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help. adding 4 mo chicks and now hatchlings

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning, I have an existing flock of mixed breeds ( 2 silver lace, 2 wyandote, 1 brown pretty no idea, and 4 RI red..and 1 big bold leghorn roo)  I have 12 buff Orp chicks, started in March that are in the run but the 2 groups don't mix.  3 weeks ago one of the silver lace went broody and we are expecting chicks today.  There is tons of room in the run and for now the BO chicks have their own coop, everyone free ranges at least 4 hrs a day, some all day.

 

So, first question:  Are the babies safe to hatch in this environment?  I heard older chickens will sometimes kill chicks.

 

I can separate the yard if the threat is just the BO's but that makes another problem...

 

Of my 12 chicks, I am thinking as many as  8 are roosters.  Don't think that's going to work much longer.  the idea is to identify roos, faten and butcher...but I cant tell who is what.  4 hens have no comb...so I was thinking the ones with comb are roos...but they don't all look alike.  I'll try to attach some photos and looking forward to your help.  Happy Fathers Day !! 

post #2 of 8
BO pullets will have combs too, so you may want to be sure before you start butchering.
post #3 of 8
Your BO chicks should be big enough to place together with your old flock, even if they aren't fans of each other. They should be fine. You may have two flocks in the same pen. I do now.
post #4 of 8
As for your expecting chicks, I'd separate them when they hatch. Some breeds do fine with new hatches in the run and others don't. Since you have such a variety, I wouldn't take the chance.
post #5 of 8
Are the babies safe to hatch in this environment? I heard older chickens will sometimes kill chicks.

Sometimes people have a fender bender on the way to the store. Sometimes a piece of space junk falls out of the sky and hits a house. Sometimes it rains. Just because something sometimes happens doesn’t mean they happen all the time to everyone. Hens have been hatching chicks and raising them with the flock since there have been chickens. You are dealing with living animals so anything can happen, you don’t get guarantees with living animals.

I regularly let my hens hatch with the flock and raise their chicks with the flock. I’ve never had another adult kill a chick. I’ve never had a mature rooster harm a chick, I have had mature roosters help Mama take care of her chicks. They are living animals, I’m sure others have had a mature rooster harm chicks, I’ve just never seen it.

Sometimes the other hens can be a threat. I’ve never had a broody hen not defend her chicks when she can get to them. Some people have. Most of the time my other hens ignore the chicks or, if a chick invades their private space, they peck it to send it running back to Mama unharmed but maybe a bit wiser. Occasionally a hen will get more aggressive, that’s when Mama kicks butt. To me, the biggest risk to a chick is when the chick gets separated form Mama, say on the other side of a fence, so Mama cannot get to it to protect it. If you do try to isolate the broody hen and her chicks, make very sure there are no holes the chicks can get through and interact with the rest of the flock while Mama helplessly watches.

Mama should very easily intimidate and keep those 4 month olds away from her chicks as long as she can get to her chick to protect it. I consider those juveniles to be more of a threat to baby chicks than your adult hens or rooster but right now I have adults, 16 week olds, 8 week olds, and a broody hen with two week old chicks roaming together without incident to the chicks. The adult rooster is starting to have to put the 16 week old cockerels in their place, so there are incidents between them, but they work those out.

It sounds like you have an environment pretty good for a hen raising chicks with the flock. You have a lot of room, which is important. You have a mature rooster which I find normally helps. If you are looking for guarantees that the chicks are in absolutely no danger, you will not get them from me. They are also in danger if you try to isolate them, especially when you integrate the hen and the chicks later. To me the hen handling integration and the chicks growing up as part of the flock outweigh any risks of a broody hen raising chicks with the flock. Others will have a different opinion.

At that age you should be able to tele the sexes apart. The cockerels will have brighter red and better developed combs and especially wattles, their legs should be longer and especially heavier, they should have a more upright posture and a male body shape, and their saddle and hackle feathers should be growing in sharp instead of rounded like the females. If you can take close-ups of certain chickens you are unsure of showing the head so we can see combs and wattles, and profile shots showing posture and legs, maybe even saddle and hackle feathers, we should be able to help you sex them at that age.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

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 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow,  Thanks for taking so much time to share so much great information.  I will work on the photo's.  I am good with animals generally but sometimes my lack of knowledge costs a chicken.  I'm learning as I go.  I think you are right that the mama can handle the other chickens.  She has a good place for them to hatch and be together.  She has 5 eggs.  Would she know not to sit if they aren't going to hatch?  I'm leaving her alone but don't see chicks and they are due.   

 

On the flockmastering side, I need to get the BO's sorted.  Don't want to feed a bunch of roos all summer.  I'll get photos tomorrow am.  I have to get them in the coop or I can't keep track.  thanks again.  

post #7 of 8
I understand about the cockerels, I have a bunch that need to start going in the freezer. They are ready.

I’ve had broody hens hatch a full two days early, some people say they have had them hatch at least three days late. That 21 day thing is a target, not something that happens every time, either in the incubator or under a broody.

Are you counting the days right? An egg does not have a day’s worth of development when you put it under the broody, it takes 24 hours for the egg to have a day’s worth of development. When you are counting you say “1” after 24 hours. That’s a real common mistake. An easy way to check your counting is the day of the week you set them is the day the 21 days are up. If you set them on a Monday, the 21 days are up on a Monday.

I’d give the eggs three full days after they are due before I did anything drastic. The hen will not know that they are never going to hatch. Broody hens cannot count, they can keep sitting for a long time before they break. After those three extra days you can try water candling the eggs. Put the eggs in a bowl of calm water. They will float after they have been incubated that long. If a chick is alive inside the egg will wiggle on its own. Just put any that wiggle back under the broody and let her finish them. If they don’t wiggle at that age there is no chick alive in there. At that point I’d toss the eggs and break the hen from being broody. Or if you can find day-old chicks give her a few of those.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/how-much-room-do-chickens-need

Reply
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Very odd.  Last night 1 of the 4 mo olds, just 1, spent the night in the older hens coop.  This morning, 2 chicks were hatched but dead.  No idea what happened.  The mother is sitting 3 others but if they aren't hatched by wed I'll take them away.  Good tip about the water.  I'll try it tomorrow.  So, I'm thinking that 1 4 mo old went and killed the 2 babie chicks.  tonight all the 4 mo olds were together in their coop so last nights behavior was totally strange.  

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