[Homestead] They are sooooo cute
clhw at InfoAve.Net
Fri Jun 9 14:03:26 EDT 2006
Bev -- We usually keep the hen with the chicks, in a brood box, which your
setup sounds like a good version of, for 2 or 3 weeks. Then we remove the
hen and keep the chicks there, graduating them to a larger container, like
your chicken tractor, according to the size of the wire openings and the
size of the chicks.
As far as temperatures, the chicks will probably be ok to be in normal air
temps in about a week, especially if you can give them a wind break. If you
have Murray McMurray's catalog, they give information about lowering brood
box temps, and if your night temps are not going under 60, they should be
ready for that in a couple of weeks.
Likewise, we move them to the main pen according to their size -- when
they're too big for snakes to eat, and too big to go through the wire. We
have a bunch of 14 hatched by 2 hens which will graduate to the main pen
today. Our other hens are free range and we'll let these teen aged chicks
go free range in about another month, probably.
A lot depends on when we/daughter get tired of the extra care and the
critters seem to be rebelling. For example, we have a hen and 4 chicks, 3
of which are hers, in the brood box right now. The first hen didn't want to
be in it from day one. We kept her there about 4 or 5 days and then threw
her out when the other hen appeared with her 3. She took the extra chick,
at night, with no trouble.
As far as the mature birds, and the mother of the chicks, you need to watch
for severe harrassment, especially drawing blood. There will be some
chasing and establishing pecking order no matter what age. But we like them
to have enough size and feathers (wing feathers especially) to be able to
run fast or fly and escape, which means a couple of months. If the mom
starts pecking at them, pitch her out; her brooding time is done.
We have the same sort of predators you do, I'm sure. Snakes are the biggy
for little chicks. There are possums, raccoon (which the dog usually scares
off), skunks, hawks, fox, other people's dogs, and potentially large cats
like cougar and bobcat. We're glad the last two have not gotten brazen
enough to come by the barn even though they've been sighted in the fields
with our horses.
But we're on rotation with the small poultry all the time.
>This morning, I went out to discover that my broody hen, a barred rock,
>has hatched 7 chicks...They are soooo cute!
I am interested in
>hearing what's going to happen next from those who have witnessed this
>How long will she sit with them/on them to keep them warm before she
>starts venturing out with them?
>When will it be safe to allow her and her brood to roam with the other
However, when I do reintroduce
>her, where is the safest place for her to be-with the 25 pullets or with
>the mature hens and rooster?
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