Do I HAVE to separate mama/babies from other chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by maymay8, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. maymay8

    maymay8 Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 29, 2008
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi there - I guess I'm going "natural" with the way I'm handling this first batch of eggs our hen is hatching as I write. While she went broody, I left her in the coop with the rest of the crew (total 4 bantam silkie/cochins, very mellow rooster) and was so pleased when our other hen decided she wanted to go broody with our first hen. So those two are now sharing the clutch, which started hatching yesterday and is still going this morning. As of now, the two hens and eggs are in the coop with the other two chickens. But I've heard lots of advice to separate them from the rest of the flock. Do I really need to do this? Or can I just leave them all together to work it out themselves? Or is this sure death for the little ones? I've read other threads and read a lot from folks who separate, but I'm still not clear why this has to happen. Even the latest Mother Earth NEws said to separate them. I'd love to hear from folks who've tried both ways.
    Thanks so much.
  2. @migocontodos~

    @migocontodos~ Chillin' With My Peeps really is best to seperate.
    The two hens that are hatching together will not be a problem for the chicks in most cases. The ones who are not hatching MAY be, because they are not having any motherly feelings.
    The decision really is yours. How important is making sure as many of the babies live is possible is the question posed to you.
    To not deal with this scenerio...all one need do is, seperate them
    Enjoy the chicks!
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I have not left hens and chicks with the rest of the flock, so I can't address that part of it.

    I separated my broody and her chick for two weeks and then let them back in with the flock. Momma did a great job protecting her baby from everybody (and there were several hens that got too close to the chick). In my case my hen only hatched one chick so she had 100% of her attention to give to that chick. If there were a dozen chicks running around I don't know if I would have introduced them back into the flock so quickly as it would have been much harder for momma to keep an eye on and protect them all.

    I also had to help my momma protect her baby from one of my barn cats. If I hadn't of been there she would have lost the chick right then. I only let my momma and chick out of their secure area when I was outside and watching because of my barn cats.

    I've heard from people here that their Roos attacked the baby chicks and killed them so that's another good reason to separate them until they are much older.
  4. Southernbelle

    Southernbelle Gone Broody

    Mar 17, 2008
    Sounds like you have a pretty small flock and once the mama established her boundaries, the others should behave themselves. Do they have plenty of space?

    I choose to seperate my broodies because I have a mixed flock of 28 birds and I don't let them free-range, so they have finite space and she would have to protect herself and babies against a lot of comers. I thought that would stress her out too much.

    Congrats on your babies!
  5. Ellie

    Ellie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    Good advice here. I have only done this three times, so I am still a fairly new chicken mama, lol.

    I separate them so mama and baby can bond and the other chickens cannot get to the chick or chicks. They are so little, that they can chase and hurt them. After a few weeks, mama can protect them and does. Another reason, is that I can be well assured that the little one is getting food and drink. Once the others are around, they eat all the chick food and keep the smaller ones away from the food.

    The thing is, that it is only for a few weeks until the chick/chicks are a little bigger. So, for a couple of weeks, the safety and health of the chick seems more assured.

    I have had no trouble with them after they free range together. Mama seems to do well on her own. Mine even goes after my huge tom cat, lol. He stays clear.
  6. tfpets

    tfpets Mmm, tastes like chicken

    I know alot of people have successfully left their chicks with the flock. I tried it once. It may be due to my large flock size. It moves, its food.
    This is what happened in my pet area when chicks hatched:

    Bloodhead: A Marans cross chick, born here in the pet area, the other hens took a disliking to her when she hatched and tore her apart. I removed her and the rest of the hatchlings and put them in a brooder for their protection (I chose not to isolate mom with them). Bloodhead was battered, swollen and bloody. Her comb was torn, her eyes were covered with skin torn from her head, and her head was misshapen due to the trauma. I cleaned her eyes and the wounds - and prepared myself for caring for a blind chicken - I'd heard it had been done by other BYC members! Bloodhead was handfed for the first couple of weeks, I kept her in the house with a few of the other chicks for company (the rest went to the "big kid brooder" outside.) She slowly gained vision in the left eye, and her right eye, although covered with scar tissue, responds to light. Bloodhead now lives in the general population with the "teenagers" and is as fiesty as they are. She does like to be held sometimes, and enjoys the extra treats and being carried around. Otherwise, she is now a "normal" chicken - she just looks funny.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2008

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