Can broody hens and chicks be in with the main flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by animalsrule1, Jan 14, 2015.

  1. animalsrule1

    animalsrule1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Since I'm hoping to get some broody hens this year, to hatch, or even just raise some chicks, the main question I have (since practically everything else seems pretty straight forwards) is, can broody hens and their chicks be in with the main flock? Most of my info has been taken from "The modern homestead: Let Mama Do It" which is a couple of really great articles.
    So, I plan to build a 'Broody Box' to keep them in while they set, which will either be on the floor, 16 inches above the floor, or mounted on the wall, all options being inside of the chicken coop. Now, the reason I decided to do that is so that she does leave, get on the wrong nest, and kill the eggs that she had formerly been sitting on by letting them get cold.
    After the chicks have hatched, I have a couple options... I can keep the new family in the broody box for a couple weeks, something I really don't want to do, or I can leave the door to the box open, so that they can go in and out of the box and coop as they please (my chickens free range), or, being as I have an old, smaller chicken coop (for about ten chickens) I can house the Brodies and chicks in there, and let them free range with the flock, but sleep in the little coop at night.
    So, in case I confused everyone's, here are my questions.
    - Should I put my 'Broody Box' on the floor, about 16 inches off the floor, or mount it on the wall at about eye level?
    - Should I keep my broody and chicks in the broody box after they've hatched (to protect them from the flock), leave the door open so they can come and go from the box and coop as they please, or house them in a separate coop overnight, and let them free range with the flock during the day?
     
  2. Bigwig

    Bigwig Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It really does not matter were you put your "broody box" as long as it is covered to prevent other chickens from roosting on the rim and pooping on the chicks. A sloped roof is good because any chicken that tries to roost on it will fall off. You can attach a red light on the underside of the cover if you want (it doesn't need to be a heating bulb because your broody hen will keep the chicks warm).

    If you want to let the chicks out of the brooder it would be better to put them into a separate pen or coop until they are old enough to escape older, more aggressive chickens . Other chickens will sometimes kill young chicks if they get a chance.

    Hope this information helps!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. scflock

    scflock Overrun With Chickens

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    I've had mixed results. My silkies and d'uccles are great with chicks, and the silkies will even try to steal them from one another. My marans, however, will destroy any chick they see like they would a mouse. I learned this the hard way when I let one brood in the coop
     
  4. ThePRfan

    ThePRfan Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yeah,but not always.You can't just "It doesn't matter",it does.

    If a mother hen can't provide protection,her chicks may get killed,or even abandoned,or kidnapped.
    A mother hen usually never abandons her chicks,she may fight,and endup giving them up.

    Also,your birds don't need to be isolated from everybody,unless their laying in her nest box.

    ThePRfan
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Put the broody box on the floor. That way chicks have easy access to get in and out.
    I'm a big advocate of a broody raising chicks in the flock. Over all the years I've done this I've only had a problem once. My alpha and omega hens hatched the same day and Alpha decided to go after one specific chick of Omegas. I just separated them for a week or so, then all was fine. Space and hiding spots are key for the littlest.
     

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