Adding a Hen to a flock of chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by montyhp, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. montyhp

    montyhp Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 4, 2008
    South Texas
    Maybe a little different twist on the adding a hen question

    I mentioned to a friend of mine that I have 11 - 2 week old chicks (barred rocks) and 4 roosters that came as warming chicks with the order. He said he would trade me a full grown hen for one of the roosters. He can have them all if he wants, I am just going to grown them out and put them in the freezer.

    My question is about adding a full grown hen (also a barred rock) to my current flock of chicks. I am in south TX so the weather is not too bitter, so I guess I could just put the new girl out in the coop. She would be alone, though for 3-4 more weeks until the current flock feathers out. Would she adopt 2 week old chicks and help keep them warm? I could move the whole flock but I worry about the chicks getting cold. Another option is to move the chicken tractor into the garage and put the hen in with them (with a heat lamp).

    I am fairly new to this. I would appreciate any advice.

    Near San Antonio
  2. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    You will need to wait until your new babies are close in size to your hen. Which will be when they are about 3-4 months.

    Your sweet hen will not adopt them. She may even kill them. She won't like the idea of sharing a food dish with them either. I had to have my pens a few inches apart so they wouldn't peck each other through the wires. My adult hen bloodied my little roosters combs.

    You can have them near each other after the biosecurity time is up. So that they'll get used to each other.

    You might see if you can get a second hen from him or from somewhere so that she has a friend that is her age. THey are social animals and really like having someone to be with.
  3. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Adding a full grown hen to small chicks may not work out so well unless this hen is a broody.How big are your chicks?
    If she was broody it is possible that she would adopt them and keep them warm,but you won't really know unless you try it,an if she doesn't,you could risk loosing your chicks.I wouldn't try to introduce chicks to an adult hen until the chicks can take up for themselves unlass she has been sitting on some eggs for a while.
  4. MariposaMama

    MariposaMama Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 31, 2008
    Mariposa, CA
    I'll tell you my story so you can see the other possibility. [​IMG]

    On the same day that I was expecting my shipment of day old chicks, I discovered that something had killed two of my three 12 week olds. Since the coop obviously wasn't secure and we didn't want to leave the survivor in there alone all night, we started bringing her into the garage where she spent the night sleeping on top of the brooder box full of the 20 day olds.

    That lasted for two weeks, until hubby built a secure coop for everyone. Then, I moved the brooder box into the coop and Vanilla spent another two weeks sleeping on top of the box at night. When I decided the box was getting too small, I partitioned off a section of the coop and let the chicks have some room to move. I tried to keep Vanilla out just in case, but the very next morning I went out to open the coop and found that Vanilla had breached my partition and spent the night sleeping with the chicks. I took the partition down and they have all lived happily together since (the chicks are 13 weeks now).

    So, even though it might not be common, integrating them can be done. I think Vanilla decided that the chicks made better company than targets. Your hen might do the same, you'll just have to watch her to see her reaction.
  5. montyhp

    montyhp Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 4, 2008
    South Texas
    Thanks to all for the responses. I think the best idea is to ask for 2 hens (maybe temporarily) and keep them in the coop outside for the next few weeks. That gives me a quarantine time and allows the chicks to mature.

    The other option is just to trade the roo for a couple dozen eggs.

  6. swtangel321

    swtangel321 ~Crazy Egg Lady~

    Jul 11, 2008
    I agree ask for 2 hens even if you have to give him $5-$10 that way she has a friend in till the babies can come out and play !!

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