Issues introducing broody hen back in flock

Big Red Roosters

Songster
Nov 7, 2018
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United States of America
I introduce new birds to my flock quite often, so I'm not new to the introducing concept. Unfortunately, my bantams decided to give me a hard time recently and I'm not sure what to do.

I decided I didn't want chicks in my house this time and went with letting the broody hatch and raise herself. To make things "easier" I did the dog crate in the coop method. It sits in the middle of the coop, open on all sides. They've been in there for several months now, dont remember the exact date. The chicks are small, they are Belgian quail danver mixes. I started with letting them all out in short spurts several times a day. Some normal pecking order stuff, at first. The hens began getting aggressive and not backing off, seemingly hell bent on killing. Day 4 was nearly a tragic disaster. I let them out like usual and stepped aside to watch. One of my frizzle hens went insane and mauled the broody hen, she began fighting her like a rooster would. It was bloody, fast. I jump in and intervene, push the frizzle hen away and then a cochin hen starts the same tactic. For a moment, I thought she clawed out the broody's eye. There was so much blood. I pick her up and investigate, eye is fine, just a gash on her face. In the meantime, a silkie nearly killed the chicks. They were stomped and pecked half to death in 20 seconds. After that disaster, I haven't tried to reintroduce anyone. They're still in the crate in the coop.
The broody's comb is messed up, her face is swollen and bruised. The chicks have no external damage, but the one is definitely slow, I'm concerned of internal damage. It's been 2 days since the incident, what on earth am I supposed to do now? At first I was going to isolate the bully hens, but it seemed everyone had a part in hurting the broody and chicks. The rooster hung around the chicks, and even showed them where to eat, but he did nothing when the silkie attacked them.
The biggest chick is as big as the broody, the smallest is less than half the adult size. All the same age, which I neglected to keep track of. I think they hatched in September.. or August.. my bad.
 

aart

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Yikes!! That stinks!
No good now, but in the future open the crate up 1-2 weeks after hatch, when chicks are less of a 'threat' and mama still has her broody mojo in high gear.
Now you have the more typical integration scenario to deal with.
Best of cLuck!

Have seen the broody wars, luckily here it only lasted a couple days, it was bloody and violent to the point I had to break them up because the cockbird couldn't, tho he tried hard. Once she duked it out with 3 higher ranking hens, she reveled in her new found fierceness and turned into somewhat of a bully...and the cockbird helped protect her and the chicks.
 

Big Red Roosters

Songster
Nov 7, 2018
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452
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United States of America
Yikes!! That stinks!
No good now, but in the future open the crate up 1-2 weeks after hatch, when chicks are less of a 'threat' and mama still has her broody mojo in high gear.
Now you have the more typical integration scenario to deal with.
Best of cLuck!

Have seen the broody wars, luckily here it only lasted a couple days, it was bloody and violent to the point I had to break them up because the cockbird couldn't, tho he tried hard. Once she duked it out with 3 higher ranking hens, she reveled in her new found fierceness and turned into somewhat of a bully...and the cockbird helped protect her and the chicks.
I would have tried, but my bantams are evil. Somewhere I have a chick killer, but I've never been able to track down which hen it is. It isn't the silkie, she was in the group of chicks that most were killed after hatching last year. I usually wait until they are old enough to defend themselves, but it's getting so cold and cramped in the crate I didn't feel right keeping them there. I may move them to the garage for winter then and wait until spring. The one is a cockerel anyway, he'll have to be moved to another flock sooner or later. My cockbird has been slacking lately, thinking I may pull one from the rooster flock and see if someone else is a better fit. He's been so good the last 3 years, but recently he's been chasing hens from food so he can eat first and is being very territorial with them. Maybe it's just molting that's made him grouchy?
 

Shadrach

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Jul 31, 2018
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Better still, Don't put broodies in crates in the middle of the coop. Broody hens need to get off the eggs once a day to eat, drink and dust bath. By doing this they also keep 'in touch' with the rest of the flock. Put them in a cage and you end up with fence fights which you probably don't see. When the broody comes out, everyone wants to fight her.
One of the great benefits of letting a broody sit and hatch her eggs is she will introduce the chicks to the rest of the flock. She can't do this if she's locked in a cage.
While the chicks are young she will defend them. At the age you've let her out some of that defense attitude will have gone.
 

Big Red Roosters

Songster
Nov 7, 2018
185
452
147
United States of America
Better still, Don't put broodies in crates in the middle of the coop. Broody hens need to get off the eggs once a day to eat, drink and dust bath. By doing this they also keep 'in touch' with the rest of the flock. Put them in a cage and you end up with fence fights which you probably don't see. When the broody comes out, everyone wants to fight her.
One of the great benefits of letting a broody sit and hatch her eggs is she will introduce the chicks to the rest of the flock. She can't do this if she's locked in a cage.
While the chicks are young she will defend them. At the age you've let her out some of that defense attitude will have gone.
She hatched the eggs in a public nesting box. I don't ever trust or like broodies anywhere near eggs or chicks, this time was just an exception with unplanned chicks and my lack of time to care for them personally. My bantams kill chicks, they are vicious, cant trust them with any chicks. I usually introduce at 5-6 months old so they are capable of defending themselves. I tried introducing day old chicks with a broody last year and they killed most the chicks overnight and the broody did nothing. I dont have this issue in the standards. I wish I would've incubated them myself, then there wouldn't be issues. Lesson learned - No more broodies. Thank you for the information.
 

Big Red Roosters

Songster
Nov 7, 2018
185
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United States of America
Great news. I successfully introduced the chicks in the flock. It went quite well, I separated the broody and let the chicks out. They didn't act so helpless when mom wasnt there and are now happy little flock members. The broody is back in too, she just took a little more time.
 

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