When to put Momma hen back with her flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SuziQ991, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. SuziQ991

    SuziQ991 Songster

    Aug 18, 2009
    My hen hatched 4 chicks. They are 16 days old and doing very well. My question is....when does momma go back to her flock? Should I wait until I know she is done with them? I have them in a rather large brooder so that is not a problem. I just thought she would be happier back in her coop. Silly question but.....would she be upset or miss her babies if I moved her back? Is there a benefit to keeping them with the mom as long as possible? I have the brooder sectioned off and have 12 eight day olds in there. So they original 4 would have company.
    (I hope I put this in the right section. It is so hard for me to decide where to post. Of course I am not the brightest knife in the drawer)[​IMG][​IMG]
  2. SmartyChick

    SmartyChick An Official Milkmaid

    Oct 19, 2009
    Sullivan County NY
    I would put her back in the coop with the babies, but that just just me. The day after her chicks hatched, I moved my broody back into the coop with the others. Momma protected her babies well and since she was only gone 24 hours I didn't have to worry about integrating. I don't know in your case because it has been so long. Whatever you decide PLEASE don't take her babies away from her now!
  3. nursemeh

    nursemeh Songster

    Apr 16, 2009
    Conroe, Texas
    I wholeheartedly agree!!! Let momma and chicks stay with flock!

    My momma&brood have been "integrated" with the flock all along, pretty much from day 2-3. It's an amazing dynamic to observe.

    The momma hen was 2nd in the pecking order out of a flock of 4 hens. She totally dominates the 2 lower hens- they are not allowed to come anywhere near her chicks! The numero uno hen sidles up to everyone and occasionally lets a chick have a peck if it gets in her way, and the broody momma will slowly move her brood away, so she defers to the numero uno hen, but still protects her babies.

    I think the harmonious relationship they all have is due to us having a tiny flock and large space for them to roam.

    good luck and have fun- having a momma with chicklets has just made our chicken experience so much more fun- we love it!!
  4. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I think hen-raised chicks are a bit more savvy than brooder-raised chicks. So I let them stay together until Mama shows signs of wanting to leave them. Depending on the hen that could be anywhere from 4-8 weeks, some more or less. I've not seen them have any problems re-integrating with the flock. They leave me to tend their chicks for the rest of the time until they mature. I don't bother Mama hen by taking her away from the chicks before she's ready, I leave the timing up to her.

    Individual results may vary. Some Mama hens are more than capable of defending their chicks from anything on 2 or 4 legs, some adult chickens are more tolerant than others towards baby chicks. But to be safe I like to keep my chick families separated from the adult flock. I've even had older chicks that hurt or killed younger ones.

    And some flocks have more volatile pecking orders than others, and would make things more difficult for a former member to re-integrate. But my Mama hens seem to rejoin their flocks with little to no trouble at all.
  5. SuziQ991

    SuziQ991 Songster

    Aug 18, 2009
    Thanks for all the replies. I will definately keep her with her chicks. I'm not sure if I will try to put them all back in the coop or not. She is Not top hen or even 2nd or 3rd. Maybe I will try it and if things get violent I will return them to the brooder. Thanks again!
  6. WhetzelMomma

    WhetzelMomma Songster

    Sep 8, 2009
    I have a tractor for my broody hens with chicks. I haven't put this into practice, so this is PURELY an idea, but I got it from reading a lot of threads here about integrating birds into a flock, and allowing hens to raise their own chicks.

    I plan to use my tractor to allow my broody hen to sit on her nest in private. It's set up well to protect and be easily accessible to small chicks. Then, while she's raising the chicks, even though she'll be in the tractor, I'll place the tractor in the middle of our yard where the rest of the chickens free range. That way, they'll SEE the rest of the flock daily, and they won't be "new" to the flock while she's separated. When the chicks are old enough, I'll allow mom and babies out to free range with the rest of the flock. Depending on whether they roost with the flock or in the tractor, I'll lock them up accordingly at night. That's MY plan... maybe you can get some ideas from it, and see what works for your situation!

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