broody abandoned chicks and it's cold!

claraserena(4)October 4, 2008

We've had 6 broody hens raise chicks this year; each mom and chicks group gets a separate pen/shelter and then as the chicks get to 4-6 weeks I let them mingle with the rest of the flock (all free-range all day). So far it has gone well--mom and chicks return at night to their small coops and all eventually end up in the big coop. With one exception. Yesterday I let a Columbian Wyandotte hen with her 2 chicks, age 4 weeks, out of their small pen late afternoon. At dusk the chicks had returned to their little coop and the hen was in the big coop. It was cold (26) last night and the chicks were cold--so I brought the hen back with them for the night. Today she is ignoring them--they are kind of huddled in a corner. Will the chicks be warm enough tonight with just each other? I've had a broody lose interest in her chicks at 4 weeks (when she started to lay) but then there were 5 chicks and the weather was warm. In contrast, I have a bantam hen who is still with her 6 chicks, (some now bigger than she is) at 9 weeks.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

It will be too cold. Is there some way you could run a extension cord with a ceramic fixture-Heat lamp is best. Hang it above the bedding high enough (usually 12-15") so it won't start a fire. Check how warm it gets under the light by placing a thermometer on the ground-it should be between 70-90F. The chicks will move away or to the heat as they may need. Until they are 10 to 12 week old in cold weather they probably will need night time heat-it depends on breed and their body size on how long and much heat they will need. I have Seramas and they are very tiny tropical chickens that can't survive well below +40F. Some are as small as 5 ounces fully grown. Good luck with them.

If you would like to some picture of them visit and

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mid day she was with the chicks--normal in all ways--tonight she left them again. I took her out of the coop and put her in with the chicks and they seem fine. Thank goodness for those warm broody bodies!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 8:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Happy to hear all is well in the coop. That makes things easier. Hopefully they will all go to the big coop soon.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2008 at 9:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

Keep an eye on her and make sure she continues to be a good mom and attends to her chicks. If she abandons them, you'll have to make a broody box for them, complete with food, water & a heat source, free of drafts & safe.

Is she a first time mom? Sometimes first time moms will lost interest in either eggs or chicks, they just need a little more time to mature themselves. :)

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 2:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes, she's a first time mom. She's dealing with some status issues now that she's out and she's just over a molt (getting nice new feathers)--so she's got a lot on her plate so to speak. I check as much as I can--one or the other of the chicks will get separated from her and I will herd the chick back.
I have another broody who went back to the coop 2 plus weeks ago. Her 3 chicks joined her and they all roost near each other. She still leads them during the day and they are 8 weeks.
Is there a "normal" for the time a broody cares for chicks?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2008 at 3:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Miss_Kitty(6a KY)

I confined my broody with the chicks, it was a small pen that I could move every few days. It worked VERY well. She lost interest in them after about six weeks, I put them in with the ducklings. Everyone did just fine, but it was August, not the least bit cold.

She didn't go broody this year. I guess motherhood didn't appeal to her the second time around. I was very disappointed when she didn't go broody this year. Her chicks are nice laying hens this year. Maybe I'll get lucky and they will go broody next year.

Otherwise I'm going to have to find another source of Dominques.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 9:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

I'd say about 6 weeks is average for a mom to care for her chicks. After that she'll gradually lose interest in them and they in her, but sometimes it's less time, other times more time. Once the kids feather out and start to get more independent, you may find the mom getting annoyed with them being around. It can vary from hatch to hatch.

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In the last four nights, the hen has left the chicks two and stayed with them two. When she left them I just took her from the coop and put her with the chicks and she settled in fine--maybe she just forgot. During the day she is an attentive mom.
And the Bantam mom is with her 6 chicks going on 10 weeks--She had co-sat with a Buff Orphington. The Buff left the chicks 3 weeks ago.
I had one Buff that had just one chick. She lost interest in the chick at 4 weeks. It was pretty sad to watch that little one try to make her way in the flock. She's just starting to lay now--still very shy and a loner.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 11:05PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Need help with a ground cover grass that is fast growing
I'm looking for some input on what kind of wild grass...
Dorking rooster with frostbite
Hello, Our rooster suffered frost bite in the dip in...
Water Well Question
I have an old water well on my property. It was originally...
Chickens and Guineas Together
I would like to get 2 chickens and 2 guineas to wonder...
Need help on choosing raw milk farmer
Hello, everyone, I have a little dilemma: I have a...
Sponsored Products
Couristan Outdoor Escape Pacific Heights Indoor / Outdoor Rug Multicolor - 21238
$59.00 | Hayneedle
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™