Reuniting mother hen to the rest of the flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by kimchick621, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 23, 2012
    I have a very small flock (seriously, it's the three ladies you see to your left. Momma hen went broody a few months ago and hatched one single egg on her own. This chick is now 3 weeks old, and I'm trying to reintroduce momma hen and her chick to my other two ladies. Today it went horribly. It was in the yard, while my other two were free ranging, and momma went after one of the hens, ripped one of her own toe nails off in the process and was bleeding briefly. I know the other chickens just ran off and didn't put up a fight at all. I was honestly shocked when I saw blood, and only momma was injured.

    We have a fenced in run where the chickens are mostly, and my 3 girls have led a very peaceful life up until now. Some sources say just throw them in together and they'll duke it out and their pecking order will be established, but momma was the top lady, and I don't think the other two gals want to really fight her on that.

    Next weekend we were planning on expanding the run so the girls can have some space from each other, but I was going to just put them in there together and hope they'll work it out. Is this a good plan? I also have chicks in the brooder that momma didn't take, and I plan on introducing them into the flock in a couple more weeks once they feather out. Whew, this has been more trouble than I thought it'd be.
     
  2. jtbrown

    jtbrown Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 30, 2011
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    Can you make it so that all the birds can see one and other without actually being together?

    I had to integrate my moms back in with the flock, but we had many more chickens than you, and more that we were introducing that I had brooded, too.

    I know that my moms were absolutely crazy protective of their chicks for quite some time. (funny too, because the moms are bantums and the babies were RIR, Jersey Giant and Light Brahma -- so it didn't take long til mom was dwarfed but still bossing around the rest of the flock around her GIANT babies). But it all worked out, but those moms could be ruthless until everyone else left them alone.

    I really recommend keep them together but separated, let everyone get used to each other. From what I understand, the smaller the flock, the harder the integration can be sometimes (doesn't mean impossible), but more individual personalities show through. My experience is based on this spring's events, so I am sure there are some more experienced folks who could chime in, good luck.
     
  3. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 23, 2012
    I'm sure I can. We can just add the extra space, with out taking down the existing fencing in the run. How long do you think I should keep them next to each other before we remove the lining between them? Well, maybe I'll have the small space for momma and baby, and then toss those two with my two hens, and leave it for the chicks in the incubator.

    I still need to expand the run. It was small because we only had the three girls. My flock will have 7 once I'm finished adding everyone in.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts. This is something that is doable. :)
     
  4. GardenSimply

    GardenSimply Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 14, 2012
    Oklahoma, US
    Hi :) We have done this more than a few times. And have found the advice above an excellent choice. We have almost thirty chickens, all ranges of age, three breeds. Every time we do this, the variables change and it is a new and not always wonderful experience. We had one mother that was the sweetest of all the hens, but after she hatched one single chick, she was meaner than, well, a junkyard dog...

    She was around mid-range in terms of age and place in the group, but after we let her out of the broody box (about the third week after hatching) to roam free on a couple of acres, she was relentless. If anyone (human, dog, chicken, goose, or guinea) got within 20 feet of her, she puffed out and shot at you like an arrow. I have never seen a mother hen get back to a chick as fast as she could. After the third night of putting them back to roost in the broody pen, I found her in the big coop on the top row with that chick. We have four rungs for roosting, about eight feet long. There is one single barred rock rooster and three other hens always on the top. She was usually on the third row down, but I guess motherhood became her ;) I reached for the chick, after dark, it was the first time I had tried to get close and the chick herself pecked the crap out of my hand. It surprised me, none of our other chicks were ever so aggressive. It was comical. She was sort of the exception to the rule, but stuck out in my mind when I read your post.

    I have found other hens to be far more aggressive to chicks than any one of our three roosters... they usually just scout around and steer clear of mommas. If she was your lead hen and wants to stay that way, she will. If she wants to hurt herself proving it, even to no one but herself, she will. But it usually doesn't take too long for all the posturing to calm down.

    I wish you the best with your chickens!
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
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  5. kimchick621

    kimchick621 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 23, 2012
    Thank you so much for your reply. I'm so worried about putting everyone back together, and this helps ease my mind tremendously. Saturday we'll be putting up the extra run, and putting her and her baby in it. It will stay separate for at least a week or two, or until I see everyone calming down.

    Thanks for the peace of mind. :)
     

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