When should I let broody mama free-range with chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bawkbawkbawk, Jun 19, 2011.

  1. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    She has a 10' x 24' pen plus the coop but already seems to want me to let her and her week-old chicks out into the yard. I get the feeling she wants to show them how to forage and there aren't really any bugs to dig for in the pen.

    But they're too little to be safe out there even with Mama protecting them, right? We have crows, hawks and worse...
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I let my broody mama free range with her six chicks when they were almost a week old....

    ... and I watched a rat come from the neighbors yard and snatch a little chipmunk looking one in it's mouth and take off with it.

    Mama could do nothing to help it.

    Rat poison was placed in a safe bait tube in the area where the chick was snatched.

    All of the poison had been eaten this morning. [​IMG]

    My neighbor is going to be finding dead rats....
  3. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    So it sounds like that would be a vote for "not yet".Yikes. How sad!
  4. Cats Critters

    Cats Critters Completely Indecisive

    Honestly mine started free ranging with the flock at about 2-3 days old (10 chicks with 2 hens + about a week or so later another hen with 2 chicks) without any problems.
  5. bkreugar

    bkreugar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Asheboro NC
    I have a buff orp and a leghorn hen that hatched 5 chicks and were raising them together. I locked rm up for the first week 24/7. First day I let them out to free range I got home later than I would have liked ALL 5 chicks were gone. They then hatched out 2 more. These I locked up again for first week, but then have been very careful about getting home early enough to help them out. Now I HAD been bringing in the buff and the chicks over nite. LAST nite I went out at 8:30 to collect them. Buff leghorn AND chicks were roosting NEXT to moms. Still brought them in cuz I am now paranoid! Anyway I CAN"T beleive she got them to roost at like 10-12 days!!

    But If I had a better place to keep them in I sure would. I go check on them several times a day.
    Its buff orp the chicks and then the leghorn, and woe to whoever messes those chicks they are brutal, and yet still could not save their first clutch.

    their situation is strange to me as they were NOT friends before but now totally share responsibility for those chicks, and NO other hen can come near them or either will attack.
  6. starryhen

    starryhen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2010
    OH, well, I let mine out as soon as the mom will go out AND the # 1 barn cat has grasped the idea that they are mine and not his. My current chicks are 3 or 4 days old and the mom will go out about a foot or two from the coop for about 30 minutes at a time. I am watching them when they are out because the barn cat has not really been around when they are out so we have not had our "conversation".
  7. bawkbawkbawk

    bawkbawkbawk Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think my cats will be afraid of Mama hen - they give her a wide birth even when she's not hormonal. But that rat story made me think I should wait a good long while before letting them out. [​IMG]

    DH said he will rake some leaves into the pen so they have something to sift through , so that should help with the boredom.

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