Chicks being raised by a Broody.. safe to integrate them with flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chantald, May 12, 2009.

  1. This is our first ever hatch, I got 10 fertile Silkie eggs here and 5 hatched on day 21. What an exciting day! My children were thrilled (and I was so relived!)

    I introduced the new chicks to my broody Silkie and she took to them immediately. They are a week old now and seem to be thriving. Had one scare today where one seemed to get caught in her down feathers and got them twisted around it's little neck.. started to strangle.. Got that taken care of pronto and hope it was just a fluke..

    Right now they are all in the 8x10 converted Amish shed that is our coop with 4 other full size hens (3 RIRs, 1 EE) in a corner penned off with chicken wire.

    Do I dare take away the fence and let them be in the same space as the other girls? I do remove the other hens during the day to a chicken tractor in our yard and return them to the coop at night..

    Will a Silkie be able to fend off the other hens? I am starting to feel like the little pen is a bit small but have no other option for housing them..


    here is the coop inside.. the little pen is in the lower left corner of the photo (not pictured... but that's it's location) Where the garbage can and black bag are in the photo (they are not there anymore)


  2. karen71

    karen71 Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Bear, DE
    I have a broody Silkie that is caring for chicks - she shares the yard and coop with standard size hens .

    I had purchased a new coop and she and the babies had it all to theirselves for 3 weeks then I moved the standards in the coop so I could use the smaller as a brooder for 6 RIR's , she has had no problems -
    the adults roost she and the babies sit in the corner
    they are let out in the morning and everyone goes back in at night
    the babies walk around with their Aunties now
    I sat and watched the standards when they would get near the babies I was ready to grab them but they never did anything

    adults could peck the babies though so I would want to wait until you can observe constantly just to be sure
  3. colewilson

    colewilson In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2009
    i had a broody silkie hen.

    i bought 6 golden comets . i gave them to her when they where 2 weeks.
    about 1 week later i bought 6 wyandottes and have them to her at 3 weeks old.
    then about 3 weeks later i bought 3 light brown leghorns and 3 banties and have them to her at 2 weeks.
    she took to them all.
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    Will a Silkie be able to fend off the other hens?

    It depends on the silkie. She may be able to fend off the other hens. It really doesn't depend on her size but on her desire. In your situation, it is worth a try. Keep an eye on them for a while after you bring the others back from the tractor to see how it is going, but I think it will be OK. Just don't leave them in the coop too long in the morning after they wake up before you take them to the tractor.

    One benefit I see in doing this is that the chicks will integrate with the flock while the broody will protect them from getting hurt too bad. I think it will make the final integration go much better.

    Good luck.
  5. Jenbo

    Jenbo Hatching

    May 28, 2008
    I'm also wondering about integrating 4 one week old Buff Orpington chicks with our 2 Buff Orpington hens in their coop outside. One of our hens has been sitting on her infertile eggs for 3 days now (it seems like ever since we showed her the chicks in our kitchen).

    If we do decide to give her the chicks, I'm wondering about access to water and food for the chicks and how much we can trust our hens. We are supposed to go away for a couple of days the week after next and not sure if we can leave them alone. (We have friends who will check on food and water in our back yard, (or keep the box with the warm light at their house if we don't integrate the chicks with our hens), but our friends can't stay at our house and make sure our hens are doing a good job at taking care of the chicks. Could we wait until we get back from our trip and give her the chicks when they are 3 weeks old?

    Any and all suggestions would be welcome! I think it would be so cool to let our hen be a mama, since she seems like she wants to be one!
  6. WalkingWolf

    WalkingWolf Songster

    Jan 1, 2009
    North Carolina
    Beware the power of a broody chick defending her young. [​IMG]

    My game hen will take on all three of our large dogs even if they are only passing by. Ducks, people, even a squirrel are no match for this normally docile girl when she has chicks.

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