Group of momma hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by britsbantams, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. britsbantams

    britsbantams In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2013
    College Station, TX
    I have 4 hens sitting on eggs right now, due to hatch within the week. In the past, I have only had one go broody at a time... So its a little more intense this round. My question is about raising the chicks. I normally let my momma hen do her thing but this time I have 4. Can they bring their chicks up together in the same area? Or should I just switch back to the brooder for this batch? I found the chicks do better with the rest of the flock when "momma" brings them in v.s. me introducing them out of the brooder (once they are old enough). The whole process just seems to go alot smoother when the hens take care of their babies. I don't mind the extra work with a brooder if it won't be safe for all chicks plus all 4 hens. I would hate to lose a baby due to an aggressive momma...but i also hate pulling babies away from momma :/ Any help or advice is much appreciated

    * I have a chick brooder for just chicks... And a 2nd coop, separate from the rest of the flock, for hens to raise chicks

  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    It really depends on your chickens. A few years ago I had nearly 70 chickens, 9 hens decided to brood at the same time. I didn't have enough extra cages and boxes to separate and\or break them all so I just let them have at it. There were so many chicks running around that even they couldn't tell them apart sp they just shared them all. I was surprised it went as smoothly.
    On the flip side, I've had a couple brood at the same time and someone needed to be locked away.
    As long as you have a back up plan you'll be alright.
    Good luck, I want to pull my hair out everytime I have multiple broodies. I just never know what they're going to do!
  3. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Songster

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    My old hens are evil and attack everything that moves when they have chicks. The roosters, each other, each other's chicks, the dog, cats and they even flog me. I can't free range the chicks because of cats so each hen & her chicks must have their own pens. This past summer I had 4 broody hens at once but didn't have that many extra pens, and even if I had, I don't want the extra work of feeding that many extra pens and the extra drama broody hens create.

    Anyway, 2 hens hatched their clutch at the same time in adjoining nestboxes, had about 20 chicks running back & forth between them without incident so I put them all together in a pen. The old hens got along well and were never more than 2 feet apart and they shared all the chicks, which really surprised me because these were 2 of my most meanist dispicable hens, a Game and a RIR. I got tired of feeding the expensive chick starter to full grown hens after a week so I booted 1 hen back to the layer pen and left 1 hen of charge of them all.

    If your free ranging I don't see a problem at all, and if they're penned and all hatch at about the same time they will probably mix well like funkychicken just said. If they hatch a week or longer apart there will probably be conflict as the newer chicks won't be accepted by the hens with the older chicks, and the hens with the younger ones will see the older ones as a threat.
    Really it all hinges on the disposition & temperment of your hens and large pens help also.
  4. britsbantams

    britsbantams In the Brooder

    Mar 10, 2013
    College Station, TX
    Thanks alot, the advice is very helpful. My girls aren't too aggressive and are even sharing the boxes... They rotate and keep them all covered when one gets up to eat or drink. Its weird but already looks like a team effort lol. They have plenty of space and free range during the day so I think I will try letting them all raise the chicks. Thanks again :)
  5. CasadasHens

    CasadasHens In the Brooder

    Dec 4, 2013
    Good luck and please keep us updated!

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