Momma hen and baby - when to mix with flock?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Kotiya, Jun 25, 2010.

  1. Kotiya

    Kotiya In the Brooder

    Jun 11, 2009
    South-West Ohio
    I had a momma hatch 1 chick a few weeks ago. We kept them separate for a few days then it seems she really wanted to stretch her legs. So we let her (and a baby) run in the coop while the other birds were kept outside. Within a week we let them all mix because it seemed momma was taking care of baby. Then we found baby dead after another day or so.
    Now, another momma might hatch 1 [​IMG] chick. We will keep them separate a lot longer, but I don't know how long is appropriate. Any suggestions?
  2. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    I'd like to know this, too. We started out with 5 chicks and I found one dead for no apparent reason. I think one of the adult hens got it (even with TWO grumpy momma chickens watching). I separated them, but it would be nice to put everyone back together.

    PS: It seems that the search function is down!
  3. Beryl

    Beryl Songster

    Sorry to hear about your baby chicks. I had a hen hatch out one chick and when the chick was about 8 weeks old we put them in with the others. Before this we let them free range with the hens they were going in with for about half an hour each day. They did go in with 2 other chickens and 2 ducks and all is harmonious , but sometimes the chickens do run after her. She always head back to the protection of her mum, but this seems to be getting less week after week. I hope this helps. Beryl
  4. Oven Ready

    Oven Ready Songster

    May 9, 2010
    I don't think there is a 'time limit', one quick peck to the head can be all it takes to end a chicks life, even getting stood on by their mum is possible or getting in the way of furious scratching in the dirt or a stone getting thrown up from mums feet. It's a hard life being a chick, if your not close in to the feet you won't get the tasty morsels, if you're close in you stand a good chance of getting injured.

    We let ours mix when they want to - we have a seperate 'maternity unit' that they stay in until it's obvious they want out - this stops the rooster and young cockerels bothering the hens. We do find chicks dead, they look like they've been stood on but I think that's 'after the fact'. A couple of poor little souls have been killed by falling fruit from the trees.

    Mother hens are usually good at protecting the little ones but bad things happen and there's nothing we can really do about it.

    Sad to hear your singleton was lost, that's worse than losing one out of nine, better luck with the next one.
  5. Momo

    Momo Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    I keep my broodies and babies separated from the flock (but visible on the other side of the wire) for close to two weeks (by which time the chicks are pretty strong and vigorous), then open up the barrier and let 'em mix. So far I haven't had a problem.
  6. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I have ducks and I wait until the babies are almost the same size as the adults. The way ducks grow that only takes about 5-6 weeks.
  7. squeakyballs

    squeakyballs Songster

    Feb 7, 2009
    Tucson, AZ
    Thanks for all of the replies! Sometimes I wish there were rules set in stone, it seems like it would make it much easier!

    I might add some cinder block "shelters" or something around the coop and leave the door open for the big ones to come in tomorrow. They are 3 weeks old, so not super tiny any more.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by