chickens with chick together

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bevyann, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. bevyann

    bevyann Hatching

    Aug 29, 2014
    I have two chickens each with one chick one chick I two weeks old the other is three weeks old. They are both penned up separate to the main flock and each other. Can I put both chickens with chicks together, and when can I let them out with the main flock ?
  2. chooks4life

    chooks4life Crowing

    Apr 8, 2013
    Hello and [​IMG]

    Are the hens with babies where they can see one another daily? How did they previously get along?

    Even if they got along well there's no guarantees now they're mothers, though.

    If your birds are not free-ranged, or in possession of a very decently sized run, I would not put babies in with them, it's basically going to guarantee trouble in most cases.

    Co-mothering is the exception, not the rule, it's almost certain that they will fight, and babies may be trampled and injured or killed during the fight; also they may target each others' babies. All the same may also occur when they are released into the main flock. Personally, if they've never shown any strong attachment to one another, introducing them is probably a very bad idea.

    I'd cage them where they can see the main flock for a week or so, daily, then release one (the most aggressive or most previously dominant one, preferably, to 'learn them some respect for mothers early') and let her spend some time assimilating while you supervise (because in the average flock there will be social order shuffling and fights whenever a new chook comes in or is reintroduced, though I've culled against aggression to mothers so mine no longer give mother hens any trouble)... All going well, a few days later I'd introduce the other hen and bub into the main flock, and supervise again for a while.

    If you do have to intervene, best to only do so if it looks like there will be serious injury or death, because if you intervene in normal fights to remove a chook, the one you leave will assume that it has won and its competitor has accepted defeat, as indicated by its sudden 'fleeing'. But the chook you removed is thinking no such thing. When you next reintroduce that chook, of course, it tries to resume the battle to bring it to a natural conclusion, since it was interrupted before, thus nothing solved as far as that chook knows. But the former 'alpha' is now confused and as far as it understands its dominance is being challenged again by a bird who lost the fight last time and quit the scene, so it brings greater force to bear to achieve the dominance it now thinks it naturally possesses over the other.

    Intervening again and again in fights which are not life threatening is a potentially lethal mistake because it exacerbates the issue, causing aggression to go beyond normal levels because of the continually repeated misunderstanding and malfunction of social mechanisms controlling violence (due to human intervention.)

    If any of your others target and bully the mothers and chicks I'd separate that bully bird for a day or two, or a week, so when it re-enters society it's now got to re-establish its social status and will have other concerns on its mind rather than picking on a mother or chicks. If you get any bird that tries to kill chicks or is obsessed with harming the mothers I'd cull it, whether that means rehome or kill. Such traits in them are largely heritable.

    Hope I'm making sense. Best wishes with them.

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