Mom with Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rider45, Jun 16, 2017.

  1. rider45

    rider45 Just Hatched

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    I have two hens that hatched their first chicks (one and four). Our first chicks too! I only have one small coop and therefore set them up in wire dog crates in the coop. The chicks can pop in and out, so I worry about them because mom can't defend them. I left the door open while refilling the food and water and she tried to take them outside with the big birds. She's pretty nasty and protective so I had a heck of a time getting them back in the crate. The crate isn't very big either. Should I let mom and babies out and let her do her job? Or is that too high risk? The hen with one chick is quite content where she is.
     
  2. rIrs roost

    rIrs roost Sir Crows A lot Premium Member

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    I let mine do their thing. After a day or two after hatching the mama hen usually carries the into the yard.
     
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  3. IZZYBELLA

    IZZYBELLA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Congrats on the chicks! Two questions... where is the mama hen in the pecking order and how old are the chicks? If mama is middle to high in the pecking order, she should be fine being integrated right in the flock protecting the chicks. If she is low, I would allow her outside with the chicks, but keep them separate from the flock for at least the first week. Nobody was messing with my high-ranking broody and her chicks, but I have a low-ranking broody now and the queens of the coop are much more aggressive towards her and the chicks, so I am keeping them separate.
     
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  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Rank in the flock has never been an issue with my Broody Hens and Chicks...My Rooster loves Chicks and tidbits and protects them right along side of Momma Hen...During my Hens time raising her Chicks my other Hens keep out of the way....I think it might be the breed of Birds you have?...Mine are Brahma and Orpington .....
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Ditto that. It does depend on flock dynamics and whether birds free-range or not. Observing initial interactions should be sufficient to give you an idea as to whether to let them mingle or not. Either way, momma has been sitting for 3 weeks and she really needs to stretch her legs and have a good dust bath, so they need some outdoor space.
     
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  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I think you can see the consensus here is to let the broodies do what they need to do and dispense with the incarceration. Usually a flock fears a broody hen and will avoid incurring her rath.

    When you say, "one small coop", how large is it and how many adult chickens are residing in it? Do they have a protected run? Or does the flock free range solely? How large is the run? Space will play a very important role in this, especially when the broodies wean their chicks around six weeks and they will be expected to fend for themselves. That's when they may require some safe space.
     
    Ridgerunner likes this.
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Very much this. With living animals you don't get guarantees, pretty much anything can happen. How much room you have is important, especially after she weans them. I've had broody hens wean their chicks at three weeks, some wait more than two months. The chicks are left on their own to make their way with the flock and they do.

    I have not noticed a difference in pecking order status before she went broody either. It's possible you can get a broody that doesn't protect her chicks, I never have but with living animals anything is possible. I've never had another hen go out of her way to hunt and destroy they chicks, some people say they have such a hen. I've never had a dominant rooster threaten a young chick in any way, sometimes (not often but sometimes) they even help Mama take care of them. Some people say they have had roosters attack chicks.

    I can't guarantee that things will work out for you, but I can say I have different broody hens raise their chicks with the flock every year and I've never lost one to another adult in the flock.
     
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  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    I am one that will say he has seen roosters attack chicks and on rare occasions kill them. It is more likely to occur in tight confinement here they rooster does not know or belong to same social grouping as the mother.

    Otherwise roosters not a problem.

    The "small coop" statement needs to be elaborated on.
     
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  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That makes perfect sense.
     
  10. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

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    Once in a great while I randomly hit on something that implies understanding.
     
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