Broody and chicks - When to join the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Engteacher, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    I have a broody with three chicks hatched on Thanksgiving. They are confined in a large rabbit cage on the floor of the coop. I'm wondering how best to reintegrate them back into the flock. The other hens have been very curious and have been watching the chicks through the cage door for a few weeks now.

    One other complication is that the hens have been spending much more time in the coop instead of the run since winter started. They just aren't too sure about snow, even though we've done a good job of shoveling the 41" of snow we've received since the end of November. Bit by bit they are venturing out more, but still would rather hang out in the coop. In other words, quarters are more crowded than usual.

    Chicks are a month old. How long should I wait? Are there any signs to watch for?
  2. fl_deb

    fl_deb Songster

    May 7, 2010
    I really don't know nor do I have any experience. However, I would think alot depends on mother hen, and how aggresively the other hens try to kill the new birds because they will from what I've read. Also, does mama hen have the space she will need to keep babies a safe distance from the other birds? Just a few thoughts.

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I raise my chicks in with the flock. Usually mamas will protect chicks. Mine has pecked at one or two hens who came near, but most of them ignore the chicks.

    I'd go ahead and try it, for the simple reason that this is around the age the mamas "kick the kids out." Hopefully the chicks will still have the mama's protection at this point.
  4. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Songster

    Feb 5, 2008
    I agree with the above poster. If you can allow them to stay together the better. I have the problem of introducing the hen back to the flock. The chicks stay in the chick pen and the mamma goes back in the flock. Lots of fighting for the hen. If I could, I would raise all the birds together. The other hens will leave the mama alone and somethimes the rooster will help with the chicks. If you have alot of room, it works well. Be careful, sometimes a hens is just plain mean, and fighting will be harsh.
  5. willkatdawson

    willkatdawson Songster

    Mar 31, 2008
    I think you could put the little family right back in with the flock. I always have left my broody and then mother and chicks in with the flock. That's the joy of a broody she takes care of everything. She won't let any of the other chickens bother her babies.
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I agree with the above post, but I had them seperated for about 24 hours, until all were hatched. I agree, the mama hen will keep the chicks safe, and stay between the chicks and the other hens. Once in a while, a chick would get a peck, but not life threatening, just respect enhancing.

    If you have had them seperated for a month, you might have other integration issues. Mrs.K
  7. mississippifarmboy

    mississippifarmboy collects slightly damaged strays

    Quote:Same here. If we let a broody hatch, it's in the coop with the others all along. We never seperate them to start with. [​IMG]
  8. abhaya

    abhaya Songster

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I never take mine out of the flock.
    i would just open the cage door and let them venture out the mom should protect them.
  9. Engteacher

    Engteacher Poultry, Poetry, and Prose

    Sep 1, 2009
    Hastings, MN
    Following your advice, I opened up the brooder and let the family out. Here's what happened.

    First they hung out around the coop.


    Notice that one chick likes to ride.

    And then Momma took them outside for some fresh air. It's 20 degrees outside and she had them out for a good half an hour!



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