Safe to free range chicks with mama and roo?

caliclucker

Songster
8 Years
May 1, 2011
77
3
101
I have a mama hen with 9 chicks (3 weeks old) that have been segregated from the rest of the flock since hatching. The rest of the flock of 15 hens and one roo free range on a half acre.

When can I integrate the mama hen and chicks with the rest of the flock? I'm not worried about the flock accepting them because they see each other everyday and on occasion a chick or two has managed to escape out of their enclosure with no harassment from the flock. My concern is with crows. Do you think the mama hen and roo will be able to keep the chicks safe? If not then how old should they be before I let them out?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,300
20,167
907
Southeast Louisiana
I let my broodies range their chicks with the flock from Day 1. Mama's protective instinct will never be higher.

At what age will the chicks be totally safe? Never. There are plenty of predators that can take a full grown chicken. As far as crows, Mama may possibly have weaned the chicks and left them on their own before they are totally safe from crows.

I’ve had a hen wean her chicks at 3 weeks, though 4 to 9 weeks is more normal. You just can’t tell when her broody instincts will turn off. The earlier she has the chicks with the flock the more work she will put in integrating them. And the more time she has to teach them to survive before her broody instincts turn off.
 

Mattemma

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 12, 2009
5,314
93
291
Chickens are at risk at any age. My hawk attacked hen is finally healing.I put my chicks out under a netted run when they are 8 weeks old,but I stay close.Attacks happen fast. I don't think a roo or hen can do much when a predator snatches a chick,but will sound off the alarm once the attack occurs.Best wishes whatever you decide.
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
59,263
50,885
1,302
southern Ohio
I agree with Ridgerunner. They need to be out with Mama and the flock now. My last set of broody-raised chicks got dumped by their Mama at 3 weeks, but since they had been out with the group, they are fine now at 6 weeks old.
 

Ellaluvsbirds

Chirping
6 Years
Apr 22, 2013
169
8
71
I think that they'd be fine to free range. They are old enough. Mama will protect them from everything she can but she can't do much about the crows.
 

Iluvmallards

In the Brooder
6 Years
Mar 29, 2013
55
0
31
I have a silkie roo and 3 silkie hens together the hens hatched 6 chicks, they are 4 weeks old and the hens no longer are with the chicks, 1 is broody again and sitting on another nest of eggs, the other two hens are of doing there own thing, the chicks are with the roo and he is the one protecting them:)
 

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