Mumma hen attacking 7week old chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jacksprat1980, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. jacksprat1980

    jacksprat1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2014
    We have an Australorp hen with 7 unsexed ISA x Australorp chicks that are now 7 weeks old.

    She's always been a great mum.

    This morning we noticed two things:
    1- she'd laid 2 eggs
    2- one chick has lots of wounds on it's back.

    At first we thought this little one (we're fairly sure it's a rooster) was being attacked by another chick (presumably another rooster), but since popping it back in we've seen really aggressive behavior from mum. Mainly towards this chick, but also some of the others.

    They all run if she steps towards them.

    Is she trying to 'wean' them, or do you think it's more a rooster aimed behavior? I've seperated her within the coop but are the babies big enough to be on their own at 7 weeks??

    Thanks in advance for your help
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    This is the way a mama lets her chicks know she's through being a mama. Her having laid an egg is also a good sign she is through. Generally, if the chicks were raised within the flock, they will be accepted or at least tolerated as members of the flock when she quits.

    Usually, mature roosters either ignore new chicks in the flock, or are protective. As for chicks fighting, this is of course going to happen to some degree, if only as a form of play. You'll probably have to observe a little more to see how serious it is. Of course, you may have to separate a chick til healed if it is wounded. You can also try applying BluKote to any more minor wounds, which is an antiseptic that also tends to deter pecking with its blue color.

    It's a pretty good rule of thumb that if there is pecking going on, more space will help resolve the problem. Once in a while you do get male chicks who are so aggressive they need to be removed from the flock -- actually, the worst one I ever had turned out to be female when we processed her.

    Good luck!
     
  3. jacksprat1980

    jacksprat1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2014
    Thanks. Once I saw it was mum I was fairly sure that was the case.

    We purchased mum and chicks to start our flock so no other introductions are required.

    We've kept them contained to coop until now as we were worried about predators, will finish the run off in the next few days so they can get more space.

    Am I better off seperating mum until then?
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Is there any way you can knock the run together today, at least enough to let them out during the day? They really need space most of all.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    I agree with everything Judy said. Since she is injuring them, separate the hen until they have more space..
     
  6. jacksprat1980

    jacksprat1980 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 18, 2014
    Thanks all. Mum is seperated at the moment. Unfortunately only worked it all out at nightfall. Hubby is away until late tomorrow night but I'll get everything ready for first thing Saturday. (Saturday had been the plan.)

    Was worried about predators as we live on the edge of town we get hawks/eagles occasionally as well as cats, foxes, dogs, snakes etc.

    We've been letting them free range supervised around the coop for 20mins or so twice a day the last week or two. Will be nice once the runs done, then the free ranging treat will be into our yard[​IMG]
     

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