advice for a 1st timer!!

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by easton coop, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. easton coop

    easton coop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 5, 2010
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    I'm planing on hatching some eggs this spring with one of my broody hens. It's the first time for us both! I plan to build an outdoor fully enclosed run with a rabbit hutch for starting things off. The hutch is 4ftx1.5ft and the run will be 2mx1.5m. I plan on getting 6 eggs of which probably not all will hatch. I will introduce them into the flock at 5/6 months old. I don't expect to start this until the weather warms up in spring. All will be bantams, probably 3x Wellsomer and 3x Araucana.

    my questions are;

    will this be enough room for 6 month's if all 6 eggs hatch?

    will it be OK to hatch and raise in the hutch?

    Is there anything else I should consider?

    I'm very excited about this and can't wait for the weather to warm up!!!!
     
  2. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Any particular reason why you would wait 6 months to introduce chicks to the rest of the flock? If you do it carefully, and depending on the size of the chicks, you can do it at anything from probably 10 weeks on. Just asking, cause IMO your run sounds a bit on the small side even for bantams if you were planning on keeping birds in it for 6 months. If it was for just a couple of months though, it would probably be fine. I don't know anything about hatching with broodies so can't give you any more advice. Hope it all goes well!
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, it is usually recommended to wait til the new ones are the same size as the rest so I understand waiting several months. No, I would not keep more than 2 bantams in that size enclosure for 6 months.
     
  4. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gosh, I didn't know that! I usually put mine out in the main coop - but separated with chicken wire - at about 10-12 weeks old depending on the time of year. I let them get used to each other for 4 weeks or so, or until the chicks are maybe 3/4 adult size, then I remove the dividing wire and let them all mingle. I've never, ever, had any trouble doing this. Each time there is just some mild scuffling and pecking order adjustments, exactly the same as when I integrate new adult birds. Maybe I've just been very lucky...
     
  5. easton coop

    easton coop Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thank you. I was a bit concerned over size in the hutch, I think I will just have to wait and see how many hatch! regarding age before introducing to the flock, wouldn't the growers be on growing pellets and not layering pellets? My girls are very friendly and there would be welded wire between them when growing up, so I maybe able to judge then. I'm really looking forward to this spring,hopefully it will be a productive year!
     
  6. bigdawg

    bigdawg AA Poultry

    Jun 28, 2009
    middle tenn
    my silkies will mother any chick thats smaller than they are. even my roo. but if i put 2 month old brahmas in there, the little hens let them know who is boss of the coop. there either the same size or bigger. it doesnt last long though
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Integration is a difficult topic. There are so many variables that you cannot come up with one answer that is right for everyone. I've had no problems integrating 12 week old brooder raised chicks with my flock, but I free range mine and have plenty of room in the coop. I've had broodies raise chicks with the flock and wean them at seven weeks. The chicks make it OK with the flock without Mama's further protection. Mama took care of the integration issues while they were young, but the chicks still have the pecking order issues to work out on their own. They usually solve that by running away from any adult chicken until they have the size and, more important, maturity to challenge them. I have lots of room during the day and lots of room in the coop where they are locked up at night. The chicks can stay away from the older chickens. That makes a lot of difference.

    I also have a pretty laid back flock. I've seen 2 week old chicks leave Mama's protection and go eat out of a feeder with older hens eating right beside them. Sometimes the older hens ignore the chicks and sometimes they give them a peck to remind them that according to chicken etiquette, it is bad manners to eat with your betters. When they get pecked, the chicks make haste back to Mama's comfort and protection.

    There are different kinds of pecking too. There is the "I'm going all out to kill you" pecking that is a real danger to the chicks. Some hens have the meanness that they will try to kill other weaker chickens, whether chicks or just weaker. Then there are the "Mind you manners" type pecks. These are pretty hard and are intended to really get the chicks attention, but they are not an attempt to kill the chick.

    Integration is a dangerous time. The chicks have to earn their way into the flock. There are some tricks and methods that ease the transition, but there is always a chance that it can go deadly wrong. I think space is a critical, but personality of the individuals is also very important. I've never had a problem with a rooster threatening the chicks, at least a dominant rooster. Non-dominant roosters don't have the same mindset that the dominant rooster has. The non-dominant are more like the hens that pecking order is important so they could be a danger to chicks. And not all dominant roosters have the mindset to protect all members of their flock that a good dominant rooster will have. I don't know if my dominant roosters' behavior is typical or if I have just been lucky with all of them.

    When feeding chicks and layers together, I feed them all grower with oyster shell on the side. The chicks may eat some oyster shell, but not all that much. The laying hens will eat what they need.
     
  8. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Haha! I like your peck descriptions Ridgerunner. The "Mind your manners" pecks are the worst behaviour I ever see in my flock. And yes, I've always thought that's been mostly down to luck, as I'm fairly new to chickens and I've spent the last year and a bit just winging it (ha!) and learning as I go...

    As for the pellets, I keep the chicks separate and on separate feed like I say until they're mostly the same size as the adult birds. When I integrate them I figure that as they're mostly grown, they don't need to be on growers feed anymore. I'm not sure if this is correct thinking, but I've never had health problems with my birds that I raised from chicks so I figure it must be okay. If i put down layers and growers feed together, of course the laying birds all eat the growers feed and the chicks eat the layers pellets. Gah!
     

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