mama raising witht the flock and baby question....

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 2hot2chicken, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2 Questions:

    I have a mama silkie who is raising chicks with my flock right now. Most of the adults free range during the day and I keep mama and babies in the run alone cause the babies could slip out of my chainlink fence and I live on a busy road and do not want to risk them getting out of my yard and a pasing dog to get them or something. But in the evening I put the birds back in the run with her for an hour or so before bed time. Babies range from about 2-3 weeks old now in age. I have 3 BR 8 months old and a 7-8 month old silkie besides mom I have only had the other silkie for about a month or so. Mama is very protective of her babies but the babies walk right up to the other hens and other than the occational warning peck intheir direction, and I do mean occational, the other hens don't seem to even notice the babies or if they do they are basicly ignoring them. Well Mama went broody about 3 days after I got the other silkie hen but they got along from the very moment we put them together. Sleeping in the nest boxes next to each other all night and hangin out together very close when they free ranged. New silkie and the BR are now getting along great as well and the new silkie seemed to be kina missing the mama silkie during her broody time before chicks as she frequestly would hang out in the coop instead of out in the yard with the BR at first. Once mama had the chicks she kept everyone away for a week or so. However the last few days her and the new silkie are now hanging out very close together again now. Today was the best however as the new silkie and mama were laying together in the run this morning with the babies crawling all overand under both of them! I have a rabbit cage on the floor in the coop for mama I used the 1st couple days with babies to keep her on the ground with them and not up into the nest box as babies couldn't get up to them and she is a first time mom so I wanted to be sure there would no problems with other birds. Its left open and now this where her babies still sleep every night. New silkie tries to sleep on top of the cage which is blocking the nest boxes since hens were all molting and no laying anyway. So every night I have to go out and take her off of it when she sleeping and put her on the floor in the orner to sleep. Then tonight I went out to lock coop up and do my check and move her but she was in the cage sleeping with mama and the 4 chicks were under or against them both!

    1. Has anyone else had a really young hen (who has not even started laying yet) who started helping to raise babies?


    I also have 2 LF Light brahma chicks who are about 3-3.5 months old and fully feathered I put in the coop the other day. Well Mama keeps them away from babies and the BR occationally chase them a lil bit but since the free range the BR stay to 1 area accross the yard most of the day and the Brahma tend to stay nearer the coop. But they do fine when I feed treats, Brahmas are definatly on the bottom of the chain but there does not seem to be any real aggression issues. When they are in the run however the Brahmas either stay in the coop or they are huddled together in the corner of the run..... Even when the BR and silkies are not near them. They seem to be buddies with the new silkie hen and mama could care less as long as they stay away from her babies.We decided to move them into the coop young and less than half the size of the adult hens because they were top dog in the brooder and "outdoor playpen" they were in during the day becuase we have 4 silkie chicks of the same age they were raised with and they were 2x bigger than the silkies and not careful around them. We had to put a 3 month old silkie chick down because 1 of the brahmas jumpedoff the water container and landed on the silkie chick and broke its neck a few weeks ago. They were just to rough in the smaller pen and brooder.

    1. Is it common or the Brahma breed to be skittish when young like this? Like I said not really any aggression from other hens other than the occation chase to put them in their place and they come around other birds at feeding time.


    With older silkie chicks they are about 3 months old and went through the ugly juvi stage and are now pretty much fluffy again. I put them in my coop this morning for the first time and let them have the run with mama hen all day. Tonight is their first night in coop. I have had them completly off the heat lamp for about a week now. Its been in the high 90's here for the last couple of weeks and they just finished or are finishing getting some fluff/feathering out. Now its supposed to cool down this week and its getting into the 50s at night and may get down to the 40s at night........ Coop is draft proof/sealed well, but I have been leaving a window open and the drop door for so draft to keep coop cool and so adults can go outside 1st thing in the morning. the 4 silkies and 2 brahmas are cuddled up together in a corner on the floor when I checked tonight.

    1. They should be ok in the coop this young correct? Even with those temps? Should I start closing up the coop at night to keep it warmer? Reason I havnt is cooling it down at night keeps it cooler during the hot days, but temps during the day supposed to really cool down this week I heard but I want them to toughen up for winter to as fall is around the corner...... So I am torn.....
    Suggestions??? My 1st winter with chicks......

    Thanks for the advise!
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1. Has anyone else had a really young hen (who has not even started laying yet) who started helping to raise babies?

    None of this behavior is that strange. Usually with mine it is the head rooster that helps Mama, not another hen, but each chicken has its own opersonality and each flock has its own dynamics. Sometimes you have disasters but usually you do not.

    1. Is it common or the Brahma breed to be skittish when young like this? Like I said not really any aggression from other hens other than the occation chase to put them in their place and they come around other birds at feeding time.

    It is normal for chickens raised together to hang together during the day. It is also very normal for young chickens in a flock to stay away from the older hens. When a younger chicken invades the personal space of an older chicken, it is perfectly within the older chicken's rights to peck the younger chicken. This is enforcing the pecking order. Most younger chickens quickly learn it is a lot less painful to stay away from the older chickens. The danger is when you have an older chicken that seeks out to kill the younger ones. This does not happen often, but it does occasionally happen. But what you describe is perfectly normal.

    1. They should be ok in the coop this young correct? Even with those temps? Should I start closing up the coop at night to keep it warmer? Reason I havnt is cooling it down at night keeps it cooler during the hot days, but temps during the day supposed to really cool down this week I heard but I want them to toughen up for winter to as fall is around the corner...... So I am torn.....

    I don't do Silkies, but most chicks are fully feathered at 5 weeks and can easily handle the temperatures you are talking about. At five weeks, they can handle even colder temperatures, but it does help to toughen them up as you mentioned. What you have seen with the feather loss is called a juvenile molt. Chicks outgrow their feathers and have to molt twice before they become adult. Their molting does not affect them staying warm. Yours have not needed the heat lamp for a long time.

    The age when they are OK in the coop is a lot harder to answer. It depends a lot on the personality of your hens, the flock dynamics, and your set-up. My last broody weaned her chicks at 3-1/2 weeks and those chicks are doing great with the flock. They are 10 weeks old and hang together and avoid the older chickens, but they stay in the coop with them at night and do fine. But they do have a place to hide in the coop, under the nests where the older ones leave them alone. That's where set-up comes in. If I were you, I'd not leave them locked in the coop very long after the sun comes up until they get a little older if they don't have a safe haven in the coop, but mine do fine at that age. My brooder raised chicks free range with the older ones at 8 weeks, but they have a separate place to sleep until they are about the same age as your chicks. Then they do OK in the coop with the adults. How it will work with you will depend on your individual chickens, your space in the coop, and your set-up. It will be different for each of us.
     
  3. 2hot2chicken

    2hot2chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 15, 2011
    Beaverton
    Quote:This is sorta what I figured I was more or less wondering if anyone else had a similar story.... [​IMG]


    Quote:I am more concerned because as I said they were the very outgoing and top dogs before but now they are so skittish. They used to charge the BR hens when they would come over to the "Playpen" to check out the babies/juvies. 1 of the BR Hens frequntly would jump into the pen with the juvies to check them out and the Brahmas would go right up to her and she would usually leave the pen as if they chased her out. I know it was "their territory" and not the hens but still facinating to me. This is my first time with Brahmas so I was curious if it was a trait others had seen in theirs before to........

    Quote:The silkies are doing ok in the coop with the other chickens..... I was more concerned about them being feathered out enough with the window and drop door open as it could be creating a draft. They huddled together and seem none the worse for wear but since they are used to hot weather I was unsure if I should expose them suddenly to the cold at their age. I figured they could handle it fine but since they are my first young silkies I wanted to be sure. I assumed with the type of feathering silkies have they are probably more able to withstand the cold vs the heat but I wasn't sure since they are still feathering out the rest of the way and a little thin on the "fir" in some areas especially the neck and the head area. So just thought I would see if there was a silkie person who could put my mind at ease......

    They are all spoiled anyway and on cold mornings I make them some warm oatmeal to get them started........ [​IMG]

    Actually they get whatever I make for my own human kids..... Pancakes, French toast, Oatmeal, Eggs/Toast/Hashbrowns, etc...... I alwayzs make enough for my chickies and my dog... Like I said very spoiled!!!!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011

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