How to introduce a hen and her chicks to the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by newish-to-this, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. newish-to-this

    newish-to-this Just Hatched

    We had a hen go broody outside the coop and run. We allowed her to hatch out her brood, and took all but two chicks, her first brood, we wanted to make sure she would be a good mother, plus we have enough chicks in our back yard. We built a makeshift run and coop around her to keep her safe from the local predators. Now it seems like she is wanting to get back to the flock and the chicks keep finding a way out of the fencing. What is the best way to introduce the hen and her brood to the flock and coop with the least chance of a bad outcome. Chicks are just over a month old and are a mix breed. Broody hen was a buff, chicks are Americana / Astrolorps mix.

    I would like to add the flock has had daily contact with the mother and chicks threw a fence since hatching. The flock seems very interested in them and has never had any squabbles or bad interactions between mother and flock.
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Do you have the ability to free range? If so, I'd just let them all out together. If there's enough space, it should be pretty much a non-event.
     
  3. newish-to-this

    newish-to-this Just Hatched

    We free range everyone for most of the day. Momma seems to keep the chicks at bay and mostly away from the others. Our rooster is young only about 5 months and isn't aggressive at all. I would love to get them all in one coop and run before winter fully hits.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Yeah, I'd just open her pen and let them mingle.

    I usually have my hens raise their chicks in the main flock. But this year, and over achieving barn cat started taking baby chicks, so broody mommas and chicks went into a secure pen until chicks were about 5ish weeks old. At that point, I just let them range together during the day for a day or two, then moved momma and babies back into the main coop at night. It was, as said, really a non-issue. Biggest thing is my last broody momma still doesn't want to let any of the other hens near her babies, and the "babes' are over 2 months old.

    You'll probably have to block off the old coop to get the hen and chicks to sleep in the main coop. Sleeping places are such an ingrained habit, that's a harder thing to change. They'll put up a fuss about not being able to sleep where they're used to, and you may need to put them to bed in the desired coop for a few nights.
     
  5. newish-to-this

    newish-to-this Just Hatched

    We free ranged the whole flock today and the rooster didn't seem to like it. I think it will take a few more days before everyone is happy. I may just move the make shift coop into the run for a while and see how that goes. We never had a broody hen before and wasn't quite sure how it would go but momma has turned out to be amazing so next time she will be watched more closely to keep the brood in the main coop. That way we won't have to have these issues.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    What did the rooster do? Roosters are always the least of my concerns with broodies and chicks. It's the other hens that cause issues, or Momma herself.
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    The "rooster" is 5 months old? He'r really still immature himself (technically a cockerel). He's like a teenager in comparison to human maturity. My mature roosters have been great with the chicks. What did he do that appeared he didn't "seem to like it"?
     
  8. snywalker

    snywalker Chillin' With My Peeps

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    In my flock, roosters have always been helpful in raising and integrating new chicks. Maybe yours is too young.
     
  9. newish-to-this

    newish-to-this Just Hatched

    He is a new rooster and was introduced into the flock after she had gone broody. They have free ranged together most days but yesterday he decided to go after her, rearing up and in fight stance. She didn't help matters much as she was protecting the chicks. I think it was more of a pecking order issue than him going after the chicks because he didn't do anything to the chicks but mother was in between him and the chicks at all times. I'm hoping that a few more days of them being out together will solve the issue and we can begin to combine the coops. I wont force the issue or rush them, we will take our time and once we go a week or so with no altercations we will move forward. This rooster is so much more gentle and calm the our last rooster, I hope he gets his head in line and gets over this. He was always the aggressor, running to her in fight stance and in attack mode. Its just shocking to me we are even having these issues because for the first few weeks we had him, he spent all his time sitting outside her run, and they had been face to face threw the fencing several times with no issues what so ever.
     
  10. newish-to-this

    newish-to-this Just Hatched

    He would approach her in attack mode, puffed up and aggressive. She would react and stand her ground and the fight was on! He didn't even get more than a few feathers out of her before I intervened. Normally I would stand back and watch, letting them figure it out themselves, but he is a larger rooster around 8 lbs (calling him that as he has begun doing the rooster jobs, I do understand he isn't technically a rooster yet) and she is on the smaller side around 5. I didn't want him to severely hurt her and have more chicks to raise indoors as well as an injured chick.
     

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