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Chick Integration to flock is a FAIL

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by heartwork city, May 31, 2016.

  1. heartwork city

    heartwork city In the Brooder

    May 12, 2015
    Central Coast, CA
    Hi all. I posted on another thread but hoping to get wider feedback. Here's the scoop-
    Have a broody BO. Purchased 3 day old chicks. Added under BO's wing at night 3 days ago. SUCCESS! Mom and chicks have bonded.

    Fast forward to last night. After 3 days I placed momma and 2 chicks into coop INSIDE the run. The 3 other hens can now see Momma BO and 2 chicks through wire that separates coop from run. TODAY I tried to integrate momma BO and chicks into run with other hens. Wellllll good fried. My Plymouth went after a chick so hard and fast I can't believe it escaped her beak! Momma stood there in shock, not moving an inch. CRUD! I had hopes for momma but I have to tell you, momma BO has always been my gentle giant. I've NEVER seen her get aggressive. My Plymouth and Rhode Island Red are the feisty hens, just smaller than momma.

    So where to go from here? Integration is sure death for chicks. That stinks, but I know it happens. I'm glad other hens can see and hear momma. And I know she needs to stay in the pecking order. She's just a bad protector of these new chicks. Thanks for help.

  2. Rod-T

    Rod-T Songster

    Sep 23, 2015
    Deer park, Washington
    Don't integrate until chicks are older
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    I am a bit confused. "I placed mamma and chicks inside the coop/run" Where were they before this? If they have been separated from the flock, the flock has forgotten the BO, and she and the chicks are strangers. Then you really have to wait until the chicks are much bigger and then combine the two flocks. The BO, may have been preparing to defend herself, so as didn't move.

    So if you want to just wait until they are older, that is fine. Some people are most comfortable with that.

    However, if they have been with the flock, so as the layers know and accept the broody, I would try it again. People tend to think that it is all on the mama hen, and I do agree that an aggressive broody hen will make even the roosters shake in their spurs. However, another part of it, is the chick learning where they can go, and where is safe, and how to get away.

    But if you just want this integration to work, I would take a good look around the run, and coop. I would set up some hide outs that have openings that only chicks can get through. I would offer multiple feeders, and waterers.

    Then I would turn out the big girls into the yard, turn the broody and chicks into the run so they can explore for a couple of hours, then let the layers in just before dark. It might work, it might not. What gives me hope is your description, the chick got away, learned a valuable lesson as in to give that old biddy a lot of room. What looks terrifying to you, can really be a "mind your manners" peck.

    It just depends on what you can tolerate, and how you had it set up before this.

    Mrs K
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Also a little confused as to location of broody and chicks in relation to flock.
    I'd want broody and chicks in sight of flock for at least a week or two before physical introductions were allowed.

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