Two Broodies with Chicks Fighting, What Should I Do?

billygoat162

Songster
Apr 19, 2016
84
30
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American Southwest
I have two momma hens with chicks that are about 4-5 weeks old. They have been in a big cage with a wire divider so they could see but not touch each other. Today I let them both out at the same time for the first time, and the two hens got in a big fight when one got too close to a chick that wasn't hers (one has two buff chicks, the rest are all black or barred).

I had to break it up (it was bad), and I don't know what to do. I can't keep them locked up forever. I just expanded the roost and was going to let them integrate themselves this week.

Both momma hens beat up the alpha hen today protecting their chicks, but they don't seem to be interested in coparenting. The chicks know which hen is their mom too, as they followed their respective parents after I broke up the fight.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Moderator
BYC Staff
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Jul 16, 2015
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You may have to repeatedly let them out, let them fight for a bit than break them up. They will hopefully settle it somewhere along the way. You can also alternate which group stays out for the day. One year it took nearly 2 weeks to get a broody back in the flock because the top hen wasn't happy with her. Keep at it, breaking them up as it gets to be too much, it will eventually work out.
 

Colonel-Sanders

Chirping
Feb 24, 2017
49
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Ohio
I have two momma hens with chicks that are about 4-5 weeks old. They have been in a big cage with a wire divider so they could see but not touch each other. Today I let them both out at the same time for the first time, and the two hens got in a big fight when one got too close to a chick that wasn't hers (one has two buff chicks, the rest are all black or barred).

I had to break it up (it was bad), and I don't know what to do. I can't keep them locked up forever. I just expanded the roost and was going to let them integrate themselves this week.

Both momma hens beat up the alpha hen today protecting their chicks, but they don't seem to be interested in coparenting. The chicks know which hen is their mom too, as they followed their respective parents after I broke up the fight.
Personally, I would wait until the chicks are big enough to either defend themselves or at least run away if they get attacked. Maybe at that point the mother hens won't be so protective as their babies will have essentially grown up.
 

TheTwoRoos

Crowing
Sep 25, 2015
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May want to let it work thing out,and when thing get to bad,stop it,if they don't stop it themselves.
 

centrarchid

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Sep 19, 2009
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I spread hens out. If possible, then place one hen in a different pen at least 10 feet away. When hens released they need a little distance for behavioral mechanisms that keep them dispersed to engage. If hens too close, then they go straight to fighting if pecking order not worked out. You chicks are now past the very vulnerable period hen it comes to hen-hen conflicts.

Do not expect co-parenting to be initiated this late in the broody cycle.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Humans can get overly shocked when their chickens have a fight. It's probably because humans have an instinct about what it means when a violent fights occur in our own species. You need to understand it isn't at all the same as when chickens fight.

I only have one broody with a single chick at this moment, but she has at least one fight per day protecting her chick. It's normal. Goes with the territory.

Your two broodies are letting it be known each will brook no foolishness when it comes to her chicks. The fight is over with in seconds if you will just stand back and let it run its course. To interrupt any fight between two individuals is to prevent the resolution of conflict, forcing it to be repeated later.

When you see two of your chickens fight, try to fight the urge to intervene. It's a feature of the social order of chickens and it's how they preserve the integrity of the flock.
 

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