Are the new chicks stressing her out?

ChickenLana

Hatching
Apr 30, 2015
8
0
9
(Ok, so I've already made some mistakes and I'm new at this so Please, no judgements!)

I started out with 2 girls whom I adored. They were promptly eaten by the dog, who now lives in a nice, secure kennel. So, I built more fences and bought a full grown girl. The first 3 days after she got here, she gave me eggs. I already had 6 chicks in a brooder box that are about 2-3 weeks. Here is the question: during the day, I have been putting the chicks in a smaller "playpen" inside the run. I know they technically aren't old enough but I swear to you, they LOVE it. Since it's in the 80's, they don't get cold. Back to the point, my big girl hasn't done anything aggressive but she stays right by the playpen all day and won't lay. Does she think these are her chicks? Is she trying to hurt them? What are your thoughts??
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,032
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
(Ok, so I've already made some mistakes and I'm new at this so Please, no judgements!)

I started out with 2 girls whom I adored. They were promptly eaten by the dog, who now lives in a nice, secure kennel. So, I built more fences and bought a full grown girl. The first 3 days after she got here, she gave me eggs. I already had 6 chicks in a brooder box that are about 2-3 weeks. Here is the question: during the day, I have been putting the chicks in a smaller "playpen" inside the run. I know they technically aren't old enough but I swear to you, they LOVE it. Since it's in the 80's, they don't get cold. Back to the point, my big girl hasn't done anything aggressive but she stays right by the playpen all day and won't lay. Does she think these are her chicks? Is she trying to hurt them? What are your thoughts??

Welcome to BYC.
First of all, the chicks are plenty old enough to be out in the playpen, so no need to fret over thinking you are doing something wrong there. As you have said, the birds are happy and healthy - they are telling you are doing something right, so keep following your instincts, you're doing good.
The interruption in production is likely related to stress - chickens are not animals that do well with change. Your hen has just been moved to a new location - that alone will generally cause an interruption in production. The way that their systems work you will often get an egg or two and then see it stop - this is because that first egg they gave you was actually already partly through the process of forming when you moved them (commonly accepted average time for egg from start to finish is 25 hours) so that egg will be finished and laid no matter what, and sometimes a day or two after that as well as their body goes through the process of shutting down the production line in reaction to the change. A bird that has been moved may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks off from production.
Yes, the introduction of new birds (to her the chicks) can also be a stress source, and that could also contribute to the lack of production, but it is no more of a concern on that front than the move itself. If she was able to reach them she may, indeed, attempt to hurt them, so the play pen is great and will help ease the introduction when you do allow them to mix weeks from now. No, she does not think that they are her chicks.
One thing that you don't seem to have considered, though, is the risk to your chicks in exposing them to this new bird who you have only had (as it sounds) a few days. At this point it's a bit late to be concerned as there has already been exposure, but I would definitely be keeping an eye on everyone at this point so that at the first sign of symptoms in any of them you can get on it. Keep an eye on your babies, especially, now that they've been being exposed outside to be alert for Coccidiosis.
 

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