3 hens brooding will hatch at the same time

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rooster Don, Apr 1, 2017.

  1. Rooster Don

    Rooster Don Out Of The Brooder

    I have never had more then one hen brood and have a separate pen for the hen and chicks to have till the chicks get old enough to integrate with the flock.

    I just had a hen hatch an egg, one more is pipping, and a few more should hatch.

    I have 3 hens that started sitting on eggs in the last 4 days up till today, so in under 20 days I will have 3 more hens with chicks, and don't know what I will do, except to put them all together.

    Will or should I experience issues with the three hens and chicks being together? I actually plan on putting them with the hen who just laid, so that would be 4 hens with chicks.

    Any thoughts, experiences and/or suggestions?

  2. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    In a free-range setting they can all be out together although I make so they have discrete spots on ground to sleep with chicks each evening. I like spots to be at least 10 feet apart. When my hens rear broods in field, no problems. When hens have trouble with getting in each others way, I pen the hens in pens that chicks can freely move in an out of. Chicks then run about on their on as they come into feather but go back to mother when cold and to sleep. Exceptional predator management required for latter setup otherwise hawks will clean you out.

    I have done a couple times in last year keep three hens in a 10 x 10 dog kennel where each hen was penned in her own corner and chicks where otherwise confined to the kennel by chicken wire. System worked well although all nutrition I supplied. Once chicks weaned the hens were simply removed.

    Most hens I run are games which you might think promotes more conflicts with bad consequences for chicks. American Dominique hens also have issues that can contribute to lower weaning rates of chicks when hens get into conflicts. Conflicts most problematic for younger broods.
  3. Rooster Don

    Rooster Don Out Of The Brooder

    Wow, that was awesome, thank you. I have a large free range yard that is fenced in, and mostly covered with cedar trees that keep hawks from swooping in. I have a small coop from the feed store I can use, and think I will just buy another one. Seems like that will be a good solution till they grow up.

    The last hen and her 10 plus chicks (it was a statistically improbably great hatch rate), we left with the door open one day, the chicks were quite young, too young for me to ever have risked integrating them. I got home and they were with all the adults outside just scratching and doing their thing, no issues, just occasional momma hen squabbling. But I was quite amazed that they all got along.

    I think the free range room they have had, with plenty of food, water and snacks/treats has kept competition to a minimum, and I got rid of three roosters leaving just one great protector, so I might not have the normal fighting and killing of chicks that I have read about. I guess you never know though, and better safe then sorry.

    Thank you for your comment.

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