Integrating mama and chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by tjmings, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. tjmings

    tjmings Chirping

    Aug 3, 2015
    I have a broody that hatched three silkies. I decided to move them to a separate coop as I was afraid some of my bigger hens would step on the littles as my room is a little limited. They are just over three weeks old and mama is getting very antsy. Every time I open the coop door she tries to escape. I did try putting her back in with the other hens and it wasn't pretty. The hens that were on the lower end of the pecking order have decided she is not moving back to her place closer to the top. I took her out and put her back in with her chicks. I'm not sure when will be the best time to put mama and her chicks back in with the others. I know she is ready but I am worried about how the establishing of the pecking order might go with the chicks so little. Any advice is appreciated!
  2. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Songster

    Aug 4, 2013
    Midwest America
    Do you ever free-range? If so, that might help the situation as that gives everyone more room.

    Generally, I let a hen with chicks out to free range with the others starting around the time the chicks are 1-2 weeks old. I start later in the day so they are only out an hour or so and I stay close by to monitor how things go. Over the course of the next week or two, I gradually increase the time the are allowed to free range, while also decreasing the amount of time I stand guard. Each night they still go back into their own pen. Eventually (around 4-6 weeks) mama hen starts leading them into the main coop at night. Once that happens, I let them stay there at night and consider them fully integrated.

    If you do not have a free-ranging situation, you will likely need to set up a different integration plan. You can start with the "look but don't touch" method. Keep them in the same area but provide a barrier so everyone can see each other, but not have access to one another for a couple weeks or so. Then allow them access to one another. I would start access to one another later in the day so there is less time for them to squabble.

    Anyone else have any thoughts?

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