We have been raising chickens since April 2015, I have been using your site to answer so many of my questions Thru these last seven months, Thank you!
So we have 18 hens and roosters mix, 12 raised from babies, 6 adopted and inter grated in to the flock. We have a mix of bantams RIR, lace Wyandotte's, buff Orpington, Astrolopes, speckled Cochins , , , , anyway one hen went broody, was sitting on a clutch of 10 eggs, but only one hatched! Cutest little thing hangs out in mamas wings, chirps a lot, looks healthy. I kept them in the nesting box she laid all eggs in, moved box into a big wire cage inside the hen house, added water and baby chick food. Finally moms is hoping around, looks like she is finally giving up on the older eggs that did not hatch out. Yesterday I opened the cage and she hopped out ran around the coop, checked out everything.....I gave her treats, she hoped in the corn/ grit pail ate, scratched a bit....all the while the baby was having a fit...chirping at the top of it lungs.......then baby tried to squeeze out thru the cage wires to follow mom. Baby got stuck, had to push him back thru, momma hopped back in, then all settled down.
So my question is, baby in 2.5 weeks old now, do I open the cage and let them run free in and out of the hen house, into the frozen coup run, and just be free with the rest of the flock? Will baby freeze? We have been having below 30 degree nights, ice all over till noonish, will the flock attack baby if she follow momma? Will mom keep baby warm enough if she is out of cage running with the flock? I tend to let them free range around the farm on weekends, do I not let momma out to run free? There is a place I get feed, local farm, they had a mom and her 7 chicks just following her about, scratching, pecking at everything......running free? Is this the norm of letting mom raise the baby? Will she protect him? We are just so scared of loosing the One successful hatchling! Sorry for the long read....M~