Integrating chicks with mama

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by catchthewind, Nov 5, 2011.

  1. catchthewind

    catchthewind Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 27, 2011
    Vancouver Island
    I have three two-week-old chicks outside with their mama in the coop. Up to now, I have been keeping them mostly in a large dog kennel in the coop, though the last few days I've been bringing them out to another part of our yard that is fenced that the bigger hens can't get into. I let them run around a bit with the other hens too with me around to supervise. Mom has gotten into a few spats but only one hen has bothered the chicks at all. The rest just seem curious. Anyway, yesterday a big raven swooped down on the chicks in the fenced area, so today I tried something new, which was putting the kennel out where the other hens were but putting a pagewire fence around it that the chicks can get in and out but the bigger hens can't. It's not entirely covered and there's one area that the bigger hens could jump in and out of (above the kennel), but I kept an eye out and it seemed fine. The mama stayed in the fenced off area with the chicks and the chicks were running around in both areas. I left it a little too long tonight, and when I went out to check on them mama had jumped out and taken the babies into the coop with her. She is now snuggled on the floor with them and our Silkies in the coop. I brought the kennel into the coop and left the page wire attached to it, with the hopes that in the morning the babies will have somewhere to go that's mostly safe from the bigger hens. Do you think this is okay or should I not take the chance and just move her into the dog kennel and close it off tonight? I don't want to wake up to find the chicks have been pecked to death by the bigger ones. On the other hand it is getting colder and colder at night so having the extra bodies (the Silkies) probably is a good thing for mama at least.

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011
  2. BooBear

    BooBear Chicken Cuddler

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    Oct 7, 2010
    Conroe, Texas
    As long as the chicks have a safe zone that they can get to that the big birds can't they should be alright.

    My broody pen is basically a corner sectioned off inside the coop where all the big birds can see and watch the babies. The babies are safely introduced this way and the flock never associate the mommas from being away from the flock. Around the 3rd/4th week (I like to wait for this time when the chicks have more stamina to keep up with mom and are able to move fast when they need to) I let the momma and chicks wonder outside of their pen but make it easy for them to return. About this time the rest of the flock are used to the chicks smells and sounds so they pretty much have already accepted them. Once the pen is taken down I just make sure that there are obsticals that allow the babies to get away from any big chicken if they need to. Normally the mommas take good care and keep others from messing with their babies.

    By managing my broodies this way integration for the chicks has been really easy for me.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2011

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