Momma or Predator?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Christian99, Jan 29, 2015.

  1. Christian99

    Christian99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello, I have 3 baby chicks, about 2 weeks old. I also have another chicken about 8 weeks of age. The 8 week yr old chicken is REALLY nice. I currently have the two groups separated because of age. However, I just let go of all my roosters and I was seeing if the baby chicks would be able to live with that hen in a large space. Before I did it, I let them get close to each other. The big chicken was fine for about 30 minutes then tried to stomp on 2 chicks. To me, it seemed like she was trying to kill them. However, she never kept going at it, she did it 1 time. So, is she being momma or is she trying to treat herself to chicken lunch?
     
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    That is a pretty big difference in age to be combining them. It's hard to tell, the older chick could just be asserting it's dominance over the younger ones. You can keep a close eye on them, or try again when the younger chicks are a bit bigger.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I need some clarification, if you wouldn't mind. You have three two-week old baby chicks. Is the older chick(chicken/hen) 8 weeks old? Or do you have a year-old hen in the mix, too?

    Six weeks age difference may be considerable right now, but not in another couple months when they should be close to the same size.

    But if you have an adult hen in addition to the chicks, it might be a problem. She won't have any "momma" feelings for them, and might be pretty rough on them, especially while they're so small.
     
  4. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    The older chick is not attempting to mother, so take that off the list of things you are considering. With such a large gap in ages integration at this point will generally result in injury/death of the younger, smaller birds. You can try monitoring with a "plan b" ready if/when the aggression happens again, but the risk there is NOT being right there at the moment and only finding the unfortunate results after the fact.
     
  5. Christian99

    Christian99 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the answers! Basically, they all make the point to me that they shouldn't be around her. What age would be safe? There will always be a pecking order of course, but I don't want any violence.
     
  6. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    When they are roughly the same size.
     
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  7. krista74

    krista74 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agreed. Combine them when they are roughly the same size.

    I had some 7 week old chicks combine with some 10 week old chicks just fine.

    But those same chicks who are now around 14 weeks and 17 weeks old are only just starting to be introduced with my grown hens who are 14 months old.

    So far, so good - but I would always supervise them closely during the introductory phase.

    Good Luck!

    - Krista
     
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