Having problems introducing mom and chicks back into flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Kelliarm, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Kelliarm

    Kelliarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2012
    North of Seattle
    We have 4 Black Copper Maran chicks that are 5 weeks old from a hen who decided to set outside the coop where we couldn't get to her. We were able to catch them and have had them separated from the rest of the flock for the past 4 weeks. But they ran out of room so we decided to put the chicks in a cage inside the main coop and try to re-introduce mom back to the flock. Well, mom is being very territorial now and is fighting with all the other chickens in the main flock. For example, we free range during the day and one hen wanted to lay an egg inside the coop but mom wouldn't let her come into the coop and she will fight to the point she was bleeding. She was the lowest in the pecking order before she had chicks and also note that while she was separated the alpha hen died so there's been a major pecking order chaos going on.

    So, we took out mom and now have her in a small cage within sight of chicks but outside the coop, we have 4 chicks in a cage inside the coop, and 3 hens/1 rooster who will be coming back tonight to sleep.

    Any advice? Mom is so protective I think perhaps she could protect the chicks if we let them just mix. Or we could keep mom in the separate cage for a few days and then let her back out. Perhaps we should have waited until everyone went to roost... but we were worried about them fighting in the morning before we could open the coop up again. Ugh... very unsure of what to do!
     
  2. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    If you have been free rangeing, then that would be how I would let them intergrate with the flock. Keep mom with the chicks, she'll protect the chicks. that may have well been what she was doing while trying to keep the other hen out of the coop. While she is protecting them she is also introducing them to the flock, intergrating them. Open the cages and let the chicks roam with mom. Put hay or straw in a corner for them to nest in at night.
     
  3. Kelliarm

    Kelliarm Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 6, 2012
    North of Seattle
    I wanted to post an update on what happened as it may help others. What we ended up doing is we brought the babies inside for just 2 nights and it ended up separating the maternal bond. It was heartbreaking at first because the mom kept looking around for the babies and was clearly upset. But that only lasted about 30 minutes. Mom ten had a hard time re-integrating with the other hens because she had been so mean to them. But after roosting fr the night, the next day all was fine with mom and the original group. We let one more night pass with mom reconciling with the original group, and then we brought the babies back out and put them in a protected crate inside the main coop.

    What was really interesting was that the mom acted as if she didn't even know the babies. She wasn't interested in them at all. So after a few days we started integrating babies with the whole group. Again, mom acted as if she didn't know the babies. She would snip at them just like the other hens. There were times when it sort of looked like she remember she was their mother, but it was fleeting.

    Now, all is fine and they have their pecking order worked out. Nobody was hurt too badly!
     

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