When can I take chicks from momma?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by babsh, May 4, 2009.

  1. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
    Minnesota
    without them (or her) freaking out?

    I have 4 day old chicks being raised by a hen. I plan to sell them, but don't have the heart to do it right now, as anytime I pick one up it gets very upset. And the one time momma was separated from them, she freaked out.

    I know that she will begin to ignore them at some point. When is that? At what point will it be easier? And, can the momma count? If I take one or two when she's not looking, will she know?

    Thanks. Barb
     
  2. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    I have never taken biddies from their mother, but I know my mama hens started leaving their babies at about 3 weeks to go foraging on their own. And about the same time, they stopped sleeping on the floor with the babies and started roosting with the other chickens. If I wanted to remove the biddies at a time when it would be less traumatic for the mamas , 3 weeks would have probably been a good time.

    Hope that helps,
    Penny
     
  3. Hobbley_Farm

    Hobbley_Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Pilot Mountain, NC
    I think you can take them away at any time as long as you have a brooder set up to keep them warm. They will need to be in a brooder for a while if you take them away. She (mama) provides all the heat and security they need for right now. If you aren't in a pinch to sell them right away, just keep them with her if they are safe. Older chicks often command a higher price, also.
     
  4. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I know that I *can* take them away right now. But I would like to do it at a time that it won't upset the babies or the mother. The babies go nuts when they can't see mom, and vice versa. If I knew there was a time when they naturally separate anyway, then I will wait until then. And I'm trying to figure out if the mom will even know if I've taken a chick, if she doesn't actually see it happen?
     
  5. Hobbley_Farm

    Hobbley_Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well...I'm not really sure about a time that they are (for lack of a better term) weened from their mother. It's probably around the 3 month stage or better, I suppose. In which case they would become less babies to the mama and more flock mates. You may still find that they rush to her a fair bit even at that age as they would value her above them on the pecking order.
     
  6. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    babsh - if you take one from her when she's not looking, she probably won't miss it too much and just focus on the other 3. Wait a day or so, and take another. But I probably wouldn't take the last one or two until about the 3 week mark if you don't want to upset her too much. I'm guessing you have a few others in the flock? At 3 weeks, my mama hens sorta re-joined the flock, for the most part. They still hung out with the "babies" from time to time, but mostly they started getting on with their lives. Yours may be different, but I'm guessing when the chicks are 3 - 4 weeks old, you can remove the babies without her freaking out too much - especially if she doesn't see it. My mamas started laying again when the babies were right at 4 weeks old.

    Some people take the chicks the day they are born and raise them in a brooder. I'm kind of like you - I'd really hate to do that to the poor mama that wanted babies so badly she practically starved herself to death waiting on them to hatch. I really think at 3 - 4 weeks, she'll be fine with no babies. Mine even pecked their own babies when they tried to join them on the roost at that age!

    Hope that helps,
    Penny
     
  7. babsh

    babsh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 30, 2008
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    Quote:It does, thanks!

    I have a woman that wants to buy them and probably thinks I'm nuts when I called her today and told her she couldn't have them yet. But she surprised me and said she understood and would wait.

    It really helps to know I can "sneak" them away. We plan on keeping one for ourselves to add to our flock (of 9), so she will have at least one or two to 'mother' for awhile.

    Thanks everyone for your help.
     

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