Raising chicks in the main coop with the flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Mixed Pen, Dec 16, 2014.

  1. Mixed Pen

    Mixed Pen Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 17, 2013
    AUSTRALIA
    Hi all
    I had a lot of trouble with relocating brooding hens, when it was suggested to me to raise them in the pen with all the other birds, which all was going well however every few days a chick goes missing or i find one dead at the hen house door, is this normal for in pen hatching???
    thanks
     
  2. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    No, it is not. You should move the family into their own pen. Reintroduce when they are about the size of the rest of the chickens.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    It's not normal at all. I raise chicks in the flock all the time and don't lose any. You need to get them to a secure place and try to figure out if it's the flock hurting them or a predator.
     
  4. goldfinches

    goldfinches Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you have cats or are there stray cats nearby? I've had stray cats take one baby a day, kept happening until I set a live trap baited with tuna fish ;)
     
  5. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    Yep, if a cat can get near your chicks, they will be dinner. A cat can be incredibly patient until a moma chicken lets down her guard.
     
  6. Free Feather

    Free Feather Chillin' With My Peeps

    All of my chicks have been raised around our cat, even unsupervised. She is used to us having odd things running around. I have another kitten now with my silkie chicks all day. She does not bother them. I make sure to only catch them if I need to when she is not looking. I am afraid she would follow my example if she saw me doing it. Just depends on the cat.
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I've had barn cats all my life and never lost a chick to one----until this year. I've lost track of how many I lost to the darn cats. Once they got the taste, it was all over. I was thisclose to having honey thin the cat population, but then again the reason I have them is to kill small critters---can't really fault them for just doing their job. Took a while to cat-proof the grow-out pen but either I got it or the chicks got too old, we'll see next year.
     
  8. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    This year I finally hen hatched a clutch. I had the hen in a brooder that was up high in the coop with the hens.

    4 Hatched

    1 died on day two when it fell to it's death. [​IMG] So I reinforced the brooder.

    At 2 weeks I moved them to the the bottom inside a protected area where everyone could see each other, but not touch the mother and chicks.

    2 days later I released into the general population after reading in my books that many folks free range them from day one!

    Everyone was getting along. The momma was doing great. She started taking them out into the range and it was adorable. Then one afternoon when I went to check in, one was gone without a trace! The mother then began keeping the two remaining chicks indoors all the time with infrequent trips out to eat and drink. (I think it was a hawk)

    Tuesday night I went out just at dark to check the security of the yard when I heard a commotion in the hen house. Upon arrival I found my prized rooster dead, his body warm as if he had just died with no signs of attack on his body which I thoroughly examined! He had been co parenting with her, so to speak, and the chicks slept under him at night with her next to him.

    Now today and yesterday I noticed that she seems to have moved on. The chicks are almost completely feathered, but still seem to need her. Just a few days ago she was still feeding them?

    Does this seem normal? She seemed so involved. Could she be upset by the loss of her Roo? Should I worry about the chicks?
     
  9. Lady of McCamley

    Lady of McCamley Overrun With Chickens

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    The predator issue may have rattled momma to the point she is abandoning her chicks, although most mommas simply tend to their chicks more intently, which she seemed to be doing, but stress can cause a mother to do odd things. SOMETHING obviously killed your rooster and she MAY be concerned about that...but more likely she simply felt they were old enough....I lost count of how old your chicks are...3 weeks? Maybe 4?

    Yes, it can be normal for fledging to happen rather quickly, and the babies do look lost at first. As long as they are well feathered, they should be fine if they have a nice warm coop and each other to snuggle with. (I'd be more concerned with what is getting my birds.)

    When momma is done depends upon the hen. Usually anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks, but it varies with hen. Often you will see them teach the chicks to roost, and then you know the end is in sight. However, some mommas don't really know when to "cut the apron strings." My Silkie would mother until they were larger than she was! Still trying to keep them warm under her outstretched wings (which was pretty hard to do when they were 10 weeks of age).

    It is unusual for them to sleep under the rooster though...usually a rooster is more of a nuisance to the process than a help...but special roosters can be good daddies. What a shame to have lost such a fine fellow and good daddy. [​IMG]

    BTW: You probably aren't getting too much response as this is buried in another poster's thread...you've probably figured out you should have started a new thread.

    Good to see a fellow Oregonian on BYC. :D
    Lady of McCamley
     
  10. Heron's Nest Farm

    Heron's Nest Farm Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    No, I did not realize I had posted in another post. Thanks for the education!

    She is back to mothering them. They are roosting a bit and I guess I am more sad that it is coming to an end. They are mostly feathered.

    Thanks to those of you who have responded with your seasoned advice. It has connected the dots for me and confirmed what I have suspected.
     

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