Broody Hen - 8 Chicks Integrating

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by swanny297, May 21, 2017.

  1. swanny297

    swanny297 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 28, 2016
    Our broody hen hatched 8 chicks on mothers day. I have them sectioned off in an area of the run but the other hens can see them. When and what is the best method to introduce them to the other 3 hens? I let them mingle a little today one of the hens pecked at a chick a couple of times and momma intervened. They went back to their area of the run and i segregated them again thinking it was too early.
  2. Colonel-Sanders

    Colonel-Sanders Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 24, 2017
    I waited roughly 6 weeks I believe. The big chickens will still pick them if they get too close, but at about that age they are more than capable of running away.
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Yes, it's a bit too early. Chicks under two weeks of age are indiscriminate about attempting to scoot under other adult chickens and that gets them into trouble, sometimes fatal.

    This mad urge is tempered some by the end of the first two weeks, partly because their heat needs are becoming less urgent. They will also have bonded more solidly with their broody, being much better about taking orders from her.

    It does depend on how forceful a broody is, though. Some broodies with timid temperaments don't do as well at defending their chicks as a broody with a very assertive temperament. You probably know if your broody is one or the other of these personality types.

    An assertive broody has no problem laying down the law to the rest of the flock. I have one of these right now. The other adult chickens are terrified at going anywhere near her chicks.

    If your broody is assertive, you may be safe in allowing them to mingle with the flock when the chicks are two weeks old. If she's on the timid side or has very low rank in the pecking order, you may need to wait until they're closer to four to six weeks old to play it safe.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    You'll find that we do this so many different ways. Some people isolate them in many different ways for different times for their own reasons. I let my broody hens raise their chicks with the flock from day 1, just like they have been doing for thousands of years. I believe how much room you have is an important factor. The personality of your different chickens can make a difference too.

    The more room you have the easier it is. Most broody hens will protect their chicks but it's a lot easier to do that if momma has enough room to separate from the rest of the flock. Most chickens will not go out of their way to attack chicks (though a few will) but if the chick invades her personal space a hen is likely to peck the chick. When that happens the chick usually runs back to momma and everything is fine, but the tighter the space the more likely to have these incidents. Sometimes these incidents don't end well so you want to minimize them.

    If you let the broody hen raise them while mingling with the flock, she will handle integration. If you isolate them until the hen weans them, you have to handle integration yourself. I've had some hens wean their chicks at 3 weeks, I've had some go over two months. There is no set age when that happens.

    After the hen weans them the chicks are left on their own to manage pecking order issues. To me that's when they really need more space than when they are still protected by a broody hen. Until the chicks mature enough to force their way into the pecking order they generally avoid the adults, whether you integrate them or if the broody does. If your space is tight either method is likely to have issues, with plenty of room the risks are much lower.

    Whether my broody hens wean their chicks at 3 weeks or 9 weeks, those chicks have to make their own way with the flock. Mine do, I've never lost one to another adult chicken. I have a lot of room, in the coop and outside. I set up multiple feeding and watering stations so there is no competition for the young to eat and drink.

    I don't know what the right answer for you is. A lot of it depends on room, though personality plays a part. But if you don't have enough room for a broody hen to raise her chicks with the flock, integration later could prove to be a big problem.

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