When to put mother & chick back into the flock??????


In the Brooder
10 Years
Apr 19, 2009
My broody bantam was hoggin the nest and stealing the other hens eggs, so I isolated her with one egg. She's hatched the egg and the chick is 2 weeks old. When should I put her back into the flock, and when will she start to lay again????
My broody hatched 5, I had her separated by chicken wire for three weeks. Then made it so the chicks can get in the wired area to eat a drink but the larger hens can't get in there. No one has bugged the chicks but they have seen them since day one through the chicken wire.
I also had a bantam that hatched a single chick (the second egg wasn't fertile). She was a first-timer but wasn't very good at it. We let the mama and chick back with the rest of the flock when the chick was 4 weeks old. The mother basically ignored the chick once she was back with the others. The chick had the sense to stay close to her and follow her around though. The first night back in the coop the mama flew up over the door to roost and left the chick to sleep alone. Thankfully the weather was mild. Long story short, the chick thrived and survived quite well. He's obviously low on the totem pole, but he is fast and can get out of the way of the hens when they move in his direction.
I have two more babies, just hatched yesterday. However, this mother is VERY protective. This is also her first time, but the difference is night and day.
My hen who hatched chicks May 1 kicked hers "out of the nest" a few days ago and has laid eggs the last few days. My other two hens have chicks that are a little less than a week younger and they're still taking care of their chicks and not laying.

I had each hen separate because I was worried about hen fights. Now I not only have to have the hens separate, but I have to keep the hen who's laying separate, too. I broke up a fight between that hen and one of the mothering hens this morning even though they were free ranging and had a whole big yard to stay away from each other in. Aaargh.
I'm also doing this for the first time, with a couple of chicks hatched on May 31. They are living in a separate but adjacent part of the coop, and I have been letting the mama and chicks out into the (really big) run with the rest of the flock for short periods of time (like 15-20 minutes) a couple of times a day - I stay there and supervise. I've done this for the past 3 or 4 days, and my 25 other hens now essentially ignore the chicks altogether, seem to just accept them as part of the flock. I'm going to keep them in separate space for at least several more weeks, but I'm just playing it by ear and it's going surprisingly well.
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