Can I raise chicks with the flock?

little buddy

Chirping
5 Years
Jun 25, 2014
99
21
76
About half my chicks have hatched in the coop yesterday. They are under mom in a nesting box on the floor. My other hens and rooster seem to be going about business as usual and not even phased by the new arrivals. I have been closely watching everyone for bad behavior and been prepared to separate them. I would love however to keep them together. Is it too risky? Have any of you just let the mother hen take care of everything?
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
Yes, I do this as a matter of course, raised hundreds and hundreds of chooks this way.

It sounds like you've set out on the right foot, watching for bad behavior. If you intend to keep raising chicks with the flock you'll just have to remove those that show aggressive tendencies towards them; I consider this ideal, as chicks raised with the flock grow into well adjusted and socially 'decent' individuals. The absence of violence is wonderful. Breaking up the social order and separating them is what has caused much of the aggression towards one another that we see so commonly.

For a socially healthy flock you can't go past raising them in a cohesive whole, I reckon. Highly recommend it.

Good luck with it.
 

chooks4life

Crowing
6 Years
Apr 8, 2013
4,902
678
296
Australia
I would suggest you only remove an individual if you plan to keep it removed from the flock, and remove the bully not the victim. Otherwise you're just restarting at square one; but if you remove the bully, you're progressing.

It's very likely your hens will have some squabbles over hierarchy, that's normal, I let them sort it out but do supervise. If I have an alpha hen who chases the mother to bully, she's gone; it's been years since I've had that issue because I did get rid of those hens and therefore that mentality did not breed on. If you choose to only breed tolerant and peaceful mentalities it makes everything so much easier for you and them.

Best wishes.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,242
19,985
857
Southeast Louisiana
With a broody hen I wouldn’t do it any other way. Hens have been raising chicks with the flock since there were chickens. It’s the normal natural way. There are risks no matter how you approach it, bad things can happen to living animals. But to me, the benefits of a hen raising the chicks with the flock far outweigh any risks.

If a rooster is introduced to the chicks soon after hatch, he normally accepts them as his and is very likely to help the Mama and protect them. Each chicken is an individual and each flock has its own dynamics, but a rooster protecting his chicks is pretty natural though not all do it. I’ve yet to see a rooster threaten a chick that was raised with the flock until that chick is a cockerel starting to challenge the rooster. Then you will possibly see some threatening, though even that is usually in response to a challenge or the cockerel bothering his hens.

Another hen might be aggressive toward the chicks, especially if they leave Mama’s protection and go wondering through the flock. I’ll emphasize might. It’s pretty rare for any of my hens to really threaten a chick. They might peck a wayward chick, teaching it that it is bad chicken etiquette for that chick to enter the personal space of its social betters, but the chick just runs back to Mama when this happens, maybe having learned an important lesson on how to act in the flock.

A fairly common occurrence. At about two weeks of age a chick leaves Mama’s protection and goes to stand with other hens around a feeder. Sometimes the hens ignore that chick but usually a hen will eventually peck the chick, reminding it of proper flock manners. The chick runs back to Mama as fast as its little legs can carry it, flapping its wings and protesting loudly. Mama generally ignores this behavior. But if that hen starts to follow the chick as it to strengthen that message, Mama politely whips butt. Nothing threatens her baby!
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
7 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,622
15,037
821
Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
With a broody hen I wouldn’t do it any other way. Hens have been raising chicks with the flock since there were chickens. It’s the normal natural way. There are risks no matter how you approach it, bad things can happen to living animals. But to me, the benefits of a hen raising the chicks with the flock far outweigh any risks.

If a rooster is introduced to the chicks soon after hatch, he normally accepts them as his and is very likely to help the Mama and protect them. Each chicken is an individual and each flock has its own dynamics, but a rooster protecting his chicks is pretty natural though not all do it. I’ve yet to see a rooster threaten a chick that was raised with the flock until that chick is a cockerel starting to challenge the rooster. Then you will possibly see some threatening, though even that is usually in response to a challenge or the cockerel bothering his hens.

Another hen might be aggressive toward the chicks, especially if they leave Mama’s protection and go wondering through the flock. I’ll emphasize might. It’s pretty rare for any of my hens to really threaten a chick. They might peck a wayward chick, teaching it that it is bad chicken etiquette for that chick to enter the personal space of its social betters, but the chick just runs back to Mama when this happens, maybe having learned an important lesson on how to act in the flock.

A fairly common occurrence. At about two weeks of age a chick leaves Mama’s protection and goes to stand with other hens around a feeder. Sometimes the hens ignore that chick but usually a hen will eventually peck the chick, reminding it of proper flock manners. The chick runs back to Mama as fast as its little legs can carry it, flapping its wings and protesting loudly. Mama generally ignores this behavior. But if that hen starts to follow the chick as it to strengthen that message, Mama politely whips butt. Nothing threatens her baby!

X 2!!!!!
 

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