Integrating chicks with a Broody Hen

May 21, 2020
7
2
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Hey all!

BACKGROUND: A week ago I successfully broke my broody with a couple of day-olds. This was my maiden voyage with broody hen chicken adoption. Here is the hiccup, Mama Olive and her two delightful 1 week old fluff balls are sharing the (divided by mesh hardware) chicken run with my 6-7 week old chicks. All are separated from the rest of my older girls.

DILEMMA: I would REALLY like to integrate the older chicks with Mama Olive and her babies. Any thoughts on that? Is it suicide mission? What are your proven suggestions? I want to take lead from those of you who have had success with this!

Thanks kindly!
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,502
20,753
907
Southeast Louisiana
How big are those three areas where they spend the day, the broody, the older chicks , and the other hens. How big are the coops and shelters for each group? Where does each group spend the night? Photos might help us understand how they tie together better.

I do it totally differently. My brooder is in the coop so the chicks grow up with the flock. At five weeks old I open the brooder door and let them integrate. It's that easy. But I have a lot of room inside and out and I have weather where they all can and do spend all day every day outside. I'm not convinced you have that.

I let my broody hens raise their chicks with the main flock from Day 1. Mama protects her babies and takes care of integration. I'm not sure you are set up for that. With different set-ups and conditions we can get different results.

If you can let us know your current set-up and what you have to work with perhaps we can come up with a plan that suits your conditions and circumstances. You are where you are, you just need a plan for the way forward.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
8,945
11,321
636
western South Dakota
The mama hen is not attacking the 6-7 week old birds? Then what I would do, is look at the run. Do you have clutter in the run? Are their hideouts. A pallet up on cement blocks is very goo hideout for smaller birds to get under and away from bigger birds. I have mini walls in mine, and multiple feed stations where a bird eating at one spot cannot see a bird eating at another.

Then what I would do, is turn the older birds out into the yard, out of the set up and lock them out. Take down the separation fence, or lift up the fence enough that smaller birds could get under it, if chased.

Close to dark, let he big girls in, and you might have to herd in the 7weeks in. The broody hen will probably take her chicks in by herself.

Generally, a lot of clutter, which stops a beeline chase, is the secret to integration.

Mrs K
 
May 21, 2020
7
2
5
The mama hen is not attacking the 6-7 week old birds? Then what I would do, is look at the run. Do you have clutter in the run? Are their hideouts. A pallet up on cement blocks is very goo hideout for smaller birds to get under and away from bigger birds. I have mini walls in mine, and multiple feed stations where a bird eating at one spot cannot see a bird eating at another.

Then what I would do, is turn the older birds out into the yard, out of the set up and lock them out. Take down the separation fence, or lift up the fence enough that smaller birds could get under it, if chased.

Close to dark, let he big girls in, and you might have to herd in the 7weeks in. The broody hen will probably take her chicks in by herself.

Generally, a lot of clutter, which stops a beeline chase, is the secret to integration.

Mrs K
Hey! Loved your suggestions!!! I used a bunch of your ideas: added a pallet and raised the fencing divider in the run, and it is going better than I expected! Thank you kindly!
 

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