My broody had mine out in about 2 weeks. It was late October last year and somewhat cold. She kept them in the sun and sat from time to time and they piled under her for warmth. Mom chicken will defend her bunch. It was all out war for about 15 minutes with the other hens then all settled down. A broody with newborns is nothing to mess with. Even my dog that thinks he is a chicken wouldn't get close. Enjoy
We've hatched 3 lots of chicks so far and have let the mamas/chicks have access to the outdoors from day one (in summer time). They usually stay indoors for a couple of days then go out, although the chicks stay pretty close to mama for a while. We have hatched our chicks in with the other hens, and the mothers keep the others away, I think it is better introduce them as early as possible so that their mother's are still looking out for them.
You mention other hens... are roosters a problem for the babies? Im expecting 3 new ones any day now and Mama is sharing a coop with two very friendly roosters. Should I worry about the chicks' safety?
I just had a broody hen hatch out 11 chicks 2 weeks ago. They have been in the coop with the other chickens the entire time. Mama had them all out free ranging this last weekend. Temps here have been 60 to 70 during the day and 30 to 50 at night. I do have a heat lamp in the coop.
I was amazed at how the mama would pick up a speck of grain and then feed it to a chick. She found a grub worm and those chicks chased each other for 10 mins before they finally tore it apart and ate it.
When you let them out, just watch carefully to make sure there are no bullies, but Momma will let anyone know to back off if she feels they need to! My momma hen attacked my ducks when they flew into the backyard. She ran across the yard and grabbed poor Nicholas by the wing and I had to save him!
The momma will keep them warm and will stop and fluff up as soon as they run under her.
As for the roosters, mine have never tried to hurt any of the babies, but you would just want to watch very closely. Just last night I let out my smaller flock of birds and the rooster of that flock went over to the big flock's pen, called out the babies and was helping those babies scratch around! I was very surprised that he would want to take care of babies that he wasn't used to, but he did! He is not nice to people but sure takes care of his hens and babies...and other babies too I guess!
**Just as a warning and speaking from unfortunate experience, do not assume the babies will drink out of anything other than a safe screw on waterer. I assumed that if I made the water shallow enough, they wouldn't drown but the big chickens could still reach the water. Not the case, I lost 2 babies this way, it is VERY sad and upsetting.
When we raise them in the house, you get a small waterer and don't think anything of it, out side we think Momma will show them right from wrong. Not then case! Keep your babies safe with screw on waterers and marbles even though they are outside!
I let mine out after about 2 weeks. They stick right with momma and don't go too far from their pen to start with. You shouldn't have to worry about the roo unless he's just mean...mine just steps around the babies and even feeds them like he does the girls...I love my roo!