Mama Hen and Babies Question

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Ellie, May 1, 2008.

  1. Ellie

    Ellie Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    My broody, Lacy is in a pen and dog house with her 4 chicks. They are in full view of the other hens. They will be 4 weeks old tomorrow.

    The 8 hens I have free range during the day and Lacy and chicks go out when I get home from work in th evenings and have been out on weekends with supervison. They are all together with only a few scuffles.

    Lacy started chasing them from her today and not making the food sound for them to come eat. I know this means she is starting to wean them off from her.

    My question is for those of you with more experience: when and how do I get them all back into the regular coop?

    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  2. coopist

    coopist Songster

    Jan 2, 2008
    Midwest U.S.
    It's usually better to integrate them while the chicks are still with their mother so that she will teach them to fly up on the roost with the other birds. But 4 weeks is just a little bit on the early side for her to be weaning them, because they're not yet old enough to effectively get away from harm, and they haven't been integrated yet. So, that does pose a problem. You may have to separate them until they're bigger; that is, you may not be able to integrate them with the flock until they're a good bit older....

    My hens usually wait until 6-8 weeks before weaning, although I have one hen that never really weans her chicks. She sits with her wings out over them on the roost when they're as big as she is [​IMG]
    Last edited: May 1, 2008
  3. flinthillbillie

    flinthillbillie In the Brooder

    Apr 9, 2007
    Flint Hill, VA
    I'm in the same boat with my mother hen. The chicks will be 4 weeks old this weekend and just over the last couple of days she's stopped caring for them. And she was such a good mother, too. I don't know what the normal timeframe is for weaning them, but they've been completely integrated with all the others for about a week now and it's been peaceful, but the mother always looked out for them too. Last night she got up on the perches with the others instead of in her regular spot in the corner with the babies. I took her down and headed her toward where the babies were but she just turned around and got back up on the roost. The babies did fine, thankfully. I checked on them after it had been dark a couple of hours and they were quietly cheeping - not at all distressed. Today I saw the mother hen peck at them (and I mean HARD!) whenever they got underfoot. Poor little things. Is there anything I should do to intervene or should I just let them fend for themselves as long as they're not getting too much abuse?
  4. Ellie

    Ellie Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Redding, Ca.
    It is good to know others are in the same boat. Mine are not in their big coop with the other girls.

    I suspect she will go to her regular coop when she is ready and then they will follow.

  5. Matt A NC

    Matt A NC Crowing

    Feb 22, 2007
    Morganton, NC
    I have noticed a hen will stop clucking for them for a couple days and then she gets more insistent about being left alone. When she doesn't want to sleep with them anymore that is the end. The hen goes back to the hen house.

    I let the chicks sleep in their nest another couple nights to help them get used to no momma. Then I place a perch just above the nest. Over the next couple nights I place them on the perch each night to teach them to roost. Then I remove the nest completely and put down shavings. If they need more room I move them to a Starter House(small mobile coup) for a couple months or till they are close in size to the adults.

    I like to do things slowly and luckily have the ability to build the starter houses I need.


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