Momma and Baby

kimchick621

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 23, 2012
120
1
81
I had a white sussex go broody a while back, so I stuck a few eggs under her. One hatched yesterday, and I noticed today that one of the other chickens was pecking at the baby. Momma hen quickly sat and covered him up, but I"m worried now that I may need to pull momma and baby away from my other two hens for a week or so.

I was hoping to not have to do this...do you think momma can protect him enough or should I move them briefly?
 

ADozenGirlz

The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png
10 Years
Oct 18, 2009
6,121
89
301
Connecticut
I had a white sussex go broody a while back, so I stuck a few eggs under her. One hatched yesterday, and I noticed today that one of the other chickens was pecking at the baby. Momma hen quickly sat and covered him up, but I"m worried now that I may need to pull momma and baby away from my other two hens for a week or so.

I was hoping to not have to do this...do you think momma can protect him enough or should I move them briefly?
Personally, I would move them. I have seen situations exactly like that go bad very quickly and the chicks didn't stand a chance. It's not worth the risk.
 

kimchick621

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 23, 2012
120
1
81
Thanks..I did exactly that. Momma and baby are pulled out at the moment. About how long do you think I should keep them separated from the rest of the gals?
 

Firefighter Chick

Songster
8 Years
May 8, 2011
632
18
138
Southeast Minnesota
If your chickens are kept penned up 24/7, the chicks will need to grow to about adult size before they can be turned loose. I let mine free range so my momma and babies wandered the yard and momma kept them away from the other chickens.
 

mandelyn

Crowing
11 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,488
1,148
391
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
At least 8 weeks, but if you can free range them together for some "bonding" during that time, the transition is better. When they're small like that, it only takes one good peck to seriously hurt them or worse.

My broody over the summer had a heck of a time. She started with duck eggs. 25 days she had them, before the broody duck screwed up hers. I gave the chicken's duck eggs to the duck. She sat on an empty nest for a couple of days before I broke down and bought her some chicks. Then the other hens were jealous or something, so I moved her. She was so happy after the move and having those chicks. Like all her stress was gone. The other hens were either trying to get at the babies, or use her nest box.

Now she's depressed, full blown half naked molt, and just broke from being broody again. I didn't give her any more babies. Once a year is enough. She's so thin! She's on an extra special diet now.

When I let mom and babies out to range, her best friend came charging over and hopped into their hut. Ate their food, scoped out the nest, and visited with the babies. The others came by and looked too. They accepted those babies as hers, no meanness, not like when she was in the coop.

I wonder if it's instinctual. Hens disappear from the flock, and return with babies. Maybe the hen needs to disappear from the flock to know what's happening and accept it. LOL Cooped birds just don't get it?

When she started taking the babies back to the main coop on her own, that's when I moved them back in. They were feathered out when she was comfortable doing that, about 7 weeks I think.

It got a little stressful for them when momma decided she wasn't protecting them anymore. When they're feathered out it offers some protection, and they can run fast. At that age they become paranoid and distrustful of other hens.

One neat idea is to make a wall with slats... think of a baby crib. The babies can fit through it, but the adults can't. Put the starter feed and some water in there. It's like their retreat to hide in.
 

kimchick621

Chirping
7 Years
Oct 23, 2012
120
1
81
Mine have supervised ranging times, I don't let them free range all the time. I like your suggestion of an escape wall. Since momma only was able to hatch one, I have a few more babies coming today or tomorrow (when ever they hatch!). I figured growing up was hard enough as a little chick, but growing up alone was way too hard.

Momma and baby are in a dog crate right now, I brought them in for the night last night, but tonight I may just cover the crate with a blanket, or something. They're going to get alone time in the chicken run later, when I kick the rest of the gals out. Hopefully in the next few weeks as babies grow it will be an easy transition for them to be "welcomed to the flock." Funny thing is, the sweetest chicken (she's lowest on the pecking order) was the one who was the most brutal to baby. Guess she feels like she has something to prove.
 

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