chicks in with the adults

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by orchard17, Jul 19, 2010.

  1. orchard17

    orchard17 Out Of The Brooder

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    Barrington, NH
    My broody BR hatched two chicks, one survived. I bought two 4 day old silkies to keep it company and they have been successfully adopted. I also built a "nursery" (basically a 3x3 coop away from the main coop) for the hen and her chicks. She was keeping the chicks in the pen/vicinity of the coop until today when I caught them in the run of the large coop! All of my hens free range. She stayed right with them and although the other hens are curious, the roosters stayed far away. Is this safe? How do I discourage her from doing this if it is not? She needs to be able to leave the nursery as i cannot fit her water/feed in there with the chicks. I"m all for letting her do it the natural way. They must be mixed on large farms, right? need some insight. thanks!
     
  2. pgpoultry

    pgpoultry Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Often adult birds of both sexes will accept chicks, but some won't and will even try to kill them or peck them mercilessly.
    It is normal for a momma hen to integrate her chicks with the others, but they may be too young yet. Most would keep the chicks separate from other adult flock members for a number of weeks.
    I have had no problem with integrating day olds with adult roosters, but my birds are laid back Brahmas.
    Any integration needs to be very carefully monitored.

    Sandie
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Northwest Arkansas
    You can get a few different experiences and opinions on this topic in this thread. It might help you.

    Raise with flock? thread
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=215937&p=1

    My opinion is that hens have been raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. There are risks both ways. To me, letting Mama take care of the integration issues is by itself worth the risks, especially since yours have a lot of room. If Mama does not have enough room to work with, then it is a different situation.

    A good rooster takes care of all members of his flock. Unfortunately, not all roosters are good. Some hens seem to be vicious and work to try to kill other hen's chicks, but if they have a Mama to defend the chicks, most quickly learn to leave them alone. Some roosters will stop the other hens from hurting the chicks. I personally wory more about the other hens than the rooster, but anything can happen. Each chicken has its own personality and each flock has its own dynamics.

    What you do is a personal choice. Whichever you choose, I hope it works out for you.
     
  4. Schultz

    Schultz CluckN'Crow Farm

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    Quote:[​IMG] I couldn't agree more! It will be very different for many flock owners. I would only add that we have had hens that were not very good mommas in the past too. i.e. some are good all around mommas that protect lil chicky, some are too passive and let the rest of the flock have their way around chicky. We recently had a little serama hen that decided that she would be the great protecter LOL! I had a bantam cochin hatch a mf d'uccle and the bantam cochin momma was too passive with the rest of the flock and this lil serama girl took up the slack by attacking anyone(the other hens, roosters,and even the wife and I) that got near the baby. HEHE It was cute, just wish it hadn't been near the nesting boxes. Ever see a little serama hen all puffed up and in attack mode? I couldn't help but to laugh! It was effective with the other chickens though, hmmm go figure. Even the big buff orps were scared to be near baby. Anyway, I'm rambling now so.....
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2010
  5. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    Michigan
    I do not integrate until the chicks are 3-4 weeks. We have a couple of day-olds EATEN in the past. I won't risk it.
     
  6. orchard17

    orchard17 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 25, 2009
    Barrington, NH
    THey spent the night in the big run b/c the chicks could not climb the ramp. They are now back and forth between the two coops and the hen is doing a nice job of protecting the chicks (along with an aracauna who desperately wants chicks of her own). I will leave them be and hope things turn out for the best. Thanks for the insight.
     
  7. crossedwires

    crossedwires Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the main problem i have seen with roo's in the same run is them mounting the hen with chicks under her!! for that reason any broodies we get we tend to remove the roo
     
  8. MKKimmen

    MKKimmen Out Of The Brooder

    We have 7 adult hens and 4 chicks that are 7 weeks old. We tried to put the chicks out in the coop with the older girls and they started pecking the chicks, we got nervous and took the chicks back out. That was 2 weeks ago when they were 5 weeks old. Now they are 7 weeks old. Should we try it again? We really need to get the chicks moved out in to the coop, they are out growing there brooder!
    Thanks!
     

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