Going away, what to do?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by oolyboolu, Oct 23, 2014.

  1. oolyboolu

    oolyboolu Chillin' With My Peeps

    112
    10
    91
    Jul 16, 2013
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Hello to all! I'm looking for advice and opinions!

    My chicks are a week old today and are with mama in a small closed off area inside the main coop with the other chickens(9 others). When I get home from work, I shoo the other chickens out, close the coop door and open up the brooder area so mama can stretch an poop, and the chickies explore a bit. usually 20-30mins then they go back on their own to the nest, I close things up and open the coop door again.

    Problem is this weekend I'll be gone for 2 days and I don't have anyone who can do that job for me. So is it best to just leave them in their area for 2 days? (1'x2' area, with food and water). Or leave the area open and let them mingle?? My main worries are 1) they'll not figure out the main ramp to get back in the coop 2) mama hen might see other eggs and want to sit on them (the other next boxes are elevated, so the chicks wouldn't be able to reach her to stay warm) 3) anything!!

    Not too sure what to do :/ I might be able to find someone but not sure yet

    All thoughts welcome!

    Ooly
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,653
    4,174
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Today is Thursday and you’re probably leaving tomorrow night. Doesn’t leave you a lot of time.

    Many of us just let the hen raise the chicks with the flock from Day 1. You are dealing with living animals so no one can give you any guarantees, but the vast majority of time the chicks are extremely safe with the flock. Mama takes care of that. Bad things can happen even if you keep them separated. With living animals you don’t get guarantees.

    Don’t even think about the hen abandoning the chicks to go sit on eggs. That will not happen. I am extremely confident about that.

    If I were you I’d immediately go open that up and let them out with the flock and see what happens. It is highly likely Mama will bring them in on her own but it is always possible they might not figure out the ramp. Usually when Mama tells them to get their fluffy butt somewhere they go. Period. But sometimes things do happen.

    If Mama gets the chicks in, you are good to go. If there are problems, leave them locked up for the weekend.
     
  3. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

    654
    97
    128
    Oct 8, 2013
    Central Coast, CA
    My chicken coop has a ramp that goes up to the nesting area also and when the babies first started to go out on little adventures with mama hen I, too, was worried that come nightfall they wouldn't be able to make it back up to roost. Well, I was right. For the first couple of nights I went out at dusk and watched Riley Roo (the mama), jump up on the ramp and cluck for her brood to follow her. They didn't have a clue...
    So, being the sucker I am, I went in and put them all up in the nest one by one. The next evening I was unavoidably delayed and didn't make it home in time to 'put the babies to bed'. I was terribly worried about what I would find in the coop when I got home! Well, imagine my surprise when I walked in and saw Riley Roo hunkered down on the floor, all fluffed up, with all of her little chicks nestled in the shavings right beneath her. Apparently she decided that if her babies couldn't make it up the ramp just yet, then she would stay down in the coop with them until they did !!! And she did just that...for the next 3 nights. After that, the chicks had the ramp conquered and never slept on the coop floor again.
    So, as 'Ridgerunner' stated, when a mama hen has chicks, she will not (99% of the time) abandon them to go sit on eggs, especially if they're not even her eggs !!! I second Ridgerunner's advice and would only add that since they've been separated from the rest of the flock since they hatched, you should really watch how your rooster, and especially, the other hens, respond to the babies. Sometimes they'll try to go after the babies with a 'sneak attack' and if a couple gang up on 'mama hen', the babies will be doomed. Good Luck and try not to fret about them while you're away...although, by the tone of your question, I'm sure that you will !!!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. oolyboolu

    oolyboolu Chillin' With My Peeps

    112
    10
    91
    Jul 16, 2013
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    Thanks so much for your comments! I opened up the area in the coop and let them all mingle for a bit this afternoon. Everyone seems to be getting along! The chicks didn't end up going past the top of the ramp when mama called them back. Maybe tomorrow! The chicks seemed to be perfectly relaxed with the other chickens (just hens, no Roos), and vice-versa. What a relief! Tomorrow I'm home for most of the day so I will continue to keep an eye on them.

    Thanks again!

    Ooly
     
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years. Premium Member

    85,551
    16,717
    866
    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    I'm quite a worry wart with the "What if's" all the time. I would stress greatly if I went away leaving mama and chicks in with the other members of the flock. One week old chicks are easily killed if the others decide they don't want them around. It can happen in the blink of an eye. When you are watching is never the same as if you weren't there.

    For one the babies could drown in the waterer, or get bullied away from the feeder. When one bird starts pecking others follow suit. Mama could not fend off all of them. I wouldn't leave unless I had someone check on them daily - and only if I had mama and babies separated from the others. I'd rather be safe, than come home to be sorry and guilty if anything bad happened. But. that's just me.
     
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,345
    475
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    No, it's not just you. I wouldn't be changing anything until you get back. They won't die confined to a small area for 2 days. Their age is an advantage because they really don't do much at this point but sleep and eat. If the other chickens are confined to the coop for the 2 days plus the new chicks, I wouldn't expect everything to be hunky dorree when I got home. Better safe than sorry.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,653
    4,174
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    We all have our own experiences and what we perceive as risks. That’s a big part of why you get so much different advice on here. We also have different flock make-ups, management techniques, and set-ups.

    I always let Mama raise the chicks with the flock. If it is a late season hatch and the coop is getting crowded from earlier hatches I usually move them out to a separate coop to make it easier to feed and water them the first couple of days but by Day 3 Mama is raising them with the flock. No barriers between them. That way the rooster sees them as his chicks. I’ve never had a rooster threaten young chicks but I don’t wait to introduce them until he sees them as rivals instead of his own offspring. Often he will help Mama take care of his chicks, especially if she seems to need it.

    I’ve never lost a chick to one of the other hens. Usually the other hens don’t bother the chicks at all unless they wander away from Mama and invade the personal space of the other hen. When that happens the other hen may or may not peck the chick for invading its personal space. If pecked, the chick runs back to Mama and life goes on. If another hen threatens her chick, say by following, Mama simply whips butt.

    I lost a two week old chick once when its sibling killed it. Mama stood by and ignored what was going on. That could have happened whether they were with the flock or not.

    I lost a one week old chick once when it got into a pen of 8 week olds. Mama could not get to it to protect it. The chick found a weakness in the fence and slipped in. I was trying to keep them separate. I was planning on letting those 8 week old brooder-raised chicks out the next day to integrate them with the flock. If I had opened that gate a day earlier Mama would have been able to protect her baby and it would not have died.

    If you keep them separate you have to worry about integration instead of letting Mama take care of that for you. You run the risk of a chick slipping away from Mama’s protection and mingling with the flock. I perceive the risks of trying to keep then separate and integrating later as much greater than letting Mama raise them with the flock from a very young age. But that is based on my experiences. Others have different experiences.
     
  8. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,345
    475
    221
    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    The bigger issue here is she is wanting to change things as she's walking out the door and going to be gone for 2 days. If things go south, no one is there to nip it in the bud.
     
  9. mightymax

    mightymax Chillin' With My Peeps

    654
    97
    128
    Oct 8, 2013
    Central Coast, CA
    [​IMG] I certainly hope that no one misconstrued what I wrote in my previous post !!! I was in no way suggesting that mama hen and her babies should be left in the coop with the other chickens over the two day period in question. I was only offering my take on what could possibly happen when, and if, they were reintroduced to the flock. I would never presume to tell another member what to do with their chickens unless the answer was blatantly obvious to all, and/or when not to tell them would constitute an egregious miscarriage of justice, or more importantly, my integrity. Also, my hen hatched out her chicks in the company of the entire flock. They were never sequestered apart from the others, so there was never any concern about reintroduction to begin with (although I have done it that way also, with varied results). Anyway, I hope this clarifies things, as I definitely don't want to go down in history as the 'callous Crazy chicken lady'...just the 'Crazy chicken lady' will be fine thank you...lol !!! [​IMG]

    -kim-
     
  10. oolyboolu

    oolyboolu Chillin' With My Peeps

    112
    10
    91
    Jul 16, 2013
    Vancouver Island, Canada
    I wrote an update yesterday but for some reason it dissappeared and I was too annoyed to try again [​IMG]

    Anyhoo.. I want to say I appreciate all points of view given! Crazy or not ;)



    I ended up leaving them in their little area for the days I was away. My brother was able to go check on them a few times so they weren't totally alone. The other 9 chickens have access to the run (8x26 fully enclosed) so not stuck in the coop. All chicks and mama seemed fine, just anxious to get out and about! I now let them into the run when I get home from work, while the others are let out to free range. Occasionally a girl or two stay behind in the run area with them...So far so good!

    Thanks Again to all :)

    Ooly
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by