stay with mama or put in brooder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by hungry hunter, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. hungry hunter

    hungry hunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2016
    the Heart of Texas
    I know there are a ton of these types of threads, but I haven't found one that pertains to my specific situation (but I probably haven't searched hard enough).

    Our new chicks have started hatching (BO hen x OEGB roo) and we are planning on giving the chicks to my parents so they can start their flock. They will be coming down from Missouri in a couple of weeks and will take the chicks back with them.

    So my question is: should I leave the chicks with mama for 2 weeks or keep them in a brooder?

    I know it's probably best to leave them w/ mama, but I don't have a good way to separate them from the rest of the flock. I'm also not sure what is better for the hen - take her babies away now when they are new or after 2 weeks? She is a pretty young hen and this is the first time that she has been broody/raised chicks.

    Any advice/suggestions is greatly appreciated.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    In my opinion it really doesn’t matter. Whether the chicks disappear right after hatch or two weeks later, the hen will get over it in a couple of days. The chicks will do fine either way. Since they are hatched by the hen, they will get any probiotics she has plus will start working on their immunities based on whatever the hen has, both of these are good in my opinion. This will happen whether you take them away or not.

    I have never lost a chick to another adult flock member. My hens incubate the eggs and raise their chicks with the flock. I know others have had issues, but if you read the posts on here, you can have issues if you try to separate the hen and chicks from the flock. You just don’t get guarantees with living animals no matter what you do.

    I suggest you do what is most convenient to you and that makes you the most comfortable. The chickens can handle it either way.
    1 person likes this.
  3. hungry hunter

    hungry hunter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 9, 2016
    the Heart of Texas
    Thanks Ridgerunner.
    This is our first time ever having a hen hatch chicks, so this aspect of chicken psychology is new to me.
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Yeah, it's your call. Don't worry about the broody getting upset. Most of the nurture associated with a broody raising chicks is hormonal, not emotional. When you remove the chicks from a broody hen before she's ready to quit caring for them it will cause temporary agitation when she discovers the chicks are not there any longer, but the absence of the chicks will cause her broody hormones to abate within a few short days. She will quickly return to normal.

    Do what you feel is best for you and the chicks. The chicks will do fine either way since they'll have the comfort and security of one another.
  5. Kev

    Kev Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 13, 2008
    Sun City, California
    agree it's your call.

    one thing- chicks raised by mother hens tend to be much "hardier" for outdoor life than brooder raised chicks. So if they want them to be out asap, I would suggest leaving with hen for this reason.

    Is there a reason for wanting to keep the hen? because the other option would be to have them all go together. They can all be outside at their new location upon arrival, no heating necessary. Just put in a secure coop.
    1 person likes this.
  6. JoshFig

    JoshFig Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 4, 2015
    In my experience - its safer to move them to a brooder, but it depends on a few things. The last time I had a broodie hatch chicks, I lost about 25% them by the 3rd week. In my case, I free range the chickens, so we had several get lost to predators that wouldn't bother the older chickens (small hawks, neighbors dog, etc...). Mamma hens will also reject chicks sometimes (that happened to 1).

    That said - if you have enough chicks - its a lot easier to let mamma do all the work.
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I've also never lost a chick to another flock member. Barn cats, yes. Other chickens, no.

    Plus, I'm essentially lazy. Why should I set up a brooder and do all that work when momma is more than happy to do so? Plus, I get the bonus of watching momma raise her babies, that's priceless IMO.

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