Confused about Broody laying again and when to integrate babies?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by machinfarm, Apr 27, 2016.

  1. machinfarm

    machinfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2015
    Weatherford, TX
    My first successful broody hen Hatched her babies out around the 30th of March, so they are about 4 weeks old. She still covers them up at night and doesnt seem annoyed at all by them during the day (they are isolated in a pen together, away from the main flock), but she just laid an egg today. The egg looks perfectly normal.
    Everything I read says she won't lay again until she stop tending her babies but that's not the case. Should I try to move them all to the big coop? We have some rather mean girls and I'm afraid they'd hurt the babies, but I want to integrate them at some point.
    I figure now while their mama still cares she might fight the mean hens off?
    What's the best way to reintroduce the mama and introduce the babies? They don't free range but I can allow them to for a short period if that will help them all get together.
  2. lalaland

    lalaland Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 26, 2008
    Pine County MN
    Next time, try to have the broody in sight of the flock, and then of course, the new mama and chicks in view. Closer the better - you can separate with chicken wire.

    At this point, I would do whatever you can do to get the mama and chicks side by side with the other flock. Goal is to have a week at least or more of the flock checking out the chicks, and they will also have to get reaquainted with mama too. If you can partition out an area inside the coop for mama and the babies, do that. If you can make a run area for mama and the chicks inside the other run, do that.

    Watch for agression - most of the time everything works out but not always. Toss feed or treats near the fence line so that both groups are eating very close to each other.

    When you do let them be together, be sure you have multiple feed and water stations, and see if you can rig up something that lets the babies run to safety ( a hole in the fence that they fit through). Also, put some obstacles in the run to break the sight line - so there is something that can be between the new flock/chicks and the old flock. This can be: boxes, chairs, haybales, whatever.

    mama might not protect the chicks at this point or she might. If there is a rooster, you will also have to watch to see if the rooster thinks the chicks are enemies or not. Good to plan being present when you let them be together for the first time so you can intervene or distract - I usually have a pocket full of treats/scratch so if there is a problem I can throw feed down and distract them.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
  4. machinfarm

    machinfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2015
    Weatherford, TX
    Thank you both very much! I ended up putting the mama back in the main flock (no aggression from the other gals but the roosters mated the poor dear every five minutes for the first half hour or so!) and moved the babies into a wire dog crate inside of the coop. It's not ideal but I had three other Broodies hatch chicks out and I needed the pen! One chick who was on the smaller side squeezed through the bars and fearlessly ran up to the adults. One of the roosters (there are two) put his hackles up and bowed down in a getting-ready-to-fight stance but then stood back up quickly, but one hen grabbed the chick and just THREW it about ten feet! Wowzers.
    So back into the kennel he went and he hasn't tried to escape again since, hopefully a week or so in there and then I will try your advice of creating obstacles and hiding spots for the babies.
    We built new broody pens and they share a wall with the main flock's run so that should be good for them getting familiar with the newest chicks.
    Oh, when I moved the mama back into the main flock she never seemed agitated or worried about her babies so I guess it was time.
    Thank you both again!

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