nevertheless, maybe I just needed to vent. So glad I called, customer service was beyond nice, and genuinely compassionate, and to my surprise, offered to send me replacement chicks or a refund for the 3 chicks lost. If that’s not customer satisfaction I don’t know what is. My Pet Chicken gets an A+ from me. 🙂
Be an Informed Buyer, Ask Questions, Recognize Signs of Poor Health
It’s Spring and you might have buying baby chicks on your mind. This is when the feed stores have all those cute fuzzy butts available, and they certainly are hard to resist. Nothing wrong with being an impulse buyer in my book, but at least be an informed one! There are things to look for, and of course, you want to bring home healthy chicks. Once you leave the store, there’s no turning back, whatever chick problems you have, you’re stuck with, sorry, no returns. Ask Questions It’s good practice to ask the store manager when they received the chicks. Most likely the chicks were in transport before their arrival. During that time, chicks can become dehydrated, stressed, and kept too cold or hot, all compromising a chick’s survival. Most chicks in poor health will die within the first two days of their life. You’ll want to avoid buying chicks until they settle in at least 3-4 days after transport. Marek’s disease is extremely contagious among chickens and usually fatal, so always make sure the chicks you buy are vaccinated at the hatchery.
Choosing Healthy Chicks
You’ll want to see active chicks, some resting, others eating & drinking, and some under a heat source. This is normal behavior. Avoid chicks that are all huddled together, or lethargic. Eyes should be clear, and you don’t want to see any signs of fecal impaction, better known as pasty butts, Learn More. The beak, top, and bottom should be even, there shouldn’t be an overbite, or cross-over which may interfere with proper eating. Legs should appear sturdy and straight. Chicks will be fuzzy all over, avoid those with sparse or missing fluff. Prepare Have your brooder in place and ready to go before you bring home your baby chicks, it’s important to make their once again transition easy as possible. The brooder box should be the right temperature with bedding, a heat source, and food/water in place.
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Brooder For Your Chicks
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The primary role of a rooster in a flock of chickens is to fertilize the eggs laid by the hens. Aside from fertilizing eggs, roosters also play a protective role in the flock. Continue Readingby TBN Ranch
Seasonal Chicken Keeping
Keeping Chickens in Extreme Heat
Is your chicken yard and coop adequately designed to support the overall welfare of your flock during the summer season? It is crucial to make necessary preparations for extreme heat to prevent your birds from experiencing heat exhaustion and related issues. Read Article by TBN Ranch
Nest boxes play a vital role in supporting both chickens and their caretakers, offering a range of benefits. Discover numerous suggestions to assist you in selecting perfect nest boxes. View Nowby TBN Ranch
Creative Roost Ideas
There are so many different types of roosts, which one is best for your coop? Your birds need something suitable to roost on at night. Be creative! Here are over 50 types to inspire you. View Nowby TBN Ranch
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Mail-Order Chicks, Hatcheries & Supplies
Hatcheries & Retailers
Explore my collection of top-notch hatcheries and retailers. I’ve have personally purchased chicks from these hatcheries and have been consistently satisfied. Read Articleby TBN Ranch
At one time or another, you’ll inevitably lose one or more of your new baby chicks. Mail-order chicks or chicks kept in stressful conditions are most at risk. We usually blame it on one thing or another, but the most common reason is often overlooked… and can be avoided. Once dehydration is ruled out, and the chick showed no other signs of trouble before it died, the problem is often caused by pasting up, which is just a fancy name for a poopy bum. This is simply a condition where the baby chick’s poop gets stuck on the downy feathers outside their vent and prevents them from pooping. It’s often a fatal condition, so it’s very important to check all the chickie bums for at least the first two weeks of life. Tending to Pasting Up If there’s fecal matter stuck to the chick’s vent, use a warm wet cloth and soak it off. Sometimes if a chick has a chronic problem with pasting up it’s better to pull off the poop when it’s dry. This way it takes all the downy feathers with it, preventing another impaction.
Before you bring home your baby chicks prepare an area to keep them. Maybe a garage, shed, or any place where the chicks are protected from inclement weather or drafts. The Basics A Brooder This is simply a container worthy of containing the chicks for the first 4-6 weeks. The sides should be about 12 to 15 inches high, the taller the brooder is, the less likely you’re going to have a problem with chicks escaping when they become more active. Brooder Ideas Thermometer This is important to monitor the temperature in the brooder. Any outdoor type that is easy to read is sufficient. Brooder Lamp (and something dependable to hang it from) The hanging type will allow you better control of temperature. You’ll want the ease of lowering or raising the lamp for more or less heat. Most feed stores carry both brooder lamps and bulbs. Although the bulb color of choice by chicken keepers is a controversial one, I prefer and recommend the RED bulb.
Feeder & Drinker Choose both that are made for chicks, they are designed not only for their convenience but safety too. Bedding Shavings are usually the bedding of choice. Feed Most commonly called Chick Starter feed. They’re going to be on this food for the next 5-7 months or their point of lay, so don’t be afraid to buy a 50lb bag. It won’t be the last bag you buy!
The Extras to Make Caring for Your Chicks Easier…
Paper Towels Many chicken keepers like to use paper towels for the bottom of the brooder for the first week or two. I don’t, and all is fine… your choice. Medium Trash Can (2) A convenient way to make cleaning less of a chore. Keep it handy by the brooder. It’s nice to keep your feed in one too, bagged feed can be a big mess to clean up if it falls over. Bucket To dump out the drinker waste, rather than refilling the whole waterer ten times a day. An extra small brooder box in case you have to isolate or doctor a chick.