How much freedom do you give chicks with a mama?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mamahen16, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. mamahen16

    mamahen16 Out Of The Brooder

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    i slipped some chicks under a broody hen and they've been doing great. They are 3 weeks old today and I live in Western WA. I set them up in a horse trough for the brooder and they started jumping out last week. Tonight I found 2 of the chicks in the brooder and one up on the roost with the mama. Do I just allow this and assume they know best? Or do I go out and put the stray baby and mama back in the brooder? I've let them roam about with mamahen during the day and they seem to be doing well.
     
  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Usually the Mama Hen has them out and about with her when the chicks are just a few days old. They run all over the place, run back to her for a quick warmup, and at night they snuggle with her wherever she is, whether it's back in the nest or up on the roost. I'm trying to visualize what your set up is.....have the chicks and Mama been in the brooder all this time?
     
  3. mamahen16

    mamahen16 Out Of The Brooder

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    The set up is the horse trough brooder in the coop with everyone else. So the roost is near by. Last night I did put the chick on the roost down in with the others just for warmth, but as far as I know, mama stayed up on the roost.

    If only 1 or 2 of the chicks stayed in the brooder, would they stay warm enough? The lows this week are expected in the low 40's and upper 30's.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You should let mama hen decide what to do with the babies....she might not be able to get back into the trough?
    She and the babies should be able to get into a nest or someplace without any help from a human so she can keep them warm when needed.
    30's-40's is a bit too cold for 3 week olds...and too young for her to have 'weaned' them already.
     
  5. mamahen16

    mamahen16 Out Of The Brooder

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    So tonight, if the chicks go in the trough and she Is on the roost, do move her back?
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd lose the trough, or set it on it's side to they can use it as a nest and they all can come and go as they deem necessary.

    Usually the broody and her chicks are allowed to mingle with the flock within a few days of hatch, sometimes broodies setting eggs are not separated from the flock at all, that way mama can show the chicks the ropes and protect them from the flock as they integrate as new members of flock. By 4-5 to 8-9 weeks(this varies greatly) mama will spend most her time with and sleep with the chicks then eventually she will 'wean' them and go back to roosting, mating and laying with the flock.

    Not sure how you managed the whole thing and if it had anything to do with why mama is roosting with the flock already.
    You might want to go to the Broody Hen Thread and link this one there in a post asking for more sage advice than I can offer.
     
  7. mamahen16

    mamahen16 Out Of The Brooder

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    Last night she wa up on the roost with 1 chick under a wing, one tried to stand on top of her, and the other was on the roost getting pecked. But maybe that's just how she teaches them the ropes?! [​IMG]
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That's part of it....but I would still give them a semi sheltered place on the floor.
     
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    If she's ready to roost, you need to have a way for all the chicks to be able to get to the roost. We usually have a few days of very noisy bedtimes when Momma starts to roost again cause the chicks can't figure out what she's doing. Having branches or other stepping blocks to the roost helps. Putting momma back on the ground is simply going to be an exercise in futility, the whole idea is for her to teach them to roost.
     
  10. mamahen16

    mamahen16 Out Of The Brooder

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    There's an old wood ladder there so they can easily make their way up. I watched the process last night and the hard part for them was getting from there to mama and getting picked on along the way. No one was relentless but 3/4 of the other hens gave them a good what for. I guess they'll figure out the pecking order then!
     

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