Was it too soon to introduce broody hen & her chicks?

cluckingheck

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Jun 15, 2020
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Okay, one of my pullets when broody around 34 weeks old and i let her hatch them as a sort of test run before buying hatching eggs. I was lucky enough to have a coop that has a brooder in it, so mama remained in full view of the flock the whole time even though they couldn’t touch her. It’s been a week now since the youngest chick hatched ( almost 2 since the oldest ) and I opened the door to the brooder. There was some pecking at the broody, Nelly, but she was mostly left alone and so were her chicks; even the roosters ignored them. Though, one pullet/hen, Miss Prissy, kept pecking at the chicks and Nelly wouldnt chase her off like she did some of the others. That tells me Miss Prissy is higher in the pecking order than Nelly. Should I be worried about the chicks? It wasn’t hard pecking, but enough to get the chicks cheeping and scattering. She didn’t chase them either but would walk up to them to peck at them again.
 

DobieLover

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Okay, one of my pullets when broody around 34 weeks old and i let her hatch them as a sort of test run before buying hatching eggs. I was lucky enough to have a coop that has a brooder in it, so mama remained in full view of the flock the whole time even though they couldn’t touch her. It’s been a week now since the youngest chick hatched ( almost 2 since the oldest ) and I opened the door to the brooder. There was some pecking at the broody, Nelly, but she was mostly left alone and so were her chicks; even the roosters ignored them. Though, one pullet/hen, Miss Prissy, kept pecking at the chicks and Nelly wouldnt chase her off like she did some of the others. That tells me Miss Prissy is higher in the pecking order than Nelly. Should I be worried about the chicks? It wasn’t hard pecking, but enough to get the chicks cheeping and scattering. She didn’t chase them either but would walk up to them to peck at them again.
If the pecking was a threat to the chicks, mom would have chased her off.
The other pullet is curious about the chicks.
I had the same thing happen with one of my broodies only the mother was decidedly higher ranking than the hen that pecked the chicks. She still allowed it. The chicks chirped but were fine.
 

cluckingheck

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If the pecking was a threat to the chicks, mom would have chased her off.
The other pullet is curious about the chicks.
I had the same thing happen with one of my broodies only the mother was decidedly higher ranking than the hen that pecked the chicks. She still allowed it. The chicks chirped but were fine.
Okay, that’s what it looked to me but I didn’t want to ignore it. It wasn’t a hard peck, but I didn’t want it to turn into anything else. Do you think it would be alright to keep the brooder door open from now on?
 

DobieLover

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Okay, that’s what it looked to me but I didn’t want to ignore it. It wasn’t a hard peck, but I didn’t want it to turn into anything else. Do you think it would be alright to keep the brooder door open from now on?
Yes. The mother will continue to ground nest the brood until she thinks they are ready to roost. Then she'll take them up. Do you have room for her to roost with her brood?
As for the light peck, how else would the pullet be able to investigate the chicks? As @Shadrach has written, "not all pecks are created equal".
 

Sixandahalfacres

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Feb 8, 2020
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It’s amazing - even hens that are lowest in the pecking order will defend their chicks from the highest hen in the pecking order. I have always introduced my broody hen with chicks at about a week after hatch and have never lost a chick - even though my flock is close to 50 and my Orps that I use to hatch with are always at the bottom of the pecking order when they aren’t broody.
 

TheDuckGuy

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Nov 29, 2020
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I introduced my chicks as early as 5 weeks it has been doing great for the last week since they are 6 weeks old now. I have some pretty wild birds since the hens were fighting yesterday😑
 

cluckingheck

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Jun 15, 2020
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Yes. The mother will continue to ground nest the brood until she thinks they are ready to roost. Then she'll take them up. Do you have room for her to roost with her brood?
As for the light peck, how else would the pullet be able to investigate the chicks? As @Shadrach has written, "not all pecks are created equal".
yeah, when everyone is up on the roost for the night, there’s two whole rungs that go unoccupied. she definitely has room when they are big enough to roost.

here’s when I first opened the door to the brooder

here’s them being out for a bit. its only miss prissy ( black pullet, purple leg band ) that’s doing it and sometimes it looks like she’s chasing after them
 

jaywin

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Apr 28, 2020
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It’s amazing - even hens that are lowest in the pecking order will defend their chicks from the highest hen in the pecking order. I have always introduced my broody hen with chicks at about a week after hatch and have never lost a chick - even though my flock is close to 50 and my Orps that I use to hatch with are always at the bottom of the pecking order when they aren’t broody.
Hi
Just looking through to see if anything relates to my situation and your post has made me feel better. I have a low ranking quiet hen sitting on eggs and I wanted to know if she will defend them against the others
I have 30 non of which are supposedly fierce breeds and they all do get along well without any agro.
The broody is sitting eggs in the coop with the flock but she’s in a dog crate so they can’t get to her. I open this each afternoon when all the tooing and frowing has ended for a nest box and she has food and water in the crate should she want it. I plan to leave her where she is until the chicks hatch then, as there is a big step up to the coop, I will move to a broody coop. This is in the same orchard the flock is so they will all see each other. I then thought I would open the door to the broody run area after about a week and see what happens. I’m told that if I wait too long the broodys hormones won’t be as high so she may be less likely to defend the chicks.
I am hoping there is some integration during the day and then the mamma and babies go into their own broody coop at night until she thinks they are all ok and goes back into the main coop.
There is so much info and various opinions on what is best and I want to do it as naturally as I can but keep everyone safe as well! Fingers crossed 🥚🥚🐣🐣🐥🐥❤️
 

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