When to send Mama and babies outside?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by PRUrbanFarmer, Jan 26, 2016.

  1. PRUrbanFarmer

    PRUrbanFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2015
    So I'm mostly looking for confirmation that m raising my baby chicks correctly.

    Mama and her babies are inside in my homemade brooder which is about2x3.5. And with mama in there is seems a little crammed for space. Chicks are about two weeks.

    My DH wants to reintroduce mama to the flock and leave the chicks inside until there bigger.

    I'm leaning towards leaving mama and the chicks inside for two more weeks, then moving all of them together outside. And they will have their own small coop beside our current flock. Then one or two months down the road let all babies and current flock mingle together.

    This is my first time raising baby chicks. We live in a temped climate and right now it never gets below freezing at night time, and hovers around 10*c through the day.
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    I would have had Mama hatch and tend her babies outside. Her job is to keep them warm. You don't need to do that for her. I'd suggest that you let them out, and see how it goes. If they've been inside for the past 5 weeks, you may have problems with her flock mates picking on her and the babies. Do you have a place where you can put them in the coop with a separating wire so the flock can see but not touch?
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I would put them all outside, assuming you have enough space in your coop for everyone. Momma will keep those babies warm, they're old enough to run away from the older birds if needed, and they're young enough they need to start learning some flock manners. Momma will still act like momma, so the other birds won't mess with them. If you separate them and brood them inside, you'll have to integrate the chicks with the flock at some point, with no momma to watch out for them. She's willing to do all the heavy lifting for you on this, so let her.
  4. bruceha2000

    bruceha2000 True BYC Addict Premium Member

    Apr 19, 2012
    NW Vermont
    I agree, get them outside now and do not even think about putting the hen out without them. I think you would cause both the hen and chicks a huge amount of stress both now and when you took the chicks out later. Nothing better than a hen raising chicks WITH the flock.

    I got 7 chicks from Meyer in June and stuffed them under a broody Black Australorp at 4 days old (arrived at 3 days). I made a 18" x 5' brooding pen IN the coop but my coop is a converted 10x12 horse stall so it has more room than a lot of people can provide. Still, it could have been 18" x 24" and still worked out given the hen moved them to a nest box much smaller than that and 2' off the ground (18" access perch) at 2 weeks. The only reason for 24" would be space for food and water. Chicks have NO PROBLEM flying to 2' at 2 weeks, NONE.

    The original chicken door in the coop opened into the brooding pen and I opened that in the morning after giving all the other 8 older girls their morning BOSS. I think Zorra got tired of waiting for me and that is why she moved them to the nestbox one evening. She would bring them out into the barn alley every morning and back into the brooder pen in the evening before she moved them. They were hopping up on the hanging feeder eating layer feed as often as going back into the brooder to eat chick starter by 2 weeks. Half the chick starter I bought ended up in the bin with the layer feed because they weren't eating that much of it. I don't know when they learned to use the water nipples but with Momma showing them everything they needed to know about living here both in the barn and outside, I'm sure they were introduced to the nipples or watched the older hens.

    Do NOT worry about the chicks. While Zorra is the biggest hen I have, she was NOT top of the flock but she became a fearsome protector of those chicks. Even the top of the flock Anconas were running scared. If she and the chicks were between them and where they wanted to be they would wait until they could make a mad dash behind her. Nothing got within 5' of those chicks without Zorra's OK and there were only 2 girls that were allowed to mingle.
  5. PRUrbanFarmer

    PRUrbanFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2015
    So mama and the babies can go right outside and join the flock? They've only been away from the flock for about 10 days? I do have a second coop outside mama can use with her babies if she would prefer. that is in the same run as the other chickens.
  6. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    It's actually better to reintroduce them when they are young like that because the other hens pretty much ignore them. If you wait till they are older they become chickens to be attacked and threats to the pecking order so it's not as smooth a reintroduction.

    I did have a problem though when my silkie went back at about 6ish weeks because she is the very bottom of our pecking order. They ignored the chick but took great offence to her being protective of it and standing up to everyone instead of being her normal meek mild self. I think they thought she was challenging her place in the pecking order. So we did have some arguments but they all involved mum, the bubs they still ignored.

    Just make sure you have some places the babies can run under or threw that the big ones can't get to them in case they do get the odd chase. So I would move her outside now with babies and leave her in the adjoining coop for them to get used to them again for another week and then open them up so she can go back in the other coop when she wants. I've integrated at 5 and 7 weeks know some who do it at 3 weeks. If you wait another couple of months introducing them will be like introducing new adult birds to the flock.

    Your only problem will be how warm you kept mum inside (next time just leave her in the adjoining coop to brood the ). If she's got used to it being toasty warm then colds going to take a couple days to get used to I imagine so make sure there are no drafts at night. The chicks will be fine because she is like a mobile toaster oven lol but again try and cut down any drafts or winds etc, perhaps with a tarp on the run side to make a wind break.
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2016
  7. PRUrbanFarmer

    PRUrbanFarmer Out Of The Brooder

    May 15, 2015
    Thank you everyone for the advice. The rooster was slightly curious for a moment but mama did her thing.She showed the chicks how to get in and out of the main hen house (5x7) and went straight for a dust bath. And as Appps said the other hens really don't care at all. There is a second mini hen coop (2x2) and she didnt want to go in there. So i'll keep my eye of things for the rest of the day. It never gets to being below zero here in the night anymore, and mama is a sussex so she's pretty good at staying warm.

    Best Wishes and Thank you so much!
  8. curious chickee

    curious chickee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine are always outside. They have a seperate section inside the coop, where everyone can see each other but can't reach them. At 3 weeks, they intergrate.

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