Setting hens : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have a 2 hens setting on eggs in our nesting boxes. Hurray! Baby chicks! My nesting boxes are about 2 and a half feet off the ground. After the chicks hatch and are a few days old, do I need to move them to the ground to have access to feed and water or will Mama push them out of the nest when they are ready?

-- Tiffani Cappello (, June 11, 2001


After they hatch out, they will "magically";) appear on the ground with Mama, no worse for the leap. Good luck, Tiffani, a good broody hen is a treasure. (If, by any chance, they do not go down--most do, wait a day or two before you help them. Mama will sit until she thinks the hatch is done, and it sometimes takes a day or two over.)

-- mary, in colorado (, June 11, 2001.

In my limited experience, a few hours after the hatch starts, Mom is faced with a dilemma. Does she let the little ones who have jumped or fallen from the nest sit on the ground and get chilled, or does she abandon those who have not yet hatched to keep the ones on the ground warm? Either way some chicks are lost. I have found it best to move the hens, with their nests, at night, to a private, ground level location (a plastic dog crate or other box with a ground-level opening works well). This way the newly hatched chicks can get back to mom without her having to abandon the eggs. My broody hens will sit on a nice comfy nest full of eggs just about anywhere I put one, so relocation hasn't been much of a problem for me.

-- Laura Jensen (, June 11, 2001.

Congratulations! New chicks are always exciting. Keep an eye on them all. I have heard that new baby chicks will be pecked by the other chickens, killing them. I usually take mama out into a seperate area and so far have not had problems. (Mama may not like the new location) That way the babies won't be in with the other large birds. Brenda

-- Brenda (, June 11, 2001.

If there is any way possible to keep mama on the nest for a day or so after the first chicks hatch, it will help. The babies do not need food or water for the first couple of days. I try to put something in the nest box for the hen to eat or drink so that she is less inclined to leave the nest before all have hatched. Definitely protect the babies from the older hens...if the mother wont do it! Good Luck!

-- Marcia (, June 11, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ