When should I separate hen from chicks? I'm going away for a couple of weeks and I'm worried she tur

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chameleon, Jan 28, 2017.

  1. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sorry, I know this question is asked a lot, but everything I've read recomends leaving the hen with her babies until she rejects them herself. I would love to do that, but she's a real meanie and when she does decide she's done with them I'm pretty sure she'll kill them if I don't separate them. The chicks will be just over 4 weeks old when I leave, and almost 6 weeks old when I get back. My neighbours will be keeping an eye on them, but they work full time so they can only check in on them in the evenings.

    What are the chances that she'll reject the chicks before 6 weeks? Would it be safer to separate them before I leave? The weather here is fairly warm at the moment, so if I do separate them I'd like to do it at around 3 weeks to give them all a chance to adjust under supervision and be sure they're ok before I leave.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Has she raised chicks before? You say "mean" but is that towards other flock members, or chicks? Personally, I'd leave them with her until she decides enough is enough. The chicks will soon get the message that she has decided they no longer need her care. Providing you have sufficient run space and hiding places / multiple feed stations, I would think that they should be ok. I've never had a broody hen attack her chicks - peck them when she's had enough, yes, but not attack them. You will also have to re-integrate the chicks into the flock if you remove them.

    Having said this, listen to advice / suggestions, but go with what you gut tells you.
     
  3. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    The hen belongs to my neighbour and will go when she's done raising the chicks so it will just be them, there is not flock they need to be integrated with. She is mean to her previous chicks that are around 14 weeks old now. They're big enough to get away from her but they're terrified and hide in the coop all day. She pecked the roo that his comb and wattles were bleeding. She's never raised her own chick before because she's free range and they alway die after a day or two, this is the first batch she raising herself because I moved her into a protected run.
    It's about 4x2 meters and there'll be no-one to let them out to free range while I'm away. It'll be her and 6 chicks in there for a week and a half.
     
  4. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mine left her chicks around 5 weeks or so. If they are not fully feathered and u do decide to give back the mama hen then you will still need to provide some sort of heat for them.
     
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    If you can create spaces where the chicks can get out of the way of the hen, it should work - kind of a panic room
     
  6. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Maybe if I rearrange it a bit so they have some new things to keep them busy and a few hiding places for the chicks like you said? Then they don't feel too bored or crowded. There is also a 1x2 meter raised coop inside the run.
     
  7. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Should do the trick. If you could put a divider in the run, with food and water, raised about 5 cm off the ground (so the chicks can access it, but the mother can't) then I'd say you were home and dry.
     
  8. chameleon

    chameleon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for all the suggestions. This is my first experience with keeping chickens that aren't all the same age and it's more complicated than I anticipated. I'll keep her with her chicks then and see how it goes. I'm always around so usually I don't worry too much, I just adapt to the weather and the mood of the chickens as I go along, but this is the first time I'm leaving them alone and I'm probably just being paranoid [​IMG]

    I've already found a new home for the two 14 week old chickens as I can't leave them cowering on the roof of the coop for a week and a half.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Leave the broody hen with her chicks until you see them becoming independent of her. It's often a mutual agreement, and each goes their separate way, usually in a gradual manner.

    Chicks from three to ten weeks have a strong instinct to flee to high perches when they feel the need. By supplying numerous perches, or old chairs and maybe a table, you won't need to worry about any chicks getting hurt. They're extremely fast and able to evade a bully adult.
     

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