Back under mum?

TehLizardKing

Songster
7 Years
Jul 29, 2012
253
10
124
Lincolnshire
Hey y'all!

So, recently I've had three of my girls go broody on me and disappear into the hedges. At first, I was distraught to see them missing - I assumed Mr Fox had paid a visit, so I fortified coop defences and dug new wire under the run... and then lo and behold, the mums come strutting out of the brambles, closely followed by a never-ending stream of chicks. It's lovely to see the lil peeps following mum, but when it dawns on you tht you're gonna have 16 more chickens, the 'please please please be hens' moment sets in. But anyway, I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I discovered the third runaway yesterday morning, when my resident pair of crows (you'd think it'd be a mistake to tame them... they are such a nuisance, but they never kill chicks, and we haven't had any Hawks or stoats since they stuck around. I think that's worth a couple of eggs a week.) were throwing pebbles into the nettles and making such a racket. I thought at first that they'd downed a hawk, but no, who should come shooting out of the weeds but Samantha, all fluffed up and making that creepy screaming noise that broodies make. The crows freaked and decided it wasn't worth the effort for some eggs that were probably bad anyway, so they left. I eventually found the nest without stepping on it, and in there were 9 more eggs, one of which was all crushed up. I picked it up and was about to lob it over the fence for the crows, when it started peeping! The poor little chick had obviously hatched first, but momma's egg rolling had crushed it between two other eggs! It was fine apart from a little bit of dried blood from the membrane, so I put it back down, but Sam apparently decided it would taste great, and started trying to shake it to death.

I brought the fellah inside and hurried it into the inky, and long story short it hatched just fine, apart from needing a little help with the membrane. He's presently cuddled up with Fawkes, a Kakariki I'm handrearing, because as soon as he fluffed out he started freaking until I took him out of the bator. Now, it's warm enough in my room for Fawkes, so it's certainly warm enough for him... It's about 90f (which my Bearded Dragon is real happy about xD!) Although if he starts looking uncomfortable I'm going to set him up a lamp anyway.

They cuddled up straight away, and whenever I pick Fawkes up to feed him, the little chick runs over and peeps until I put him down again. Fawkes peeps too, and it's actually getting hard for me to hold his concentration on the syringe because of his new buddy lol. Anyway, as much as they love each other, I think the chick would probably do better back under Sam. I tried last night at chook bedtime, but he was peeping so loud she started pecking him, I don't think she knew what he was. I haven't checked her yet today, but she'll have some more babes at least pipping by now, so I could just slide the baby back under and she wouldn't notice... Right?

What do you think is the best course of action here? Do I slip him under Sam? Is it too late for him to suss out that she's his momma? Will he follow her when she gets up to leave?

Should I just rear the little bub in the house and let him stay in the aviary with Fawkes (it's a 30ft square flight with a 12ft x 8ft shed attached, so there's room for a coop) when he's ready? I think it might be annoying for him if he thinks he's a parrot, but it's far better than being eaten by his mum, and if he turns out to be a she, I suppose I can always introduce her into one of the coops like a new chicken.

Oh, I don't think I mentioned, he's a cross, bred from a cream legbar hen and an amber star cock, so the auto-sexing pattern is effectively gone. From his colour, I'm guessing he's a cock though.

Anyway

Sorry there are so many questions here, and thanks in advance for any help! Happy chook-ing!

400


^ Best friends ~
 
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Bine

Songster
Mar 14, 2015
317
119
126
Germany, wrong site of the rhine
Hmmm... last year, I had something very simular happening to one of my chicks, but I didn't have the advantige of having a little Kakariki as companion for her, so she did the bonding with me and me alone. I tried to set her back to her mum, but that didn't work. She wanted me as her mum and I .... Well, I am her mum and even she is a hen now, she still has a hard time staying with the other chickens in the coop and wants to be with me all the time.
So, try to put her back for her own good, but after a day or so the conditioning is fixed and even if others told me that conditioning in chickens is not as fixed as in goose my experience was that you can't recondition a chicken. So if the little guy is not happy with his mum, you will have two Kakarikis one real and one that is a chicken feeling very kakariki-ish.

This is Piep. First I carried her around in my bra, than im my scarf to keep her warm and she still things that her place in the world is in my scarf.
 
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TehLizardKing

Songster
7 Years
Jul 29, 2012
253
10
124
Lincolnshire
Thanks Bine! My thought process was the same: I had images of a poor lonely chook trying to fly up to a branch in the aviary and not getting high enough... Spurred on by you, I decided it was best to put the little fellah back, for his own good... And he seemed to do fine, snuggled right under Sam with no help needed, and cheeped back at her clucks. She'd had four more chicks hatch by then, so hopefully she won't notice... maybe she hasn't counted them yet lol.

As much as I would love a house chicken, it wouldn't be fair on the guy. Fawkes had very blatantly opted out of the friendship too, as soon as he got a curious peck on the foot from the lil' bub... Seems like it went fine, so thanks for your opinion, and I'll check on how he's doing tomorrow morning - I hope to see him running around after mum in a couple of days.

Oh my gawd, Piep is just the sweetest thing! Such a gorgeous bird, and you can really tell how much she's enjoying that ride xD. Does she try and snuggle up to you then? None of my flock really seek out cuddling, and I can definitely understand why... They don't mind being picked up, but I can just imagine how fabulous cuddling with a hen would be...
 

Bine

Songster
Mar 14, 2015
317
119
126
Germany, wrong site of the rhine
Piep is a big snuggle-monster. :) Now she lives with one of my roosters Kopernikus in a seperat little coop with a run. Kopernikus had a bad concussion, when he was six month old. So i brought him indoors too. And he was the first chicken Piep was friendly with and never picked on him when he had a seizure. He doesn't get along with my other roosters bc of his condition, so to builded them a extra coop and run. That seems to be the best way to give both a somewhat normal chicken life.But the moment I am on the alottment, Piep begins to call me - now in her loud and horse adult voice - and only stops, when I get her out. Then she follows me around, flies on my shoulder and pick on my scarf and snuggels her self into the scarf, making the same moves like other chickens do when dust bathing. It is very funny and only works bc she is a d'anvers and very small. She makes funny noises and wants to be petted under the chin, then she closes her eyes, stratches her neck and I can feel her relaxing. It is so wounderful to feel her so close to me, but it is also heart wrenching to put her back in the coop. If I could find a way to house train her... and Kopernikus... I have constantly reminde myself that they are chickens, not house pets and need to live outside. Even when Piep disagrees.
 

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