chicks and flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by I <3 Chicks, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. I <3 Chicks

    I <3 Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 5 buff orpingtons and was wondering if one has chicks will the others hurt her babies or if I have to separate her from the flock?
     
  2. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

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    you will need to seperate her. Most folks on here have a "nursery" of some sort for their broodies.
     
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

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    If you do not have a large flock and are not over crowded, you can leave them together. I have successfully done it three times. Many do separate them, but you do not have to.

    The first time, I moved the broody hen, and she moved back, abandoning the nest I wanted her in. She got out, and the eggs died. She went back to 'her' nest, and I left her, at approximately 21 days, I slipped 6 chicks under her at night, and she raised them right in the flock, protecting them from the others.

    The second and third time, I just left them were they were, it was a small nest and none of the laying hens laid there. So I did not have trouble with extra eggs showing up in the clutch. It was July when they hatched and for 24 hours, I did lock out the laying hens over night so that they would not kill the new chicks, while she was still waiting for the other chicks to hatch.

    After that, the broodies would usually stand between the chicks and the other hens. It was summer time, and they all did quite a bit of free ranging, and had plenty of space. As the chicks got older, they would get an occasional peck, but for the most part they learned to stay out of reach.

    So it can be done.

    MrsK
     
  4. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never move my broody hens and their chicks. I let the mother hen introduce her chicks to her flock, and this way I won't have to worry about having to re-establish the pecking order. A good mother hen won't let the other chickens hurt her chicks. My largest flock is around 13 hens and 1 rooster and one of those hens usually go broody in the spring. When one is broody, all the other birds know not to mess with her chicks. 4 of my hens were raised in my large flock by broody hens. I am not saying you should not separate broodies from the flock, i am just saying I don't and have had no problems. If they are separated it is a good way to make sure nothing does happen to the chicks, but like Mrs.K said, you don't have to.
     
  5. GammaPoppyLilyFlutter

    GammaPoppyLilyFlutter Love Comes with Feathers

    Jun 26, 2010
    California
    Separate her. I took my 2 EE babies out and my SWEETEST pullet ran up and grabbed some down off a chick for no reason!
     
  6. spartacus_63

    spartacus_63 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You do not have to separate, but I do recommend it. I recommend using a broody box for the hen to set in and a separate, protected run for the chicks for at least the first week. If you keep the chicks in with the flock, they have to compete with the flock for food. Competition is OK, but it slows the potential of the chicks. Mother hen will protect the chicks, but if she is low in the pecking order she may be less effective. Also chicks have a higher chance of getting stepped on by the bigger girls. I have had this happen with young bantys that had moved in with the big girlz.

    I have a separate brooder coop that I keep mother and new hatches in. The run is closed for the first two weeks. After that I open the run during the day and they can venture out into the chicken yard. I am able to provide chick grower w/o the big girls eating all of it and when mother hen decides it's time to join the flock, she moves the brood into the big coop. I haven't had any problems with integration since starting this system. When the chicks become teenagers sometimes they develop sub flocks, but they go to the coop to roost at night.
     
  7. I <3 Chicks

    I <3 Chicks Out Of The Brooder

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    I only have 5 buff orpington hens and a luxurious coop that is huge plus they all have their own individual nest boxes they should be fine I was thinking about placing 4-5 different types of chicks under her maybe 2 white silkies, 2 brahmas, and a buff ameraucana chick to get some diversity in my flock. does this sound okay?
     
  8. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sounds great as long as the hen accepts them as her own. If she does, she should protect them.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    Broodies have been raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years, so it is certainly possible. It is my preference. There are risks, advantages, and disadvantages both ways. To me, letting Mama handle the integration issues is worth the risk. They still have to handle their own pecking order issues, but integration issues are usually more risky. A lot of it does depend on how much room Mama has to work with, not just in the coop but in the run too.

    Some flocks have hens that go out of their way to try to kill young chicks. A good Mama will protect her chicks, but not all are good. My hens are pretty laid back fronm that regard, plus I free range most days. Mama has plenty of room to work with.

    I do separate the hen and chicks for a couple of days just so the chicks can learn to eat and drink without competition. After that, I let Mama take them out with the rest of the flock. The other adult chickens will usually prefer to eat the chicks food, so you can put some where the adults can't get to it. I built this to put the chick feeder in. It needs a bit of repair, but the hen's cannot get their head in to the food. The chicks can go inside from either end.

    [​IMG]

    Since the chicks will be eating out of the adult feeder by the time they are a couple of weeks old, I feed all of the flock Starter or Grower and offer oyster shell on the side. My egg shells stay hard.
     
  10. 2newcomers

    2newcomers Out Of The Brooder

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    See my thread (2newcomers) [​IMG]

    for pics of 2 very competent mothers who have protected and integrated their 4 chicks very successfully. It has been delightful to see how well they are caring for them and teaching them! Today moms proudly looked on as all 4 of them lined up on their first perch. They are fearless, curious and so cute!! I could watch them all day!
     

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