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Should I seperate my new mama and chicks from the rest of the flock?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Here's the deal... I had a mama hatch out her first clutch yesterday and today.  My coop sits off the ground and is enclosed by the run.  I took the mama and chicks out of the nest box today and gave them a small dog crate without the door attached.  I put it out in the run (it is covered so it won't get wet) on the ground.  I did this because I was told that when the mama brings them out of the coop for the first time they wouldn't be able to climb back up the ladder to get back into the coop.  I just wanted them to have a comfy place.  The problem is that my other birds, I have 7 others of which 4 are Golden comets, are trying to peck the babies.  I mean one of my GCs actually put her head inside the crate and grabbed a chick by the foot and threw it  into the run.  I was there and about took that hen's head off for it.  I kicked the other hens out of the run today to free range so the mama and babies could be in peace.  I am concerned because she is very content with me handling her babies and she doesn't seem to protect the chicks being pecked on.  Maybe in her own way she is protecting the mass and letting the one fend for itself?  She covers the babies and lets the GCs peck at her head in order to protect them.  But why won't she peck back at these mean GCs?  The other 3 mutt hens don't seem to be giving the babies or mama a hard time and she growls at them to keep them away (but not with the GC girls). 

I've heard that the mama will protect the babies from the flock and that it is best to raise them all together so the big girls get used to them and you don't have to reintegrate them later on.  So, will my sweet chickie mama get a little more aggressive with the other hens and protect these little ones?  This is her first hatch and none of the others have hatched babies either.  Any advice would be welcomed. Thank you!

post #2 of 13

Personally, I'd separate the GC's and let mama and chicks live together with the flock.  I might even turn the GC's into soup.  But I want my flock to take care of its own.  Many on here would tell you to separate Mama and chicks, but you will probably not be able to reintegrate til the chicks are adult size, so you would need more accommodations for them.

It is possible you could take the GC's out for a week or so then reintroduce them, as they would then be at the bottom of the pecking order.  Maybe worth a try.

It's a personal choice.

Ventilation -- may be the most important aspect of coop design

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

14 hatchery and mutt hens

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Ventilation -- may be the most important aspect of coop design

BYC Troubleshooting article -- click here

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.

14 hatchery and mutt hens

Reply
post #3 of 13

It did not work for me. The others tried to single out chicks when they would wonder off and peck at them hard to where they would scream. They got a little bloody and I pulled them and their mom, so she can raise them stress free for about 5 weeks and then reintroduced them.

Good Luck

I am kept as a pet by, 4 Banty Hens, 1 Sparrow "Birbie", 14 Butterfly Koi, 1 Standard Koi & 12 Fry (baby koi) 1 Goose, 10 Goslings, 9 preteen ducks. Also 1 VERY understanding hubbie (he can't stand a roosters crow) & 2 Animal Loving Kids. "MACK" "momma's baby duck" RIP.
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I am kept as a pet by, 4 Banty Hens, 1 Sparrow "Birbie", 14 Butterfly Koi, 1 Standard Koi & 12 Fry (baby koi) 1 Goose, 10 Goslings, 9 preteen ducks. Also 1 VERY understanding hubbie (he can't stand a roosters crow) & 2 Animal Loving Kids. "MACK" "momma's baby duck" RIP.
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post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

I really don't have a way to separate them in any really good way, unless I could put a makeshift divider in my run somehow.  I can't believe how aggressive the Golden Comets are towards the chicks.  When the mama and her sisters were big enough, we introduced the GCs one at a time to the flock of 5 and each one was immediately at the top of the pecking order.  It took at least a month to introduce all 4 of them.  It was a difficult time but they integrated after about yet another month or 2.  Maybe they are this way because they aren't broody type birds and just don't have any mothering instincts? 

Do you, or anyone, think that the new mama's instincts will grow more protective or will she just stay docile?  I'm sure she's exhausted from sitting and not eating and drinking much.  I'm hoping that's it.

post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

So at 5 weeks did the other birds still peck them really bad? Or did the mama protect them more?

post #6 of 13

i would like info on this too, im in the same situation

To know others is to be wise, to know yourself is to be enlightened
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To know others is to be wise, to know yourself is to be enlightened
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post #7 of 13

Well, my hubbie made a fenced off area inside the coop. Basically a coop inside a coop. And they were in that for another few weeks, because my hen was NOT  broody. She kinda protected them, but not really.
She, after 1 week in the coop inside a coop, decided she did not want to be a mom anymore so we let her go with the other girls and kept the chickies in the "protected" coop. They did fine. And wanted to play with the other hens very much. When we let them mingle we did it for  about an hour at a time ( I was sitting right with them that whole hour just in case). The other chickens were very used to them, but were still kind of stand offish. I did this at just before sun down so they would be getting the last of the food pecked up and start winding down for the day. My chickens are the most calm at this time.
Well, they started to just blend in after about 10 days of doing this, on the 10th day they all roosted together. But I was up before the sun the next day so I could watch the craziness in case it happened.
Well, nothing happened. They all just started to scratch peck and drink. But I was outside in the yard the entire day so I could keep a watchful eye on them. But the next few days, I was up before the sun, I was so paranoid. But all was well. They did start to establish a pecking order when I wasn't outside. I am a stalker of my chickens. I keep a close watchful eye on them from inside the house. And sneek to different windows and watch them. I want to know what is up with my kids, and if they are behaving. They tend to do things when they think the "Rooster Mom" is not around ( I do that with my human kids too!) So far, (fingers crossed for luck) I have not had a problem!
Yes, it took work for me, but I didn't know any other way to do it. And it worked. I also won't tolerate any of them hurting each other! Pecking order and playful chicken behavior is fine, but when blood is drawn...."momma rooster" steps in! But, that's just me! I micromanaged at first because I had to, but now we have no known problems. Phew!
Well, good luck. I know there are others out there that may have an easier way....so please dish it. I want to know for future reference just in case I need a back up plan!
fl            barnie                fl

I am kept as a pet by, 4 Banty Hens, 1 Sparrow "Birbie", 14 Butterfly Koi, 1 Standard Koi & 12 Fry (baby koi) 1 Goose, 10 Goslings, 9 preteen ducks. Also 1 VERY understanding hubbie (he can't stand a roosters crow) & 2 Animal Loving Kids. "MACK" "momma's baby duck" RIP.
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I am kept as a pet by, 4 Banty Hens, 1 Sparrow "Birbie", 14 Butterfly Koi, 1 Standard Koi & 12 Fry (baby koi) 1 Goose, 10 Goslings, 9 preteen ducks. Also 1 VERY understanding hubbie (he can't stand a roosters crow) & 2 Animal Loving Kids. "MACK" "momma's baby duck" RIP.
Reply
post #8 of 13

Oh, are your 3 mutts on the lower end of the pecking order? If they are that's why she growls at them. She wants to keep her place. But the other 3 are above her in the order. So she just goes with it.
Hopefully things will change for the better. All mine are bantys. I also handle them thoroughly. Meaning, when I pick one up I feel under it's wings check the chicken over, pet and examine her. I want to make sure that if an attack or sickness ever does happen, they will let me do what ever to them without freaking out about being touched. Hey can you tell I don't have a lot of chickens....but just enough. When this happened, as in the story posted above, I had 5 chickens and my one non broody hen and her chicks (4). If I could have a chicken in my purse to carry around like some people carry their dogs....I'd do it.
Now that would be fun! Could you imagine the weird looks! And I would just walk by very proud, but I think I would have one of my roos! They are my sweet boys. And a good weapon against purse snachers! LOL Good night....I am getting delirious and rambling now!

I am kept as a pet by, 4 Banty Hens, 1 Sparrow "Birbie", 14 Butterfly Koi, 1 Standard Koi & 12 Fry (baby koi) 1 Goose, 10 Goslings, 9 preteen ducks. Also 1 VERY understanding hubbie (he can't stand a roosters crow) & 2 Animal Loving Kids. "MACK" "momma's baby duck" RIP.
Reply
I am kept as a pet by, 4 Banty Hens, 1 Sparrow "Birbie", 14 Butterfly Koi, 1 Standard Koi & 12 Fry (baby koi) 1 Goose, 10 Goslings, 9 preteen ducks. Also 1 VERY understanding hubbie (he can't stand a roosters crow) & 2 Animal Loving Kids. "MACK" "momma's baby duck" RIP.
Reply
post #9 of 13

I agree that it has to do with pecking order. I currently have 4 Barred Rock hens and a roo in my pen. The first hen had chicks with no problem. The second hen had chicks and I caught the dominant hen running around the run with one in her mouth screaming bloody murder. I took the dominant hen out and all is well.

Last year I had about 20 hens and one tired roo in the coop. Due to the fact that the other hens kept laying new eggs in the broody nest I took the broody out and put her in a separate pen to hatch and raise her chicks. I tried marking the eggs and removing the new ones but it just became easier to take the broody out. After the chicks were getting around real good I started free ranging them and mom with the others. Never had a problem getting them accepted into the flock. I did put a circle of wire in the run and coop after the chicks went to the big coop for them to escape into if there was anyone picking. I can't remember what age that was. I let them tell me when they were ready to go in the coop with the others. They just decided to go in there one night.

Hope this helps.

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

Yes, I do believe it has something to do with the pecking order.  I kicked the Golden Comets and 1 of the mutts out this morning.  Mama chased away the other 2 birds if they even looked at her babies.  I wish she'd just do that with the others and so be it.  Husband thought of an idea that we're trying for now.  We blocked off the underside of the coop with boards so mama and babies can't get out and the big girls can't get in.  I think I'm going to try to make a fence out of chicken wire to put in the same place so they can all be looking at each other  and getting used to each other before I try to re introduce them in a few weeks.  Today I just had to get them protected somehow.  We'll see how this works.  Thank you!

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