When to separate momma from chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Godiva, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Godiva

    Godiva Songster

    May 17, 2007
    Her chicks are 4 1/2 weeks old. They are almost fully feathered - still some downy patches here and there. I am hearing some squawks from the chicks and it seems that Calypso is starting to distance herself a little. I am wanting to get Calypso back in with her old crew and am hoping to do that this weekend or early next week. Is it too soon? They are outside but are relatively sheltered and I also have a heat lamp on when it is cold and usually at night. I have an extended nesting box/ broody box that is loaded with wood shavings where they spend the night. What are you opinions?
  2. BantyChickMom

    BantyChickMom Songster

    Sep 25, 2007
    Henderson, NC
    If mama is trying to distance herself from them, then I'd say it's time and they will be fine.
  3. skeeter9

    skeeter9 Songster

    The chicks should be fine, but just watch the reception mama gets when you put her back in with her old crowd. I recently "weaned" a batch of chicks and when I put mama back in her usual pen, one of the other hens tried to kill her, then the others joined in and almost finished the job. I put her in her old coop at night thinking that they would all wake up in the morning and everything would be normal. Obviously this didn't work out so well. Also, this hen and chicks had been in an adjoining pen with wire between them and the hen's old flock, so they weren't exactly separated. . . I've never heard of anyone else having this problem, so hopefully it's just an isolated incident, but you might check on her frequently at first just to be sure.
  4. edster951

    edster951 Songster

    Quote:I think it depends on the hen being re-introduced. I've have three hens like this. Two were docile hens and couldn't care less about what happened to the chicks, and was relaxed being reintroduced. However the the third hen would puff up and defend her chick, not letting anyone or thing get near it. So as she threatened the pecking order by challenging the others, and she was put into her place.

    I let them out to mingle for an hour each eveing before bed time, and stand between then each night for a week, slowly letting them get closer. I let one through to scratch with the mum and chicks to watch thier reactions.

    My chicks are a week old this week and last night they had thier first "outing" and the others just ignored them.
  5. Hannah'sPlaidChickens

    Hannah'sPlaidChickens In the Brooder

    Oct 30, 2007
    I usually let my hens do most of the weaning. If I try to wean before the hen thinks its time, she usually freaks out. Of course, your hen is ovbiously trying to wean them herself, so I would say yes, it is time.
    I usually use my broody pen to do the job; by placing the chicks inside it and letting the mom outside, she can leave without the chicks following her. I used to let the hens wean the babies completely, but usually they stick to mom even after they are fully feathered out. I take the babies inside or away from the coop for a good three weeks before putting the chicks back in the coop. By then they realize that letting mom have her space isn't that bad![​IMG]
  6. CarriBrown

    CarriBrown Crowing

    A chicken tractor works well for me. I put momma and babies in the tractor inside the run, so everyone can see each other but not get to each other. Momma will start pacing, etc when she's ready to come out of the tractor. I've seen it two ways- Momma says, "SEE YA!" and takes off, never to return to the babies, or she will do her own thing but check back with the babies. When momma starts following everyone into the coop instead of waiting by the tractor door, I know it's time!
    This way seems to make the transition back into the flock a lot easier for everyone. Of course the babies are never ready for momma to leave, but that's the way it goes.

    Edited to add:
    Here is Tina with her feathered out babies. They were out with the group free ranging (with my supervision) and it went well, I think because Tina is the #1 hen.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2007
  7. Godiva

    Godiva Songster

    May 17, 2007
    Thanks folks. Well, Calypso is still snuggling with them in the colder parts of the day and at night too. I have them in a mini chicken tractor while the other chickens are in full size tractors far away. This weekend we were hoping to put the roo she used to be with and two silkie hens and her together. Right now I think it would be better to wait for her to get fully weaned from teh chicks [​IMG] because she is one devoted momma. I think I am just seeing the initial irritation. I think we will be leaving the chicks in the mini tractor and it is just Calypso that I want to reintroduce to teh others. I think I will let her be close by again for a week or so before I put her in with the others again. The four that will be together will all be 'new' with each other. The roo is VERY gentle and the silkie hens have been fine and quite gentle but you never know when they all get together. I thought if we did an overall rearrange it would be easier than just reintroducing Calypso. We are getting rid of our two silkie roos and have found a new home for our two Golden Polish ladies so I was wanting to consolidate anyhow. We'll see how it pans out...

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