Stockpile of Eggs update (kind of long)
A while back I had a few hens that started laying up in the loft of our coop (between 5-6 feet high), I had cleared it out a few times and had plans to hang netting so they could no longer sneak up there. Needless to say before we got to that task I discovered my Marans hen broody in that same spot, I didn't think there were any eggs under her since we cleared them out but I wasn't sure. We decided to let her be. Last week she got off the nest briefly and I counted a shocking 18 eggs! Thursday night we discovered a little chick had hatched and was tucked safely under it's mom.
The next day (Friday) we checked on her in the morning and another chick had hatched, I had a really busy day and wasn't able to move her in the morning plus I was worried about relocating her and the nest since the chicks were still hatching etc. That afternoon when I got home I went into the coop only to find her off the nest on the floor, no sign of any chicks. There were a bunch of unhatched eggs. I was pretty disappointed, I wished I had been more vigilant about a plan. I searched for the two little chicks but couldn't find any sign of them, the loft is way too high off the ground for them to have jumped or so I thought.
I gently nudged my marans hen who was sitting rather funny on the floor and to my shock and surprise 6 little fluffy chicks came running out from under her peeping up a storm! How on earth did they get down from the loft???????
I have never had a broody hatch eggs before, it is the sweetest sight to behold. I quickly prepared a chicken condo for the family, they are now safely separated from the other birds.
Here's my question, how long do I keep this little family separated? should I keep the mom w/the chicks indefinitely? I'll also add I have to wear thick rubber gloves to change the water and food because mom is fierce! :)
Thanks for any advice!