how long to keep mama with her babies?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by technodoll, May 3, 2011.

  1. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I moved my hen into a condo away from her flock so she could sit on her eggs in peace and rear her young ones.

    Mama silkie's babies are a month old now - she took 24 days to hatch them so she's getting pretty keen on returning to her flock even if she's totally devoted to her babies... she can hear her mates as they are all in the same building but she can't see them but she's always craning her neck and pacing at the door so I think she misses them?

    The babies are way too small to integrate into the flock, plus it's still too cold and drafty.

    I want to move mama *and* babies into the flock when the time has come, so that the wee ones have protection from the other birds.

    Question is: at what age would the babies be OK for the transfer?

    They are silkies and bantam frizzles (tiny things!).

    THANK YOU! [​IMG]
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    My hens raise their chicks in the flock. For the first three days or so I keep them locked in a dog kennel to help them settle into motherhood, but then I open the crate door and let them decide when it's time to introduce them to the rest of the coop mates.

    My silkie was being weird with her 3 day old chick. She kept waiting for other chicks to hatch, to no avail. Today I picked her and her chick up and sat them outside the crate. The crate door has been open since yesterday morning. She immediately took her chick outside for some fresh air and sunshine. As I just posted on another thread, today's high temp. was 67.

    Mama hens are not something most of the other birds want to mess with. Fierce creatures, very fierce. I babysit only for a short while the first time they bring the chicks out. Haven't run into a problem yet. I'll keep locking the silkie up in the crate at night, with her baby, for another week or so; just to be on the safe side.

    Right now in my larger coop I have: 3 - 5 week old chicks, 3 - 3 month old cockerels (they get some minor chasing from dad, no harm done) and the 3 day old chick; as well as all the adults.
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  3. Anianna

    Anianna Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:When do you first lock them in the kennel? Do you use the kennel as a setting house or allow the hen to set in the coop? I take it you have the kennel in the coop?
     
  4. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    OK thanks!

    I'll wait until this cold wet week is over (the barn gets really humid and drafty...) and then put mama hen back in her flock with her babies, and just hope for the best...

    I'm a bit worried though as there are quite a few young cockerels in there, plus will the babies get cold? what if mama hens decides to roost at night and the babies are left on their own? also food and water, they are too small to reach the goods... i can't lower the feeder or water gallon any more or the birds kick bedding in there all the time - gaaaah! logistics! [​IMG]
     
  5. Bengalcats1

    Bengalcats1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine also are born in the coop with all the other chickens and they all are careful around the babies, the other day my rooster was showing a baby how to peck at some grass I threw in, it was so cute. Ive never had a prob with everyone being together.
     
  6. Bengalcats1

    Bengalcats1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:The mama Won't roost with babies, she will stay very close to her babies at all times, no worries about that, they know
     
  7. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:ok whew, thanks - that was a big concern.

    it's my first time seeing a mama with her babies from start to finish - what a treat! [​IMG]
     
  8. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    All my broodies raised their chicks in with the flock -- roosters, young cockerels, young pullets, old lady hens, whatever. When mama gets tired of being a mama she goes back to the roost and the chicks find a corner somewhere to snuggle together, or sleep on the roost as well. The flock is used to the chicks by then and ignores them, even though they are much smaller than the others. I don't interfere.
     
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    I have one broody that I witnessed teaching her chicks how to roost. Once she decided they were old enough, each night at roost time, she would jump up and down repeatedly until they got the idea. Now those chicks are cockerels and they have chosen to roost away from the main flock. My other broody couldn't have cared less what her chicks did once she kicked them loose. They bunch up together on top of a nestbox and just yesterday roosted with the cockerels for the first time.

    I have two german shepherd sized dog kennels in my main coop. That's where I set the broodies up. I move them at night, nestbox and all. The kennels are large enough for a nest, a chick feeder and a waterer. I move them on day 16. I remember reading somewhere - I think it was in Storey's Guide to Chickens - that it's best to move them before day 16.

    My roo is very good with his chicks. He has a good reason to be. They are carrying his bloodline into a new generation. He makes sure everyone is in the coop and accounted for at night and that includes the chicks.
     
  10. technodoll

    technodoll Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Will it be a mistake, then, to move mama hen and the babies into the flock when she hasn't been in it for two months?

    Will she and the little ones get attacked?

    They will be 5 to 6 weeks old when I move them...

    Now I'm scared [​IMG]
     

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