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putting hens with chicks together

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I have a hen who hatched out 4 chicks last weekend, and they are in an 8 x 10 enclosure that is within the fenced yard.  So they are separated from the main flock, but everyone can interact through the fence.  Mom is a great mom with these chicks.

I have a second broody who is a game hen that I rescued just over a week ago (she was abandoned when her owner moved) that is sitting on eggs in a separate enclosure within the main chicken coop.  I put the eggs under her last weekend, so they will hatch in 2 weeks.

My question is this:  I would like to bring broody 2 with her newly hatched chicks into the 8 x 10' enclosure and give them their own little house when these chicks hatch.  So each hen/chicks would have their own house to go to at night, but would share the enclosure.  The chicks would be 3 weeks apart in age.

So I'm wondering if anyone's done this, and if the hens would tolerate this.  Neither hen has ever seen the other...they do NOT know each other.  I'm thinking that this would be a great way to integrate the chicks, and also an easier way to integrate the group into the flock.  They would have plenty of room in the enclosure to grow till they're all big enough to meet the others in my flock.  In fact, there will be more chicks than adults by far.  But I have no idea how the 2 hens would react to each other and I don't want to put anyone in danger. 

There is plenty of room for the hen w/ chicks in the coup for them to grow till they're several weeks old.  But what I like about the ones that are outside is that mamma has taught them to forage since the very start and they are really tough, smart little chicks.  In the coop there is only pine shavings, and they don't get sunshine or have to come out of the rain or anything.  If need be, I can make a second enclosure outside for the new group, but thought I'd ask the question.  I appreciate any input from you more experienced folks.

Various hens, a hand-full of pullets, a bunch of new chicks, 2 big size roos, and my sweetheart - the Serama roo.  Oh, and I can't forget Roman, my dog!
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Various hens, a hand-full of pullets, a bunch of new chicks, 2 big size roos, and my sweetheart - the Serama roo.  Oh, and I can't forget Roman, my dog!
Reply
post #2 of 3

When two different broodies have chicks at the same time, many different things can happen.  Sometimes the broodies totally ignore each other and just take care of their own chicks.  Sometimes they work together and raise them together, even if there is a difference in the chicks ages.  Sometimes one hen decides she needs to mother all the chicks and tries to take them away from the other hen.  Of course, this can lead to serious fighting.  Sometimes one hen will try to kill the other hen's chicks as competitors to her own.  Sometimes the older chicks pick on the younger chicks, which can stir a broody's protective reaction, which can stir the other broody's protective reaction.  But I'll admit, I have often seen a broody totally ignore another chicken pecking one of her babies when that baby was encroaching on the older chicken's personal space.  They have to learn the pecking order and not to encroach on another chickens pecking order rights.  It gets complicated. 

I cannot tell you what will happen with yours.  Many people have broodies raising chicks together and never have problems.  I do think that them having plenty of room so they don't keep bumping into each other helps, but there are no guarantees.  They are living animals and anything can happen, sometimes good and sometimes bad. 

My methods are different than yours.  Personally, I would let the hen with the older chicks out to mix with the other adults, having them sleep in the same coop, not just range together.  Do this early enough that the broody gets used to taking her chicks into the main coop at night instead of back to the enclosure.  Mama will probably have them sleep on the floor initially, maybe in a nest, but she will soon have them roosting.  I'd put the other hen with her chicks in the enclosure away from the others.  I'd probably keep them separated for a week or two before I let them out.  You could keep them in there until the other hen weans her chicks of you want to, but I'd probably try letting them out at the same time.  They could sleep in that enclosure for a while.  I think that would be best.  Sounds like you have set it up with enough flexibility where you have a few options.

Good luck however you decide.  I think you will be OK.

Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

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

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Freedom is not the right to do what we want, but what we ought....Abraham Lincoln (Freedom carries responsibility)

The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right.....Judge Learned Hand  (The more sure your are that your way is the only right way, the more likely you are wrong.)

 

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

Reply
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your input.  It's good advise.  I need to let the chicks get bigger before I let them into the main yard because they'll get through the livestock fence at this size.  But I built a new pen today so I'll have a separate place for the new batch...and as soon as the older ones get big enough I'll let them out to mingle.  Never hurts to have plenty of options...

Various hens, a hand-full of pullets, a bunch of new chicks, 2 big size roos, and my sweetheart - the Serama roo.  Oh, and I can't forget Roman, my dog!
Reply
Various hens, a hand-full of pullets, a bunch of new chicks, 2 big size roos, and my sweetheart - the Serama roo.  Oh, and I can't forget Roman, my dog!
Reply
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