Need fast advice on unexpected baby chick

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rockinD, Aug 16, 2016.

  1. rockinD

    rockinD Out Of The Brooder

    23
    3
    26
    Jun 19, 2012
    Hi All,

    I've incubated and hatched chicks before but I've never had one hatch in my flock. Ive been vacationing and had a care taker caring for my animals. I got a call this morning that we have a chick. Apparently there are no other eggs so it'll just be this one. The momma chicken is staying with her and all seems fine that way. This is this hen's first hatch.

    My question is, do I need to separate her and the chick from the rest of the flock? I have ten hens including her and two roosters (one grown - presumably the daddy lol - and one juvenile). The others are out right now and she's locked in the coop but the others will come in to roost this evening.

    Any other general advice is appreciated as well. I'm used to controlling everything in a brooder so this more hands off approach is new to me.

    I need to try to get instructions to my care taker before the others come back to roost tonight.

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,451
    3,565
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Congrats on your new addition!

    Overall, I'm a big fan of leaving momma and baby with the flock. This keeps everyone used to each other, the chick grows up in the flock and learns good manners, and there's no big integration issue. Now, that said....

    predators. Momma hens are pretty fierce about protecting babies, but they can't fend off most predators. I don't have an issue with outside predators thanks to my dogs and cats. My cats, however, did put a dent in my baby chick population this year. I now keep my broody hens in cat-proof pens until the chicks are older (my main coop/run is open and the cats come and go as they please).

    space. If your space in the coop/run is already tight, you might want to go ahead and pull momma and baby out. Part of learning flock manners is being able to run away from the older bird. If there's not enough space for the chick to run, the older bird may thing it's being insubordinate and escalate the lesson to actual injury. No fault of the chick or the older bird, just not enough space for the social dynamic to be properly carried out.

    There have been folks here who have had roosters be aggressive to chicks. Myself, never. My silkie rooster actively co-parents. My large fowl roosters tolerate the chicks and intervene if the mature hens get too testy with them. They also support broody momma when she's hormonal and feeling threatened.

    So sorry, there's no one size fits all. Since you're not home, it may be best to separate the hen and her chick until you're able to be there and monitor.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    10,814
    4,271
    501
    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    A week ago I had a single chick hatch out of three eggs. The broody mama is in a coop section with her chick away from the rest of the flock. They have a pen coming off this coop to themselves. The rest of the flock can observe these two while they're outside in the run, but the chick is safe should any of them get the urge to do anything.

    I've heard too many tales of chickens injuring baby chicks, and I feel it's best to keep mama and chick separate for the first few weeks until the chick is a bit more independent. If you have space, why not keep the chick safe? A baby chick is just too vulnerable for the first couple weeks, in my opinion.
     
  4. Norzam

    Norzam Out Of The Brooder

    17
    4
    24
    Jan 26, 2016
    Malaysia
    My Coop
    If the chicks is less then 3, I'll let them flock together(with hens & rooster)...else I'll split them. I've once had 16 chicks coming from 3 hens. I split them to their mamma from day 1 to 2 months old. Then grouped back the 16 (2 months) chicks in 1 partition. Then the next month I've got another 5 chicks which only 2 survived. These 2 chicks are staying with the 3 hens. Confrontation did happen, on who's going to taking care of them , but that is only at the beginning, slowly they will start to accept...now the newly young hens are starting to laying eggs for our consumption, the seniors - 2 of my hens are brooding...again??[​IMG]
     
  5. rockinD

    rockinD Out Of The Brooder

    23
    3
    26
    Jun 19, 2012
    Thank you all for responding. I decided to let nature take its course and so far, all is fine. The mature rooster is very protective of them (not towards me) so he seems to have a good handle on the situation. The little one is doing well.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by