When should Mama move away?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by fradytrc, Feb 3, 2016.

  1. fradytrc

    fradytrc Out Of The Brooder

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    I have a hen with 9 chicks. They are 4-5 weeks old. I moved them outside to their very own chicken coop last Saturday because the weather was going to be really nice here in NC this week. (and I had 12 more hatch out inside with my incubator) That being said....Mama Hen laid an egg yesterday...the first since she hatched these. When should I move her out of the coop back to the other adults? I would do it now if I thought the weather was going to stay nice, but now they are calling for extremely low temps next week and I'm concerned the chicks won't be warm enough without her. The "bedroom" side of the coop is wrapped in heavy plastic, but the kitchen side is open to the air. Let me know what I should do please. Thank you for any help!!!
     
  2. Chicken Egg 17

    Chicken Egg 17 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well if she is not hatching any more put her in with the others and if it gets cold you could put them back in the brooder
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Would it be possible to put a mini-coop for mum and chicks in with the adults? I do that, as it aids integration and lets mum decide when to leave her chicks to it, as well as showing them how to roost. I just find that one evening, mum is no longer using the mini-coop, but has taken her chicks to the roost.

    As you rightly point out, if she has resumed laying, she will drop being a mum extremely soon.

    Something else that may work would be to use a cardboard box with a small door cut in it, so they can cuddle inside that if they feel chilly (assuming mum has been moved), or do as Roada Red suggests.

    CT
     
  4. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Just because the mom resumes laying doesn't mean she will stop taking care of her chicks. The chicks just hang out and wait for their mom while she is in the nest box. Likely if you remove mom from her chicks before she is finished raising them, she will be stressed. I have had a mom who decided she was finished raising her chicks when they were 3 weeks old, and another who was still with her two at 24 weeks old (then I had to separate since they were cockerels), and anywhere in between.

    Chicks like to stay with their mom as long as possible, and if she is still taking care of them and not chasing them away, just let them be.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    If you have room in the coop, I agree that that's the best place for them. Mama usually integrates her chicks without hassle, and IMO, younger chicks integrate into the flock better. That being said, if your coop is small, and the chicks don't have a place where they can escape from the rest of the flock, there might be issues. Azygous has made a wonderful set up with what she calls (I think) a panic room with a little chick sized trap door. It makes integration of chicks (without a broody mama) just about seamless.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Did somebody call me? Thought I heard my name.

    You mention a dedicated coop for the chicks. Is the plan to house these new chicks separately from the main flock after the broody hen is done raising them? Are you starting a second flock with these chicks? Are they meant not to mingle with the main flock even after they grow up?

    As the others have pointed out, it's far better for mama broody and her offspring to live within sight of the main flock, allowing the chicks to be accepted into the flock. It sounds like you may already have the makings of a panic room. After a week or so of letting the flock become acquainted with the new chicks, you can let the broody go back with the flock and then open up 5 x 7 inch openings in a common partition, permitting the chicks to mingle with the adults.

    The concept of a panic room is to give the small fry a refuge from the pecking order until they're about three months old. Their food and water is inside the panic room so they don't need to compete for these things. Integration follows a very effortless course under this system, and you'll hardly be aware they're doing it. [​IMG]
     
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Azygous, you must have heard me! You've got excellent hearing, b/c I was only whispering, but I hoped you'd chime in and share your set up! Doing more babies this year???
     
  8. JanetMarie

    JanetMarie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Agree with lazy gardner and azygous, that if you plan to integrate the chicks into the main flock, they need to be with them now with their mom. In my flock momma and chicks are separated only long enough for the chicks to grow wing feathers (about a week, or less). Then they're all together with the main flock. Then when mom decides she's finished raising them, everyone is already adjusted to one another.
     
  9. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Hi, my lazy friend! I'd love to do more chicks this year, but it depends on how healthy the older crew remain. As they die off, it makes space for new chicks. That, and getting new chicks is how I resolve my sorrow at losing my old favorites.
     
  10. fradytrc

    fradytrc Out Of The Brooder

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    Central NC
    Thank you for all the responses. The way things are set up the adult chickens are all around free ranging around the coop with the chicks and the mama. I definitely want them to integrate with the flock. Mama bowed up at me yesterday when I went to hold a chick. So she still seems possessive. I think this weekend if it's warm I'll see about bringing mama out and see what happens.
     

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