with your experience...do you seperate your chicks from the rest of the flock?
i was hoping to mix mine and mama will protect her chicks.
Just like about everything else involving chickens, you’ll find that we all do things differently. Some people separate, but a lot don’t. Hens have been raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years, so it obviously can be done. But I think one big key is space. Does Mama have enough room to work? If she has enough room to get a little separation from the flock, she should protect them and teach them to be chickens. If they are crowded into the minimum space, she may have trouble protecting them.
I have a lot of room so I let my broodies raise them with the flock. When I was growing up, we never touched a broody and her chicks. She took them off the nest and took care of them, but that was in a totally free range situation. She found them food, water, and protected them. I’ve never seen a dominant rooster threaten a chick in any way, but occasionally (not really that often) another hen might go after a chick. Mama would take great offense and teach that hen a lesson. Almost (but not always) the broody has such a bad attitude about that the others quickly learn to leave her babies alone.
Maybe this will help explain it. It is not unusual for a chick, say about 2 weeks old, to leave Mama’s protection and go eat from the feeder right next to the older hens. This is considered bad manners in chicken society for social inferiors like the chick to eat with its betters. Sometimes the hens ignore the chick, but usually before long one will peck the chick to remind it if its place in society. The chick goes running back to Mama as fast as its legs will carry it. Mama generally ignores this. The chick needs to be taught its manners. But if the hen follows the chick, Mama takes great offense.
Another key is the broody and the flock. Some hens are just better mothers than others. And some hens in the flock can be a lot more aggressive than others. I don’t know the personalities of your chickens so I can’t tell you how they will react.
I usually separate the hen and chicks for a couple of days in a special pen I have, just long enough for the chicks to learn to eat and drink without interference from the older hens. The chicks are a lot more mobile too. Then I let them loose so Mama can raise them with the flock. Dad would be surprised I coddle my chicks this way, but it’s just the way I do it.do i need to set up a low nest for mama and chicks, put out a heat lamp?
Mama has her own heat lamp that never has a power outage. She absolutely does not need a heat lamp.
I have some fairly low nests, maybe 14” to 16” above the coop floor. Usually Mama takes the chicks to a corner of the coop floor to spend the night. Occasionally one will take the chicks to one of the nests. At two days old, most can jump up to that nest, but every now and then, one does not make it. It stays under the nest making a plaintive cheep. Sometimes Mama brings the others back off the nest to spend the night on the floor, but sometimes she just sets up there. It’s a real good idea to check on the chicks the first few nights about bedtime to see what is going on. If one does not make it to the nest, you will definitely hear it.
I often provide a nest on the floor for Mama’s use if she wants it. Occasionally one will use it but usually if she does not try to get up into a regular low nest she just takes them to a corner of the coop. You really don’t know where she will want to take them.what at chick starter. how do i keep other chickens from eating it if i keep them mixed?
Chicks should not eat Layer. It has too much calcium in it and can damage their bones or internal organs. I don’t know of any way to feed Layer to the hens and keep the chicks out of it. Mama will take them to it to eat and will even pick food out of the feeder and put it on the ground for the others to eat it. Within just a few days, the chicks can get up to an elevated feeder on their own anyway.
I do not feed medicated feed. I’ve never had a need. Hens laying eggs should not eat the medicated feed. I feed them all either Starter or Grower, depending on the age of the chicks and offer oyster shell on the side. The chicks may experiment a bit with the oyster shell but will not eat enough to harm themselves. The hens that need the calcium for their shells will eat it.
I did build this to put over the feed I put out for the chicks. My adult hens prefer any food I set out especially for the chicks over food in their regular feeder even though it is the exact same stuff. I guess they think it is a treat. Birdbrains! The chicks can enter from the ends and the hen’s heads can’t get inside to the feed.