Separating mum from chicks for a short time

Pork Pie

Flockwit
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Jan 30, 2015
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I am new to raising chicks, but i built a small "coop" for mum and her chicks. It is located in a shed, which is now a chicken coop. See photo. The chicks are only 4 days old, but i let mum out every day to feed etc. I live in Kenya so i do not have a problem with the weather being cold, and the chicks are in the shed so they are not exposed to direct sunlight. Today I have left the mum out for the past few hours. The chicks seem very happy and the mum seems content to sit / stand next to the coop. Obviously, mum will go back with the chicks this evening as they will need her warmth.

From those with experience - would continuing to do this cause any harm to the chicks? As mentioned, because the chicks can see mum and vice versa, they seem content. Any feedback welcome!
 

donrae

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Why not let the chicks out with the momma? She'll take care of them, and that way she can teach them what's good to eat, how to interact with other flock members (if you have other birds). I guess I just don't see the point in separating them.
 

gus2pp

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I would just let the chicks out with the mother. My mother hens do the best job protecting, and teaching their babies. And it is fun to watch. :)
 

Pork Pie

Flockwit
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Thanks to you all for the feedback. I separated them for a few reasons. 1. The chicks starter mash, rather than layers mash so need to be able to access that food without competing with other flock members (vice versa for the mum). 2. Some of my other chickens i have are very aggressive towards chicks (noted with my first hatch) and i am pretty sure that they would kill the chicks (and no, i am not going to put my "theory" to the test). 3. predatory threats (feral cats, hawks and monkeys, snakes - oh, and the odd mongoose).

In response to the first comment - i go to the coop every half hour or so and allow the hen access to the chicks. In the past couple of days she has happily entered the coop, but within 5 minutes she has wanted to get out, so i let her out. If she wants to stay, she stays. If i fear that if i leave the door to the coop open, some of the rather "unpleasant" hens may get in and kill the chicks. Maybe my fear is groundless. Actually, i will try leaving the door open today whilst i am with them and see how it goes.


In a week or so's time i plan to put them in a larger coop outside where they will be with mum most of the time.

If i was to let them out with their mother, how would you advise i ensure that they have sole access to the starter mash?

Thanks once again from not-so-sunny Nairobi - i sincerely appreciate you all taking the time to respond!
 

gus2pp

Songster
5 Years
Aug 20, 2014
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What I've done in the past is give the mother and chicks the starter mash in their secluded sleep space for an hour or so in the morning. Then I put it away and let them out to forage for the rest of the day. My mother hen is an awesome forager, and the baby's crops are always full when I put them to bed at night.

I also have some mean hens I have worried about getting to my babies, but my little mothers have always been vigilent, and I've never lost a chick to another chicken.

Good luck with everything! Never met anyone from Kenya. I love traveling and meeting diverse people, though. I hope everything is well in your neck of the woods!
 
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Pork Pie

Flockwit
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
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Thanks for the input - much appreciated. Feedback from yourself and others have allayed my fears about the other hens attacking the chicks. I think that due to the predator and access to feed issues i will continue as i planned for the time being.
Alas, i am not African (just a "cousin from across the pond" - assuming you are from the States) but i have lived here for more than 16 years.

thanks once again!
 

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