Broody Pullet Hatched Six Chicks!

Pretty Birds

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May 13, 2019
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My broody Austra White pullet, Judy, hatched six baby chicks! This is the first time this has happened successfully, and I am so happy! I plan to move them into a coop where she can raise them.
Can anyone give me a summary of what to expect? When is it time to put Judy back with her flock? I have read she will start ignoring them a pecking them when she's ready to go, or when she starts to lay eggs again. How long will she take care of the babies?
Any other general information on this would be appreciated.
IMG_20190909_162801546.jpg IMG_20190912_151427402.jpg Chicks 4.jpg Chicks 1.jpg Chick 2.jpg
 

ValerieJ

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I have only one experience with this. Shirley was kept in a separate coop and run adjacent to the flock while she was braising the chicks. I made the separation decision because she was so upset if anyone came in her coop, and I figured she was protecting her babies. It was obvious when it was time to integrate her back into the flock. When I did, I left the chicks in their separate run until they were big enough to fend for themselves. I'm not sure that was necessary, but it worked out well for my flock.
 

slordaz

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Not sure my hens made their place to brood inside the coop so I let them raise them there too, it may depend on if you have a more aggressive flock. Most chickens don't dare mess with a broody or her chicks and makes it a lot easier as the flock knows they are new members, I did have one that chose to take over the dog igloo which made for not very happy dogs but even they know don't mess with a broody hen, She had them out with the flock soon after hatching. The one bad thing I found doing it this way though none of them will take in chicks, they run terrified of them.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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Congratulations! That is good news.

When is it time to put Judy back with her flock?

I let my broody hens raise the chicks with the flock from Day 1. Others wait two or three days, thinking the chicks will be more mobile. Others wait weeks or months. Some take the chicks away from the broody and raise the chicks themselves. Some wait until the broody weans her chicks to integrate the hen and wait even longer to integrate the chicks. There is no set time where one way is right for everyone and all other ways are wrong. There are just different ways to do it. To me there are advantages and disadvantages with each way.

I have read she will start ignoring them a pecking them when she's ready to go, or when she starts to lay eggs again. How long will she take care of the babies?

I've had hens wean their chicks at three weeks. I've had hens wean their chicks after more than two months. Most hens just wean their chicks all at once. I've had hens take care of the chicks during the day but leave them on their own at night. I've had hens take care of the chicks at night but leave them alone during the day. Each hen is different, each time with the same hen can be different.

Any other general information on this would be appreciated

What your facilities look like (size in feet and how the coop and run interconnect) might help us make suggestions for your unique situation. Photos can clarify a lot.

The more room you have the easier integration will be, whether you let the broody raise her chicks with the flock or integrate later. If you don't have enough room for the broody to raise them with the flock integrating them later without her help will be even harder. My concern on room is not so much when the broody is taking care of them but later, after she weans them. My broody hens protect their chicks from other flock members, the hens are more likely to be a problem than a mature rooster. My roosters tend to either help Mama with the chicks or at least leave them alone. I've never had a mature rooster threaten a chick but others say they have. I have had other hens threaten a chick but my broody hens have never failed to protect her babies from them. Some people say they have seen a broody hen fail to take care of her chicks. You can get inconsistent results.

After my broodies wean their chicks she leaves them to make their way with the flock. Even at three weeks this has never been a problem for me. The chicks did fine. But Mama had spent thee weeks teaching the others to leave her babies alone and the chicks had learned to keep a distance from other adults. Also I have a lot of room outside and weather the chickens (adults and chicks) can spend all day every day outside. They are not trapped inside a coop together. And my large coop has plenty of places the chicks can avoid the adults. If your facilities are tight this might not work for you.

If you decide to let your broody raise her chicks with the flock I can go into more detail about that. Since I don't isolate mine I'm not going to speak too much to how that works.
 

Naser

Crowing
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Oct 29, 2014
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Congratulations, The main thing with mixing them with the flock is you have to feed everybody chick starter, it is fine to do that if you give them oyster shell 24/7, usually it is little more expensive. They like it
Whenever you let a hen raise chicks ask yourself: Do I have space for them when they are adults, If the answer is no, don't do it.
 
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Pretty Birds

Crowing
May 13, 2019
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Maine, USA
What your facilities look like (size in feet and how the coop and run interconnect) might help us make suggestions for your unique situation. Photos can clarify a lot.

This is the front of the coop she is in. It is about 4 feet by 10.5 feet.
IMG_20190915_171137.jpg
IMG_20190915_171234.jpg

You can see in this picture I put board along the bottom of the wire so the chicks can't get out.
IMG_20190915_171433.jpg

This is what in looks like on the outside. Judy and her chicks are in the blue barn on the left. The coop on the right and the barn share an outside run, which can be divided in half. My plan is when the chicks are about 4 weeks old I'll divide the run and let them outside, then when the mother is ready to go back I'll integrate them into the flock. Is that a good plan or should I go about it a different way?
IMG_20190915_171604.jpg
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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How will you know when the mother is ready to go back? Not sure what you mean.

If you are willing to do the integration yourself instead of letting the hen do it you can wait until the hen weans them to put them together. I don't do it that way but some people do.

If it were me and I had a door between that coop in the barn and the run I'd open that door and let Mama decide what to do. If you keep them locked in that coop in the barn for a few days before opening it she would probably return there at night with her babies but spend a lot of time out in the run with the others during the day. Some of the other chickens would check out that coop in the barn during the day. There are all kinds of different ways to do that.

Baby chicks can jump really well. I would not trust that board to keep the chicks contained very long and that wire mesh looks big enough that the chicks can fit through. I'd put some kind of barrier, probably wire or plastic mesh, along the bottom foot or so of it.
 

Pretty Birds

Crowing
May 13, 2019
955
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Maine, USA
How will you know when the mother is ready to go back? Not sure what you mean.
I've read that she will ignore the chicks, peck them, and start laying eggs again. When she no longer wants to take care of them I'll put her back with her flock.

Baby chicks can jump really well. I would not trust that board to keep the chicks contained very long and that wire mesh looks big enough that the chicks can fit through. I'd put some kind of barrier, probably wire or plastic mesh, along the bottom foot or so of it.
Okay, thank you.
 

Chicken Heel

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Jun 8, 2019
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In my experiences, Mama hen will let you know when she has had enough of chick raising with her actions being avoidance and/or pecking. That being stated, with your hen being 1/2 Leghorn, that may be sooner than later so be mindful of that and have a standby plan for brooding the chicks.
 

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