How do I introduce chicks and move mama hen

rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar
Ok so I am introducing three chicks to a broody hen. (her clutch failed and she is a first time mama) I just bought chicks and plan to introduce them tonight (nights are best). But I just realized that mama and chicks will need to be separated from the rest of the flock.
Should I:
a) move mama tonight and pop the chicks under her at the same time
b) move mama now before introducing chicks tonight
c)move mama tonight, keep the chicks in a box for a 24 hrs, then introduce chicks tomorrow night
d) keep mama where she is (and has been for 4 weeks), introduce chicks tonight, and then kick the rest of the flock out into the yard to free range first think in the morning and plan on moving mama and chicks tomorrow evening once they are settled
 

ChickenCanoe

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Depends on your secondary housing.
d will work just fine since if she accepts them, she'll protect them from the others.
b would work too.

If you go with d you'll have to switch everyone to starter/grower.

if you do b you don't have to switch the other's feed yet.
 
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rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar
It would be awesome if mama could just protect her adopted chicks and they could all stay together. I guess that would be the best but I don't know... I do not have a rooster but mama is not "top hen"
My nesting boxes (where she is brooding) are also up off the ground and there is a ramp. So I worry that the week old chicks might fall down the ramp or something. But I can close a trap door between the nesting boxes and the ramp.
The place I have to move her into is a large cage with a nesting box in it tonight. It is certainly not ideal but it should work if give them good bedding and shelter!
 

ChickenCanoe

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A broody hen is a formidable foe so her place on the totem pole won't matter.

Then I'd probably keep her where she is. The less disruption, the more likely she'll take to the chicks you tuck under her tonight.
How old are the chicks? I've had chicks several days old that didn't take to the hen because they were so over that.

I was going to build a ramp for chicks that hatched in a nest about 18" high and by the time I got it done, they had jumped out and flew back in.
 

rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar
Yeah, it seems like keeping her where she is at this point might be good.
The chicks are a week old (couldn't find younger ones).
Hopefully they will accept each other because I want mama hen to stop brooding!
 

ChickenCanoe

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There's always broody jail - an elevated wire bottom cage. It works like a charm.

I put chicks a week old under a hen at night once and they left her and one froze.
Since then, I check about every 20 minutes to make sure they're still under her. I just scan the coop with a flashlight for stragglers.
 
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rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar
Well I decided to keep her where she is at for now and watch them closely.
I just popped the chicks under her. They were peeping up a storm (a little chilly too) but as soon as they were under her feathers they stopped screaming. Mama hen started clucking as soon as they were under her and she craned her neck around (wow that is a flexible neck) multiple times I am guessing to situate and check on the chicks? Then everyone settled down peacefully. Seems hopeful so far! Fingers crossed.
If need to move them, I have a private box all set up. I plan to wake with the sun to check on them!
 

rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar
Oh thanks, good advice, I will check on them here in a minute and a few more times before bed :)
 

rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar
There's always broody jail - an elevated wire bottom cage. It works like a charm.

I put chicks a week old under a hen at night once and they left her and one froze.
Since then, I check about every 20 minutes to make sure they're still under her. I just scan the coop with a flashlight for stragglers.

Oh thanks, good advice :) I will check on them often.
 

rozygrace

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 3, 2014
16
2
26
Ar


It worked! I went with plan d... kept her where she was and I will move her if I need to but so far so good. I might not even have to move her!
 

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