when can baby run with the big chickens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by conroy, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. conroy

    conroy Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    Our EE brooded one baby.. we had 4 eggs but... so the other day, when baby was 1 day old, the hen brought her around all the other chickens... I picked her and the hen up and put them back in the nesting box.... my question is when is it ok to let the hen bring her out with the bigger hens? Some of the other hens were very protective of the baby but she was so tiny I was worried about someone stepping on her....
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2010
  2. KellyHM

    KellyHM Crowing

    Sep 10, 2008
    Lakeland, FL
    Some people keep them separated until they're 1/2 grown or so. I personally leave the broodies with the flock and let them take the babies out and about whenever they want to. I've never had a problem with them getting stepped on and the whole flock generally looks out for them or at least doesn't pay any attention to them.
  3. conroy

    conroy Songster

    Oct 10, 2008
    KK thanks... so I won't freak out if she gets ou again
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I would let her with the flock too, the mother will keep a pretty close eye on her, and while she might get a thump or two, she will learn to stick to mother, and a good broody hen will put the fear of the righteous in the other hens. Sometimes the mama hen will step on them, and they peep a bit, but do ok. Especially when mama has caught a grasshopper for the little one!

    My other hens and rooster, do not seem to even notice my chicks, and I have 11 of them, with two mama's. They share the duty. Working very well for me, I am glad that I did not separate them from the flock. I have seen many reintroduction issues poster here.

  5. amysflock

    amysflock Songster

    May 8, 2008
    Tenino, WA
    Glad I found this thread!

    My EE cross hen hatched 4 mixed breed chicks in mid-July. I have the little family in a separate pen, away from the rest of the flock (1 roo - daddy - and 6 other hens). There are 5 days between the oldest and youngest chick, so the youngest isn't fully feathered yet...has little "angel wings", no tail feathers, and pretty much no back feathers yet. So, two questions:

    1) Can I put the 4 chicks and Mama back in with the flock at this point?

    2) If so, what provisions do I need to give the babes a place to sleep (roosts and nest boxes are up pretty high, 18 inches or more) and keep their chick feed safe? Will Mama continue to sleep on the ground and sit on them to keep them warm, or will she leave 'em at night and roost with the big chickens?

    Thanks so much! I have to say, between hatching/brooding artificially and letting a hen hatch and brood, the latter is much easier/more enjoyable/fun to watch! I love nothing more than seeing those little heads sticking out from beneath Mama's wings or but (or chest) first thing in the morning!
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2010
  6. MooseHillFarm

    MooseHillFarm Songster

    Jan 23, 2008
    The first time my buff orp hatched a chick in the coop I let her raise it and all was well. The next hatch, I let chicks stay with 2 mamas and we had problems. The chicks wouldn't go back in the coop with mamas one night, it got cool and they died in the yard.

    So this summers hatch went like this. Day 1, babies under mamas in nesting box. Day 2, mama has babies on floor of the coop. Day 3, mama has them outside free ranging. The evening of Day 3, I scooped up the chicks and put them in a brooder inside. Another thing to consider is you want to keep your chicks starter food separate from the adult flock. I just bought a used wire rabbit cage for next year. I'll put in on the floor of the coop, so when I have a broody hen I can keep her there, away from the nesting boxes. When chicks arrive, I can keep chick starter in the cage where adults can't get at it. I much more enjoy watching mama do the raising!
  7. serendipityfarm

    serendipityfarm Songster

    Mar 28, 2010
    This is just the topic I was hoping to discuss!
    I have a mama Silkie & one 10 day old chick. The chick hatched and was raised primarily in a cage in the coop with the rest of my young flock. I have closed the pop door and let them have the run of the coop for exercise, and they have had 2 super-supervised outings in the run with the others. Today they have been out for 4-5 hours semi-supervised. (I have been weding in the yard so staying nearby and keeping an eye on them but more from afar) Everything appears to be going well. I threw a bunch of weeds in and everybody is going about their business like one big happy family. Chick stays mostly with mom & I have not noticed any really aggressive behavior toward her. My question is this:
    When I put them back in, is it probably safe to keep mom & baby in with the flock, or should I return them to the cage inside the coop? And since they all seem to be "getting along" can I expect that they can stay part of the flock unsupervised from now on, or is it likely that one of the others may get aggressive and hurt the chick still? I am assuming that once they are accepted as part of the flock, they should be OK, but would love some reassurance!

    Thanks! And good luck to all the otherosters and their little ones! SOOOOO much fun to watch! (And so much less work when you have a mama to do it for you! [​IMG] )


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