How old should the chicks be before....?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BarkerChickens, Nov 9, 2009.

  1. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    I have eggs under my broody right now. I want her to try and raise them with the flock. But, our coop has a ramp to outside...about 2 feet high. I was told that the few day olds will follow mom and probably jump off...and breaking legs. [​IMG] So, I am having DH build a small brooder in the coop for the chicks and mama initially. How old until they will be safe to follow mom down the ramp (or potentially off the side of it)? I know that I have seem 2 weeks olds trying to fly around, so will 1 week olds be able to flutter their wings for a soft landing? The ramp has step bars in it, but the chickens only use it half way and jump the rest, so I agree the chicks will follow mama off the side.

    Also, we've always raised chicks inside, so this is new to us (the broody, raising them with the flock...hatching eggs in general as we always bought chicks). How big of a concern is coccidia with flock-raised chicks?
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2009
  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Shelby needs some answers! ANy one out there? I don't have any great insight....haven't done the broody thing yet.
  3. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Awww!!! Thanks, BirdBrain!! [​IMG]
  4. Bantimna

    Bantimna Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2009
    South Africa
    well I haven't either done the 'broody' thing but I would say why don't you put fencing up on the side of the ramp that everyone has to go straight down. I will try and drawn an illastrtion of what I'm saying. just wait.

    EDIT: I'm sorry Shelby I can't get it uploaded. But put fencing up on both sides of the ramp.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I have let a few broodies raise their chicks with the flock. The chicks can jump and fly at a surprisingly young age, just a few days old. I have seen two week olds fly up to a roost 30" high. A good mama will protect her babies from the rest of the flock. I would be more worried about having them separate for a week or two then trying to integrate them.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 10, 2009
  6. dianneS

    dianneS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 16, 2009
    South Central PA
    My broody hatched and raised 11 chicks entirely with the rest of the flock. She protected them fiercely, so there was no concern about the other chickens hurting the babies. I have a ramp to my coop too, about a foot and a half high. The babies would hop off the side some times, they were always fine. The only time it caused a problem was when the babies couldn't figure out how to get up the ramp at all! Mom would go inside the hen house and the babies would run around at the bottom of the ramp just trying to figure out "how do I get up there???" [​IMG] What I did, was make steps for them out of some brick pavers I had laying around. the seemed to be able to navigate the steps better than the ramp. I also placed the brick steps right up against the ramp so that they could use a combination of step/ramp to make their way up in to the hen house. It worked fine and everyone survived. All 11 chicks grew up big and healthy, no losses at all, and I just let momma take charge from day 1!
  7. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 15, 2008
    I built a wide removable ramp that can go down the other side of mine. That way when I have an injured bantam or chicks they can get in and out without that worry and I just pick it up to close the coop door for the night. Chicks are pretty hardy towards a fall actually and odds aren't that high they'd get injured from a 2' drop so long as it isn't on to concrete. They won't be able to get back in though. Even 2 week olds will have trouble figuring out how to go back in. They don't jump on individual board steps very well. Flat bricks might work but not narrow open steps. They also won't do long or narrow ramps because they'll run underneath them not understanding to go up the end. I lost a 4 week old bantam when they ventured outside with the hens for the first time because they got out fine but they couldn't get back in even though they could fly that high. We herded most of them back in and they figured out they had to jump but one ran off to hide in a nearby building. The predators probably got him overnight. If you don't provide them a good way back in the coop you'll either be gathering chicks every night or the hen will just take them to sleep elsewhere.
  8. georgina

    georgina Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 10, 2009

    I'm new to chickens so I don't really know a whole bunch but my neighbour had a similar problem with baby guinea pigs that they keep in a big chicken run... In the end they got a bunny rabbit play tunnel, shoved one end through the house doorway, and then the other end came out at the bottom of the ramp and they tied it to the ramp so it didn't roll off. I don't know how much the chickens would like it but it sure did keep the piggies from falling off [​IMG] I guess it's kind of the same as the 'ramp fence' idea. [​IMG]
  9. purpletree23

    purpletree23 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 15, 2009
    I also put fencing on the sides of the ramp to keep the 'kids' from falling off. Actually just cut 2 pieces of plywood and temporarilly attached them. Won't be long before you can go back to your regular ramp.
  10. BarkerChickens

    BarkerChickens Microbrewing Chickenologist

    Nov 25, 2007
    High Desert, CA
    Thanks! I like the fencing (or plywood) idea since it is cheap and easy to attach. I hope she is a good, fierce mama. She has never been on the bottom of the pecking order, but since she's been broody, she is getting pecked at when she goes out to east and she is new to the flock. I hope she gets her backbone back once the chicks hatch! If not, we do have an extra coop (the old one) in their run and it can be sectioned off from the main run very easily. I just want to avoid that if possible. [​IMG]

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