I'm scared!!!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gritsar, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Mama hen has had her 2 week old chicks outside all day for a couple of days now. Before that she had them running around in the coop, but not outside. She takes them back to the coop with the rest of the flock at dusk.

    She has taught them how to get in and out of the coop. Because she prefers to jump in and out vs. using the ramp, that's what the babies do. It's about a foot high from the doorway to the ground, but I watched her jump in and out repeatedly until the chicks caught on.

    Tonight I ran into a problem. She no longer wants to sleep shut up in her crate (in the coop) with them at night. She showed them how to use a low roost that we installed for the silkies.

    I'm scared! I'm not quite ready for her to keep the chicks out with the rest of the flock yet, overnight and during the early morning. I know mama will kick butt on any of the other chickens that get too close. The other chickens have learned that too. I thought she was going to kill one of the other hens today.

    So I scooted mama and the chicks back into their crate, which greatly upset mama. What do I do? Shouldn't the chicks be a bit older before they mix? [​IMG]
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  2. 88Haywood88

    88Haywood88 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2010
    in my experience, if the chicks are already 2 weeks old, the mama will protect them. I'd let her worry about it.
  3. oldodonnell

    oldodonnell Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2011

    Do what you think is right. If you want to bring them in and care for them, that is your right. We all have had more than one caretaker in our lives. Same w/ your little hens. You don't want nature to decide their fate. Take em in. Make them at home.

    Good Luck
  4. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Our mama's didn't let anything get close to their babies! She will keep them warm and as long as she is safe from predators, then I wouldn't worry. [​IMG] But, if it makes you uncomfortable, then she can deal with being in the crate.
  5. greenSearcher

    greenSearcher Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 22, 2010
    Let mama have her way, if she has done well so far. I presume you wanted the broody so she could raise her babies, let her do it. Remember in her perspective, those babies are just a month from being on their own, and she is teaching them all they need to do to fit in the flock and be chickens. It's kinda like being a grandma, I have to sit on my head sometimes to keep my big mouth out of how my kids are raising their children, they are doing good jobs at it, just not my way. I suspect I will have the same problem once I let the broody hens be mamas.
  6. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Silly Mama Doe [​IMG]

    I would also assist her in crating for the night, at least until the chicks are older - and feathered, maybe 4 weeks. Then I would let her start moving them in with the flock.

    ETA: with my chickens I might not worry, but Gritty has the meaties and they have shown already that they are not crazy about the fluffy bottoms. 3 can be a challenge to watch for a "new mom" - and the morning rush outta the coop is a quick place to get lost.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2011
  7. easttxchick

    easttxchick Lone Star Call Ducks

    Aug 3, 2009
    Quote:x2 Kat. Just for your own(and Doe's) piece of mind. [​IMG]
  8. oldodonnell

    oldodonnell Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 12, 2011

    I think 'Grandma' told you the answer. If you are scared, take control. Don't be scared, bring them in. If you are comfortable, let them be. But don't be a worry wort. Enjoy the experience.
  9. FuzzyButtsFarm

    FuzzyButtsFarm Rest in Peace 1950-2013

    How I wished for a broody hen but alas it was not to be. Even the Orps have never shown the slightest intrest. When I lost half my girls to a bob cat I hatched three batches in a row till i lost my roo. With all the mess involved. Let the hen take care of it. It sounds like she's doing a good job. Never underestimate a determined Mom. [​IMG]
  10. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    That's a tough one. Are you more worried about predators, the other hens, or your attack meatie?

    All my 5 sets of brooded chicks wound up with the whole flock within a few days, less than one week old. I've never had them seriously attacked by the flock as the mamas have been so protective. I found one of the current youngest batch a bit bloody on the neck one day. By the time I returned with BluKote (which is some miles away) the spot was so dark it didn't look like blood. The next day I couldn't tell which one it was, and there have been no further problems. That was a week ago.

    You know, I had a predator attack a couple of nights ago and lost my roo and 4 hens. I found Mama and the chicks hiding under a dried up bush, safe and sound. My half grown broody raised pullet was hiding, safe, in a similar spot.

    The thing is, chickens are so driven by their instincts, I tend to let them have their way.

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