Integrate vs. separate

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by UGAchick, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2010
    Athens, GA
    my backyard is about to change significantly and I need help from the experts to make sure it runs smoothly. Right now I have:

    - A 32 sq ft coop with a probably 120 sq ft run
    - A small 12 sq ft addition to the coop that is completely separated (originally intended for a couple ducks but has been used to separate chickens) with its own separate 16 sq ft run.
    - 4 birds in the coop: 2 bantam babies I hatched (about 3 months old), 1 baby I bought (I think bantam, frizzled, 3 months old), 1 bantam broody hen sitting on 10 LF local eggs (so I am expecting most to hatch, due to next week)
    - 25 brand new LF babies in the brooder box

    I am selling about 8 of the babies and am considering selling more.
    We have a 10x10 shed that I am thinking of taking and making a new chicken coop (which of course means hubs gets a new tool shed!)
    I have the room to make a larger run, if I get creative

    Here are my questions:
    - Should I take broody mommas chicks and put them in the brooder with the other babies when they hatch? Should I take the babies in the brooder and give them to the momma when they hatch? Seems like too many for one bantam to me. I can also leave them separate but want to integrate as soon as possible.
    - How do I then integrate the 17 remaining babies (after I sell 8) into a coop with a new momma and 3 other older hens?
    - Should I use the new shed coop or keep the old one? I don't really have room to use them both.

    Help me!!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    The easiest integration I've had is getting a new mama to accept someone else's chicks. It is very hard to integrate chickens of different ages or sizes; it's hard enough when they are they same size and age. I wouldn't worry about giving the bantam too many chicks; it's not that cold yet and they will be feathered before winter. I recently read a thread about a bird who mothered something like 18 chicks. If they are confined and can't get lost in the woods, it should work out, if the mama accepts the chicks. Not all chickens accept being moved from one coop to another, anyway; they may not roost or even go into the coop. You'll just have to do what you must and deal with the consequences however you can.
     
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    So then, assuming all hatch, you're planning on keeping around 30 bantams and LF birds??? Then I would definitely end up with the 10 x 10 shed simply because of space. I mean, the older pullets would do fine with the 12 sq. ft. coop, but that would still put far too many in the 32 sq. ft. coop. If you're keeping 25 plus of the standard sized birds, you will need more run space...120 sq. ft is about half of what you really should have.

    I don't know whether a bantam mama would be overwhelmed with that many chicks or not, as I've only done mail order chicks with ME as the mama...lol. It does sound like a lot. However, if your shelter is nice and warm (I'd offer a heat lamp, because she will NOT be able to sit on them all obviously), they should be okay with her guidance. And the ones who can't go under her can go under the lamp. I watch the three older pullets closely if they do end up in the same housing. An obvious advantage is that the chicks will be large and will quickly catch up to the older bantams...
     
  4. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 7, 2010
    Athens, GA
    So I should wait until the eggs hatch next week and add the 25 babies at night to the new ones? I am not sure if I can get power all the way out to the chicken coop. Will they be OK without a heat lamp? Or I can add the new momma and her chicks to the brooder that I just made. That might be too much change for her though.

    I certainly don't want to overcrowd my chickens, so even if I end up using the larger shed coop I will reduce the size of the flock to make room for everyone. Just trying to work out the details of introducing everyone.
     
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    Chicks raised by a broody don't need a heat lamp. I'm in south GA and one of my broodies hatched hers in October and November. If she can cover the chicks they will be fine.

    Long extension cords, however, can be disastrous.
     
  6. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    A bantam hen won't be able to cover that many LF baby chicks, so they will be left out in the cold if there is no lamp. I think you're just going to have to keep some in the brooder for a few weeks....unless you can find a way to run a lamp out there.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2010
  7. UGAchick

    UGAchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Athens, GA
    If I try to wait a little while for the larger chicks to feather out (so they won't be cold when I put them out) will the broody still accept them? I am also wondering if there is safety in numbers when it comes to this? When I introduce the LF chicks to the other hens, broody, and new chicks, they will outnumber them by a lot. I only have 4 older chickens. I know the broody, who is nasty anyway, will be especially nasty with babies of her own. I also wonder if the 25 will try to pick on the new babies. SO stressful!!
     

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