Can a mother hen defend her brood from flockmates and cats?


One of the Shire-folk
12 Years
Apr 14, 2009
I would like to let my broody out a little after the babies hatch, but I don't want the chicks to be in any danger. If she's in a pen with them and a cat jumped in, would the mother chase it away? If she's out ranging with the other hens, will the other hens hurt the babies?


10 Years
Jun 21, 2009
I have a broody with babies and at first she was not in too big a hurry to get out of the brooder coop. by week two I was lowering the door and she had a little area to bring the chicks up and down and feed, scratch and all that and by week 3 they were itching to get out. And in fact they did get out. My broody did defend her babies and did chase off the stray cat but I was nearby with a handy hose because the cat was really interested in the chicks. I kept them isolated in a fenced tractor until 6 weeks. Now Momma Dot is pecking at them and seems to have forgotten she was in Momma mode even though she has not been away from them - she started laying eggs and the Momma switch is off. So I still keep the biddy babies in the chicken tractor and Momma in the run and they are only together when the go up into the coop to sleep. She is not defending them and they have to hide from the bigger chickens.



11 Years
Mar 27, 2008
Southern California
My momma hen defended her babies from the rest of the flock and now ranks on top of the pecking order when she used to be at the bottom... She wouldn't take any crap from the other hens. Now NO ONE messes with her even though she doesn't have any more babies.
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5 Years
Aug 1, 2014
I have a hen with 5 week old chicks who has been separated from the rest of the flock (who are in a large fenced in orchard during the day. The have all been able to see each other as the mama and chicks are in an old aviary that is attached to the coop. I let the chicks and mama out 2 days ago. They did fine at first but yesterday my babysitter called me at work because the mama hen has had a laceration to her comb and had quite a bit of blood on her.

I cleaned her up....comb laceration was all the damage) and separated them again. I am not sure how to proceed now. Any suggestions?

I also have another hen broody that is sitting on 6 eggs and will need to be separated in 2.5 weeks.


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