Do you HAVE to separate mama hen and her babies from flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MontanaDolphin, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. MontanaDolphin

    MontanaDolphin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 16, 2013
    Columbia, Virginia
    I've read that people keep mama hen and her babies separate from the rest of the flock.

    Is this absolutely necessary? I ask because if one of my hens becomes broody, I would like her to hatch her eggs (I do have a rooster, so eggs will be fertile). My problem is that I do not have a separate coop to house mama and her babies if I allow her to hatch them. My coop is really not large enough to put a divider in,'s a coop that came with this house when we bought it in January 2013...if I remember correctly, I measured it at 4x8. I have 1 rooster and 8 hens.

    Attached to the coop is a run made out of a 10x10 dog kennel. I free range from noon until dark.

    So, since I don't have a separate area for a mama hen and her babies, does that mean I shouldn't let any girls hatch their eggs? Thanks
  2. veramoomoo

    veramoomoo Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 25, 2013
    yes put her in a seperate cage to hatche the eggs!!! then when a few weeks let them out together and see what happens!!!!!!
  3. my sunwolf

    my sunwolf Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2012
    Southwest Virginia
    My Coop
    It's not necessary, but it does help with a funny problem... see, the momma will get off the nest about once a day to get food and water and to poop. When she goes to get back on the nest, sometimes she will return to a different box than the one her eggs are in, therefore letting the original eggs chill. This is not true of all broodies, but it is a fairly common problem. I have also found that other hens will climb in with the broody and lay new eggs on top of her original clutch, creating problems with staggered development. You can always mark her full clutch and then gather unmarked eggs from under her daily. People have also found that the rooster or the other hens will be overly aggressive towards the new babies, and momma can't always be there to protect them. But separating a broody hen is, in the end, a matter of choice.
    1 person likes this.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Do you HAVE to separate a broody, either while she incubates eggs or raises chicks? No you don’t HAVE to. The way chickens have been raised for thousands of years on small farms is that the hens hatched and raised the chicks with the flock, usually with extremely little help or interference from a human.

    Can something go wrong if a hen hatches eggs or raises chicks with the flock? You are dealing with living animals. Of course things can go wrong. Things can go wrong if you separate them too. There are advantages and risk both ways.

    The way I do it is to gather all the eggs I want a broody to hatch, mark them so I know which ones belong, and start them under the broody all at the same time. Starting them all at the same time is important. Then late in the day after all the hens have laid for the day, I check under the broody and remove any eggs that don’t belong. As long as you remove them daily they are good to use.

    When the eggs hatch, I leave the broody alone and let her decide when she wants to bring the chicks off the nest. That may be one day, it may be three. I do put food and water on the coop floor where the chicks can get to it once she brings them off.

    I have had that thing Heartmoss mentioned. When the broody came back from her daily constitutional another hen was on her eggs laying an egg so the broody went to another nest. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen. The last time it happened, the eggs were cold to the touch. I put the broody back on her correct nest. She hatched 11 chicks out of 11 eggs.

    There’s nothing wrong with separating a broody, either or eggs or with chicks. It’s not a case of one way being right and the other wrong. It’s just whichever way we chose to do it.
    2 people like this.
  5. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    I *HAVE* to seperate mine because when my old hens have bittys they turn into devil hens attacking anything that moves within 10 ft. Even my shy, timid, bottom of the pecking order hens turn into feathered Koju when they have bittys and terrorize all the other birds in the pen.
    Hopefully you won't have this problem.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    This is pretty much what I was going to post. Thanks for typing it out for me!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by