Officialish Chicken Photo Thread! - Page 12 - The Horse Forum
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post #111 of 1037 Old 04-09-2012, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Ok Guru Lockwood (LOL!), how old are your hens when they get broodie and can hatch out some chicks?
Do you separate them or just let it go down naturally? Will the older birds accept the new chicks or am I going to have to go through that^?

Mine aren't trying to sit and I really want a couple to hatch them out without doing it myself AND caring for them for WEEKS. I've got an area to put them in to keep them up, but have you ever had a bird do it naturally?

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
What do you mean what do I mean?
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post #112 of 1037 Old 04-09-2012, 05:47 PM
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Flygap.....Lol, about the only thing I’m a guru at anymore is shoveling manure! Horse manure, donkey manure, alpaca manure, goat manure, chicken manure, turkey manure, duck manure… J

Ok, pull up a chair and get comfy......

My girls sit and hatch all the time and I will even put turkey eggs under my chicken hens, which works great! Plus I end up with smarter turkeys which are notorious for being pretty brainless in general.

So far, I find hens who are at least a year or two old make the best brooders. I’ve had a few try it at about 9-10 months old, but they often fail as it takes dedication to stay on the eggs, but still get up to feed, drink, and go potty everyday.

Depending on where the hen chooses to sit as to whether I separate her or not. Although mine have their own area and nesting boxes, they are free to roam anywhere inside all my pastures and will choose a variety of places to try. If it is in a busy common nesting box, or she is getting picked on a lot (because she won’t move off the pile) or it’s a dangerous place (under the hay rack) I‘ll move her to a place I have set up for quarantine/emergency pen for my smaller animals or into a huge dog crate and close the door for a few days, with food and water of course.
Some hens will tolerate a move very early on, some not. Once they have been on their spot for say a week, moving them will make them abandon the eggs.

Usually, after the chicks hatch and if it was in a common area, then I will either pen off the area (again, depending on the nest sight) or I will move mum and chicks to the above mentioned QT pen or large crate. I have on occasion when everything is full up, placed hens and chicks into a large rabbit cage I bought just for that reason.

Some hens will care for the chicks for months, others get real tired of it after a month and a half and will want say… “see ya kids… you’re on your own now.”
The other chickens can and will attack the chicks even with a diligent mum, so I like to play it safe for the chicks sake and confine until they are big enough to run, hide, or otherwise be ok in a scuffle.

Mum hens range from mild tempered to “rip your face off if you touch my chicks!!“ so do be careful until you know how the hen will react to your touching the chicks. (Yeah, ask me how I know this!)

If you have a broody hen, but decide she is not the breed of bird you wasn’t to raise, you can purchase day old chicks after she has been setting for at least 10 to 15 days. You go in during the night and swap the chicks for the eggs under her and fool her into believing her babies hatched. Any earlier that 10 to 15 days and she won‘t buy it since total hatch time is 21 days, but after 15 it works really well.

Turkeys take 29 days, but my girls are dedicated and will sit forever until something peeps and hatches.

My current 5 chicks pictured on the last page were planned to be stuck under a broody hen since the weather has been so good, but none of my girls have set yet. Oh well, that’s why I usually wait until June to buy chicks and do the swap, but I got a really good deal this time sharing the purchase with a friend.

Oh, and yes, I have had a chicken pick her own spot, sit, hatch, and defend her chicks with no interference from me what-so-ever. But since I have lots of 4 legged farm critters the odds are stacked against them that they will get stepped on before they get big enough for mum to teach them the wise way of “how to be a chicken.”

Sorry for the novel....
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post #113 of 1037 Old 04-09-2012, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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THANK YOU THANK YOU for the novel, going to read and re-read it!
Yes, you are a Guru! And not just the Poop Guru either! LOL!

My girls aren't old enough I guess. I've gone in and a couple will act broody, I leave them alone and see if they are going to stick with it but alas the next morning the eggs are alone and cold.
I have a good area under the nesting boxes that would be great to leave and let sit if one chooses. Not sure if the chickies would make it unprotected.
I'm going to try it with the turkey eggs next year! That sounds AWESOME!

You can get a lot further with a ladder than you can with crutches!!
What do you mean what do I mean?
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post #114 of 1037 Old 04-09-2012, 07:21 PM
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Welcome....
I'm just good at researching and I love to learn.
(I was one of those annoying types that loved college.)
If there was such a job, I would want to be a professional student when I grow up.

These sites are pretty helpful and I'm also a bookworm so have quite a few good chicken books. (Small library actually, full of all kinds of things... I could open my own book store.... )
http://www.mypetchicken.com/backyard-chickens/chicken-care/guide-toc.aspx
http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKRaisingChicks.html
http://poultrykeeper.com/chickens/
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post #115 of 1037 Old 04-10-2012, 06:58 AM
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what should temps be like before i set the babies out? it was staying around 50-60 out at night and 70-80 during the day, however temps plumited this week. ad they got down in the 30s and 40s. today i let the chicks out to roam around a bit since the weather was nice, and i put the brahma rooster up. our little cochin and banny hen got along well with the chicks, just accepted them right in the flock. however the big brahma rooster WILL come running at me if he hears me carrying a peeper... lol maybe he just doesnt like the peeps. that being said i do have a dog crate i could set out by the coop, its one of those open metal ones, so i'll have to find something for them to run and hide in. as for a chick hide, i took one of those plastic dog crates with the seperate tops and bottoms, and i threw the top of the goats to climb on, and turned the bottom upside down in the chicken cook. its short enough that our little banny can get in and maybe the cochin, but big bad rooster cant get in there so they should be safe if they run to hide there.


Baby, Sparta, Carmen, Henry, Hooch, Mercedes, Butterscotch
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post #116 of 1037 Old 04-10-2012, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by lilkitty90 View Post
what should temps be like before i set the babies out? it was staying around 50-60 out at night and 70-80 during the day, however temps plumited this week. ad they got down in the 30s and 40s. today i let the chicks out to roam around a bit since the weather was nice, and i put the brahma rooster up. our little cochin and banny hen got along well with the chicks, just accepted them right in the flock. however the big brahma rooster WILL come running at me if he hears me carrying a peeper... lol maybe he just doesnt like the peeps. that being said i do have a dog crate i could set out by the coop, its one of those open metal ones, so i'll have to find something for them to run and hide in. as for a chick hide, i took one of those plastic dog crates with the seperate tops and bottoms, and i threw the top of the goats to climb on, and turned the bottom upside down in the chicken cook. its short enough that our little banny can get in and maybe the cochin, but big bad rooster cant get in there so they should be safe if they run to hide there.
I went back a few pages and looked at the pics again (from a few weeks ago) and I'm fairly sure your chicks are still too small.
They need to be fully feathered before they can regulate their own body temps. I'm guessing yours still have fuzzy places and right off the top of my head I think it takes 8 weeks plus for full feathers.

I'm only working on my first cup of coffee, so am not fully functioning yet. I'll poke around after I come in from the barn to double check the info.
BTW, I did try to snap a few pics of my Ameracaunas to show what your chicks will look like (I think that was you, right?) but mine are very camera shy and all I got were blurs.
My other breeds of hens will actually pose for the camera, but any of my blue based colored girls are flighty.

The bottom of the dog crate upside down will work well for a hiding place, but more than likely if the mean rooster is determined to get the chicks, he will get into that to get them. It may not look like he could, but his instinct to protect his current little flock is very strong.
The other fully enclosed dog crate placed inside the chicken area is probably the better way to go once the chicks are bigger.
Better safe than dead.
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post #117 of 1037 Old 04-10-2012, 10:34 AM
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definitely better safe then dead. they do have a couple of little fuzz spots on their heads, but other then that they got their feathers. i am still unsure of there colors haha. and they are ameracaunas and definitely flightly even at this young age. how long before they get there little muff things? at the moment they are beardless. so not sure when they will grow those in.


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post #118 of 1037 Old 04-10-2012, 10:37 AM
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Ok, double checked and full feathers are between 6 to 8 weeks.
Much depends on the breed and how you have been managing the heat (and reduction of) in the brooder during those 6 weeks too.

If they were my chicks, I would not put them out with temps below 60 at night, only because if they get chilled there is no way to warm up.
When I have put chicks out that young before, I put them into a larger enclosure, but still have a household light bulb over their cage to create a "warm spot" where they can go to if they get chilled and I put up cardboard around the out side of the warm spot to decrease breeze or draft that may be rolling through the barn.
That's just me though and I tend to err on the side of caution.
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post #119 of 1037 Old 04-10-2012, 10:39 AM
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Haha we posted at almost the same time.
Not all Ameracaunas have beards or muffs. I have two that don't, 1 mix without and the others have varying degrees of beards. But, any with beards had them from day one in their fuzz.
Are there any fuzzy spots under the outer body or belly feathers?
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post #120 of 1037 Old 04-10-2012, 01:41 PM
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awww i wanted muffs! lol darn! i haven't checked under their bellys but i will today. as for the light cycle i leave the light off during the day since they are inside and its a steady temperature of 73. but i do turn it on at night because it tips in the mid 60s at night. they have been inside over a month i am sure of that but i'll go back and check my calender to be sure as well.


Baby, Sparta, Carmen, Henry, Hooch, Mercedes, Butterscotch
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