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Leave Hen To Raise Chicks On Her Own


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If a hen has 1 baby and four more eggs to hatch, would it be safe to take the dad and put him in the aviary and leave her to incubate the eggs the last few days and then raise the chicks? Especially if I took the older ones sometimes a fed them then put them back to help her, and/or permenantly took 2 of the chicks when they were older and handfed them?

Would that be alright to do, and not stress her or make her work too hard? I mainly want to do it because I don't want them starting a third clutch and if the dad is still there she may start laying when the youngest chick is only 2 weeks old, that is usually her custom. And thus abandon the chicks the pay attention to the eggs.

So, can I take the dad out now and it would be okay, or wait until all the chicks have hatched, or not do it at all?

Help please, I'm just worried whether making her raise the babies all on her own would be harmful for her.


Edited by Jen144
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Do not do it yet. The Mum will sit on the eggs and feed the chicks for about the first 2 weeks of their life. After that the Dad's tend to take over and play a greater feeding role.


When you decide to remove a parent, I think it should be the hen you remove, not the cock.


Removing the hen will not stop the hen abandoning the young to start another clutch. She may see them as a hindrance, something in the road, in case another male comes along. Remove Mum when the chicks are old enough, not Dad. First sign that she wants another clutch, remove her. Put her far enough away so Dad cannot see or hear her. This is often hard to do, especially with the hearing each other, but out of sight is a must.

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I have been advised that a hen can incubate and raise up to 4 chicks perfectly fine on her own. Seed in the box is a great help for her.


Anyways, you dont need to worry about the third clutch. Just remove and new eggs until all the chicks are fledged and then take the box. It's not the egg laying that is harmful so much, but the feeding of three rounds that is dangerous :D

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Yes, the reason I don't want her to lay a third round is that she then starts picking on the babies until I have to take them out of the nest and either handfeed them, try and get the dad to feed them (doesn't always work) or hope they are old enough to feed themselves and their younger siblings.

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I've always heard that its better to leave both parents, then remove the HEN before she starts laying a new round, not the cock. The hen may still lay even without the cock, whereas a cock will never lay no matter how long you leave him with the chicks lol.


Even if she starts laying before you catch her, just take her out as soon as you see an egg and leave her in the aviary and the cock with the chicks.

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I would do that, except I've found that my males don't reliably feed their babies, especially if they are busy calling to their mate. (as I can get them out of eyesight but not out of earshot of the other birds)

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I have no experience, so what I say has no weight. But it is good for me to learn too, so I have an idea, and the experienced people can tell us if it is feasable or not.


If you wait until it is necessary, and then just take out the hen, like Dave said, and then if you find that the dad won't feed the chicks, are there any older chicks from round one that you could put in with them? Maybe they would feed them. I've heard people say that younger birds will often ask for food from older siblings, and the older siblings will oblige.


This seems like it might be a dangerous idea, if the older siblings won't provide enough food. What do you experts think?

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  • 10 years later...

My young male budgie wants to get in the nesting box he got in once and scattered the eggs so I put him in a different cage.  I let them out together but the hen goes back afte a few seconds  am I doing the right thing   she is sitting on 4 eggs 

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6 minutes ago, Josie Warne said:

My young male budgie wants to get in the nesting box he got in once and scattered the eggs so I put him in a different cage.  I let them out together but the hen goes back afte a few seconds  am I doing the right thing   she is sitting on 4 eggs 


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  • 10 months later...

I have a hen with four Chicks already and four fertile eggs still to hatch, So she'll have eight total chicks when she's done. So far she is feeding all four chicks as far as I can tell but will not let the male in the nest box at all. She's a very snippity bird and barely let him near her even to mate. So I don't anticipate her ever letting him in in the nest box to help her in any way with chick feeding. Do you think that she will be able to handle all of these chicks on her own or should I anticipate having to step in and help her with feedings?

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