Adding chicks to the flock


In the Brooder
Jul 21, 2021
I’ve been thinking about what to do with my ISA browns when they no longer lay enough eggs. I’ve heard they’re not good meat chickens so I’ve decided to let them live on and just roam and be happy for the rest of their lives, but i’m questioning what to do if i get new chicks. do i have to do the separation route or could I plan the timeline that when they go broody (if they do) i can buy the chicks at a few days old and put them under the hen like they’re hers? would that work since they’re not eggs?


Crossing the Road
7 Years
Sep 29, 2014
New Zealand
Being a production breed it's unlikely an ISA Brown would go broody, but occasionally it can happen. A hen needs to be broody for at least 10 days (2 weeks is better) to accept chicks, otherwise her hormones are telling her she should be sitting on eggs, not catering to the needs of chicks yet. And not all hens that go broody make good mothers - some just like to sit but have no interest in looking after chicks, and occasionally some will even kill chicks as they hatch. Chicks need to be as young as possible to accept a broody mother hen and it's best to put them under her at night if you can, checking on them as early as you can the next morning to make sure she's happy with her new babies.

Otherwise chicks do need to be kept physically separated from your main flock for awhile but the more opportunities they have to see the chicks as they grow (but not touch them) the better. Then you can set it up so that the chicks can get out of their pen via little openings that the larger birds cannot fit through so that the chicks can go in and out as they please, but have a safe space to escape to if necessary.

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