Mama hen has ditched her chicks at 4 weeks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by NHchicks, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. NHchicks

    NHchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Is this the right thread for mama hen issues? Because like the subject says, mama has ditched her chicks at 4 weeks and I'm not sure what to do. She leaves them, and they sit there and peep like - MOM! Where are you!

    Will they be okay and assimilate with the flock without her help? Do I need to watch them carefully for feeding issues, etc?
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  2. sheila3935

    sheila3935 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When my Aussie did that in April I brought them in the house, mainly cause it was still to cold for them. I would seperate them from the others cause without moms protection they may get pecked.
     
  3. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would bring them in also, or separate them, the larger hens will pick on them, and could kill them...good luck!
     
  4. sonew123

    sonew123 Poultry Snuggie

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    I've had hens abandon at 4 weeks and the chicks did fine because they were brought up with all the clan. What I did to assure the chicks got food and water was make a mini coop for the chicks-ONLY they could get in and out of to reach the chick feed and water. They would go out and play off and on all day and when they were hungry go get their own food and not have to worry about all other big chickens beating them up for the food:) Has worked for 5 years-I also make the mini coop big enough for them to sleep in-when they reach about 8-10 weeks old they are now big enough to be alone since everyone is so used them and such-I still leave a feeder hidden for them though:)
     
  5. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    I had 3 momma hens who co raised 12 chicks and they also cut the apron strings at 4 weeks. The 12 are now 7 weeks old and doing fine on their own. They are in a coop and enclosed run with their daddy roo and 6 hens. They know to stay clear of the adults at certain times and they are still roosting separate from adults. I would recommend watching them to make sure they are not picked on and be prepared to move them if they are treated too harshly by the adults. Remember there will be some picking as the pecking order is established, but it is often easier to keep them together than have to reintroduce them later.
     
  6. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

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    Mine also got dumped at 4 weeks. I did rehome a few just because there were so many chicks, but the three that are left are doing fine in with the flock. They are feathered enough and it's in the 80's here so I don't worry about the heat.
     
  7. zookeeper15133

    zookeeper15133 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine got dumped at 4 weeks too. Mama went broody again. She was hatched and raised in the coop with the other hens and 2 roos. The roos took over her care. They were very protective of her. She is now about 12 weeks old and fine.
     
  8. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have no idea where you are, what your weather is like, or what your set-up is like. (South of the equator, it is wintertime). Were they raised with the flock or in a separate enclosure? It's hard to talk about your specific situation without knowing some of the details, so I'll talk about mine in general.

    I have a lot of room in my coop and run, and I usually let them free range anyway. Broody hens may wean their chicks at 4 weeks or they may wait a month or more longer. I don't know how they decide when to wean them. Most breeds are fully feathered out at 4 to 5 weeks, so they really don't need supplemental heat, especially when it is in the 90's during the day and in the 70's at night.

    When my broody hens wean their chicks, I leave them alone. Mama has already taken care of integration issues and taught them how to find food and water. They should know where to go to at night. They are usually capable of taking care of themselves. At least mine always have been. I do think the amount of room they have plays into it a lot.

    They may be fully integrated into the flock, which means the other chickens see them as flock members and will not treat them as outsiders and a threat to the flock, but they are definitely lowest in the pecking order. The older chickens will enforce their pecking order rights if the young ones invade their personal space. But if the young ones run away when first pecked, life is good and happy in the flock once again. This is where the extra room comes in handy. They have to have enough room to run away. It also helps for them to have enough room to stay out of the way of the older chickens. I strongly believe the amount of room is very important.

    Mama has already taken care of integration issues, at least with mine since they were raised with the flock. To me, that is a big reason to let her raise them with the flock. If I were to separate them, they would have to go through another integration later. Again, I don't know what your specific situation is.

    The only special feeding issue I do is that I provide food and water at separate locations. That way, the young ones can get to the feed and water more easily without having to get close to the older birds higher in the pecking order.

    If they are used to sleeping in a place other than the main coop, I'd let them continue to do that. I find the biggest aggression due to pecking order issues occur on the roosts at bedtime. You might have a different situation. Each flock has its own flock dynamics. If they are sleeping in the main coop, they may sleep in the floor to stay away from the bigger chickens or they may be able to roost with the older chickens without a problem. I've had both happen.

    I don't know if you will get anything beneficial out of this or not. Each flock has its own dynamics and each of us have different set-ups and circumstances. Good luck however you go.
     
  9. adgcountrygirl

    adgcountrygirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I think this is an excellent idea! They get the socialization of the group and the protection they need. Brilliant!
     
  10. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Glad you posted this. This year is the first time I've had broodies hatching eggs, so I've done tons of reading and asked even more questions. The first hen, a BO, hatched out 4 and left them at 4 weeks. Kind of freaked me out. But mine free range over 10 acres, so these 4 kept themselves hidden in the woods for a while and gradually started coming out more and more. The are 9 weeks now and now they come closer to the house for treats, and out to the horse pasture.
    My EE abandoned her chicks day before yesterday and they are only 3 weeks! Hate that. And the hen was a total witch so I couldn't ever get near them and they are completely wild. They do come in at night and find a place to settle by themselves, but you can tell they are a bit freaked out.
    My Cochin started hatching out yesterday - 3 so far - she is sweet, so I'm going to make it a point to spend time with them in the nursery and tame them a bit more. I keep meaning to build a "maternity ward" (chicken tractor) to keep them separate and spend time with them, but I don't have time.
    Do you free range? If you don't I would say do what the others have suggested and create an area where they can be safe from the grown chickens. If you do free range, Mamma has raised them to be smart and independent, so you'll have to trust that they'll keep themselves safe until they are old enough - and big enough - to come out with the big kids.
    And that's what I've learned so far! [​IMG]
     

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