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Chickens, chicks and more chicks...how to integrate them all?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by pattihero, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. pattihero

    pattihero New Egg

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    Jun 29, 2011
    We've had a dozen hens for 3 years. Last year we got an adolescent Roo and when one hen went broody last summer...nothing. This spring...no broodyness at all. So we got an incubator and hatched 14 BEAUTIFUL chicks. They are now 6 weeks old. The babes are sharing a "house divided - everyone sleeps in the same house that is separted by fencing" and have their own pen within our very large chicken yard. One of our hens, the smallest and LOW on the pecking order was a bit of an escape artist and apparently left the yard every day for 2 1/2 weeks to lay an egg at our neighbors. Then she got broody and left. Of course all this happened without our knowledge. All we knew was that our little hen had gone rogue and was occasionally spotted running through the woods with a wild turkey. (Yeah, I'm serious). Three days ago my husband and son found her and her clutch of 16 eggs and move the whole lot of them into an old rabbit hutch in the chicken yard. Today she hatched 9 chicks and I think a few more may hatch overnight. I know if she was a dominant hen I could probably let her take care of the chicks with the adults of the flock. But since she's quite often picked on herself and has a LOT of chicks, I was considering putting her in with the 6 week old chicks. Is this a bad idea? Thanks for any insight and advice! [​IMG]
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Personally, I would try her with the flock. Her instinct to protect her chicks should be active regardless of her place in the pecking order.

    I am prejudiced, though I have all my mamas raise their chicks in with the flock. None of my broodies has been at the top end of the pecking order but they have protected their chicks -- sometimes with the help of a roo.
     
  3. pattihero

    pattihero New Egg

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    Jun 29, 2011
    Thanks so much. One of the 6 week old chicks keeps getting into the yard with the adults and so far no issues! I do think having them share space really helps. This was just such a surprise for us. I feel like the family who adopts a child after years of trying and then gets pregnant the old fashioned way. My Mama hen is doing a great job. She has 10 chicks and I can't see a single one when they're all tucked up under her wings. [​IMG]
     

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