Help - mixing 2 wk old w/4 wk old??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 2overeasy, May 8, 2011.

  1. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    I have dilemma: I have a hen who hatched 5 chicks 2 weeks ago today. I also have 10 mail order chicks that were hatched 4 wks ago tomorrow.
    I have a 12'X24' hen house which is divided in half. 1/2 has nesting boxes and roosting posts and a small door that opens to the outside for grown chickens to free range our 10 acres. The other half we call the nursery. It opens into a 6'X12' completely enclosed and secure yard. It is smaller roosting poles and 4 low nest boxes and plenty of floor space.
    When Buffy went broody, we moved her to the nursery side. She and her babies are closed up at night, and during the day are let out to happily explore the yard.
    The mail order chicks were raised until 3 1/2 weeks in a small brooder in the house, and were then moved to a larger brooder in the nursery. They can see out the door into the yard and can see Buffy and her babies. Since they are 4 wks old and are feathering out nicely, I would like to let them out to explore, as well (weather here in southern TN is now warm during the day).
    So the dilemma is, can I let them out with momma and babies? Babies are significantly smaller than brooder chicks. I know momma will protect her babies but will there be problems?
    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. MareeZoCool

    MareeZoCool Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'd keep those 2 week old chicks separated another two weeks.
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Or go ahead and try mixing them while the mama is still mothering the chicks. Then when she decides she is no longer a mother, hopefully the integration will be over. I've never kept my mama and chicks separate from the flock, because I don't want to have to integrate either the chicks or the mama. What I would be concerned about is the mama attaking the other chicks. You'll just have to see how it goes. If there are problems you may have to keep them separate until all are about the same size.
     
  4. 2overeasy

    2overeasy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 28, 2010
    Birchwood, TN
    Thanks to both of you.
    The reason I chose - after some thought on the matter - not to let Buffy stay with other chickens with her chicks is that they free range and I have cats. They don't bother grown chickens (chickens are bigger!). Also, although my 5 dogs don't pay any attn to the chickens, the 2 youngest might be a little too interested - but maybe not, I'm just not sure.And the final reason, is that if she finishes taking care of them at 4-5 weeks (as I've read they generally do), they'll still be too small to out with the general population. Am I wrong?
    Buffy does want out of there, though!
     

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