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#89610 - 06/04/10 04:23 PM New Mother Hen and Chicks
Margret Offline
New Egg

Registered: 06/04/10
Posts: 4
Loc: Michigan
We are raising chicks for the first time. Our bantam hen just hatched nine, and we are wondering how long we should keep them in an enclosure away from our other chickens. Also, how long will she want to "mother" her babies? They are in a pen about 3'x4' now, which is partly fencing and partly enclosed. We live very close to the woods and are afraid of predators taking the chicks if we let them out before they are big enough to look out for themselves. Any advice would be appreciated.

#89612 - 06/04/10 05:40 PM Re: New Mother Hen and Chicks [Re: Margret]
CJR Offline
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8499
Loc: Montana
Chicks can never "take care of themselves," so any risk of predators must be faced! If you have enough room (it still depends upon numbers, ages, and temperament of the rest of your flock), the hen will do her best to protect her chicks when they joint the flock. But she cannot count and chicks do not mind their mothers to stay close, so the larger they are, the safer they will be.

Some hens wean their chicks by pecking them away at 5-6 weeks, but some hens will keep mothering even after starting to lay again. So you must keep an eye on them--no one can say for sure! The small pen for nine chicks may cause the mother to wean her chicks early. If you can fix a roost in the pen, it will help give them extra space and exercise to fly up, so they will not be so easily annoyed by one another and will be better prepared to fend for themselves when weaned.

It is lots of enjoyment and a learning experience, but each hatch can be a little different. I hope your experience will be a GOOD one. CJR


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