Baby chicks safe with adult hens & rooster?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by DoDa, May 27, 2008.

  1. DoDa

    DoDa Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Portage, WI
    We have our first chicks hatched under a hen (previously we were buying chicks). Mom (Hazel) had access in and out of her own little house all during brooding and so stayed "in touch" with the other hens and rooster. Now I have poultry netting up so she can run around outside with her chicks. All are healthy and Hazel is protective. The other hens and rooster have seen them through the poultry netting the past few days. Would the chicks and mom be safe with the flock at this point? And the rooster? He's a good boy. He doesn't like me, at all, but he's VERY protective of his girls and seems to understand that the babies are now a part of his duty, but I can't know for sure and already made one mistake. I put another broody hen (Abby) in with Hazel and when Abby's eggs started to hatch there was trouble. I heard a commotion in the house, opened the door and Abby was off the nest, which had one dead, bloodied chick in it, and she had one of Hazel's chicks in her beak, shaking it to death. Hazel was trying to protect her other chicks and couldn't do anything. I kicked Abby out, took her eggs, which were in the process of hatching, and stuck them under another hen who successfully hatched them in another segregated house. I don't know if Abby is aggressive and will kill chicks or if I created a situation where she felt threatened by Hazel's chicks? Abby is Dark Cornish, Hazel is Partridge Rock. We'd heard Partridge Rocks were good setters and Hazel is perfect. I know Hazel, though, and she wants to stretch her legs and go free with her chicks. She's getting "stir-crazy". But I don't want to risk the babies just yet if it's too dangerous.
     
  2. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only way to know for sure is to let momma and her chicks out with the rest of the flock and see what happens. I've had chicks brought up by a momma hen in the midst of a flock and it worked out great! The roo even pitched in ad helped raise them! You might want to stay around for a while after letting them in with the flock so that you can monitor their behavior, then check in on them often for the next couple of days, in case there are any problems.

    Hope this helps and that everything works out well for you,

    Lori
     
  3. DoDa

    DoDa Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Portage, WI
    Thank you for the reply. I wanted to have ma hen raise these little ones as "naturally" as possible so I was hoping to integrate them into the flock. Abby, the hen that killed one of her chicks and one of the other hens, is still in the flock, along with a few other less than friendly hens, so I think I'm going to put Hazel and babies in their own chicken tractor. I just don't want to see another chick get killed. Our undesirable hens are going soon, but not quite yet. The little ones that are with Hazel, that have outdoor access, seem to be growing faster than chicks we buy and brood. They are so robust for being so young. I guess nothing beats mommy.
     
  4. cheprbyddozn

    cheprbyddozn New Egg

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    May 29, 2008
    what about letting them free range by themselves? would that be an option...say afternoon evening?
     
  5. theOEGBman

    theOEGBman Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 13, 2007
    Central California
    I have 3 broodies with chicks right now and they all hatched them in the pen and run around with the other birds with no problems. My roos can be butts towards us people, but they are very protective of their chicks. I dont know how other people's roos are, but mine have always been great with the chicks.
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. LuckysMom

    LuckysMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 14, 2007
    South Carolina
    I have 5 chicks that are 3 weeks old, and I've been leaving them alone with the rest of the flock for about a week now. Angel, the mother hen, is very protective and keeps them away from from the rest of the flock. The other chickens rarely bother the chicks, from what I can see, but if they do come close, Angel runs them off. Can you put the aggressive hen in it's own cage? No reason the chicks and mother hen should suffer because of one mean hen. I'd lock her up.
     
  7. DoDa

    DoDa Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Portage, WI
    Sorry, I've been off on chicken and farm duty [​IMG] Thanks for all the good advice. We're going to move Hazel and her brood to her own chicken "tractor" in the field. I think she's about at her limit for being confined in the same area, albeit the nicest chicken area on the farm. I took all but one chick from the adopting hen, Lucy (Dark Cornish). I haven't had the heart to take that one last chick from her... she's SO attached! I'm making our arrangements very complicated with my soft will - two 3-ft. high poultry net barriers to go around or over in order to collect eggs, feed the hens or feed the heifers, plus a brooder house full of babies and 3 pens full of Cornish X in another field... it's madness! Another hen got herself stuck between a building and a wood box the other day and broke a wing. I got her freed up and she stumbled off. I thought we'd have to put her out of her misery but since then she's been walking better and better, holding her wing up just a bit more though it's clearly disjointed or broke, and in fantastic spirits. It's almost like she's "smiling" extra hard and running around to prove we don't have to take her from the laying flock. She's my best layer, too. We don't want our animals to suffer at all, but either she's not suffering or she's faking it really well!
     
  8. DoDa

    DoDa Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2008
    Portage, WI
    P.S. - Our rooster has been "on his last day" for a few months now. Fortunately for him, he's good-looking, the right breed, and fertile (we have the babies now to prove it). I don't know why other people keep mean roosters around, but I keep getting more reason to keep ours. He's not really mean, he just doesn't like me, the hand that feeds him. I've come to realize he's got his reasons. His stalking has subsided and today was another fine example of our complex relationship. I was threatening him with a pitchfork this morning while trying to get my heifers fed, and thanking him in the afternoon for alerting me to an uninvited guest snooping around the brooderhouse. I was slow to realize that those are HIS 125 chicks in that house (not really, but as far as he's concerned they're on his property, they're his kind and so they are his responsibility). Did I mention I was thanking him while holding a pitchfork? Yes, it's complicated, but I'm grateful for his hard work in guarding his flock, and mine.
     
    1 person likes this.

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