Reintroducing Mama and Her New Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Sunnysideupdale Farms, Jun 30, 2010.

  1. Sunnysideupdale Farms

    Sunnysideupdale Farms Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2009
    So we had a broody hen who wouldn't be broken so we did what any irrational chicken owner would do... got her some chicks. We were well prepared to raise these newbies ourselves in case the broody hen didn't take to them, but once we slipped them under her that night she was giddy as all get out to finally be a mother! We currently have her and the chicks in a ferret cage inside the henhouse of the coop resting between the lower roost and one of the nest boxes and easily seen and gawked at by the other girls at all times.

    My question is the chicks are quickly outgrowing the space and every time we let them out to roam around in the run for some leg room (while the rest are free ranging in the yard) they practically leap for joy. The chicks are now three weeks old and mother hen is still adamantly protective of them, so would it be safe to open the ferret cage at night (like, say, tonight or tomorrow) or should we wait? I mean, these newbies have been within complete view of the rest of the flock since they were brought home from the feed store so it isn't like they are totally unfamiliar with them. Also, I am not new to this chicken thing, I know there will be pecking going on, this is just the first time we've let a hen do the chick raising thing rather than us so I'm a little uncertain how exactly to go about it.
     
  2. Sunnysideupdale Farms

    Sunnysideupdale Farms Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2009
    Nobody has any advice? This makes me sad [​IMG]
     
  3. Tiramisu

    Tiramisu Got Mutts

    May 3, 2008
    Milan PA
    Im not really sure on this. Do any of the other chickens peck on the chicks when outside? I would say maybe just let them free-range everyday so the older hens get used to them and maybe close them up at night. I don't really know lol
     
  4. JROOSTER

    JROOSTER Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2010
    Louisiana
    [​IMG]

    I think most people will say slow and easy is the way. Its good you have had them in the same area all this time. Now I would let mom and babies out to free range with the other adults for the day. Do that for a few days. then you could start to let them sleep in the coop with the others without being in the brooder. This is the conservative course of action. You could change this up some put them togeather sooner like late at night then get back out there in the early am to see how they interact.

    Good luck
     
  5. Bookworm chick

    Bookworm chick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 27, 2009
    Salem County, NJ
    My mama and her chicks have been integrated with the rest of the flock for a week now and they're three weeks old. She also took them up to roost with the others on the second night. However, she is also the alpha hen in our little flock and didn't lose her pecking order position during the time she was setting the eggs or the time she was separated (but in view) in the coop. Last summer, the second top hen raised her chicks and did well. The only others she'd allow near her chicks were the alpha hen and the roo. She was really ferocious.
    Another hen I have was maybe 4th or 5th in the pecking order and when I put her and her chick in with the rest, she ignored the chick (he was 4 weeks old at the time) and didn't protect him at all. He faired well only because he was very fast.
    Just keep an eye on your mama and babies to make sure she's protective and the others respect that.
     
  6. Sunnysideupdale Farms

    Sunnysideupdale Farms Out Of The Brooder

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    May 6, 2009
    Thank you everyone. We had them all outside free ranging yesterday before the torrential July rains hit (gotta love the Pacific Northwest!) and only had one other hen attack the chicks and the mama, while the head hen and head "rooster" (aka, hen who thinks she is a rooster) were completely unconcerned about the little ones, as I can only assume they've already decided they are part of the flock or simply don't care. However, the mama is pretty low on the pecking order and so I'm sure that is part of the reason for the attack. I'm pretty sure that we'll have to take it one day at a time, letting them all free range together then putting mama and babies back into their cage in the henhouse at night. I'm hoping to have them all integrated before we leave town as I don't want our housesitter to have to deal with this!
     

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