Introducing 2 broodies and their chicks to each other?

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by NapsWithChickens, Mar 28, 2009.

  1. NapsWithChickens

    NapsWithChickens ZZZZzzzzz....

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    Hi All! [​IMG]

    Not quite sure where this question goes, but seeing as my chicks are under two weeks old, I thought I'd start here...

    I have a lovely Cuckoo Marans hen, Tango, who has recently hatched 5 gorgeous Black Copper Marans eggs for me. She's got her own coop and secure run for her babies.

    I have a very sweet Splash Wyandotte, Iris, who has just hatched 3 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 3 Golden Laced Cochin babies. They were in one of my gianormous dog crates (I have German Shepherds) in the kitchen, but they need fresh air... more room... and so do I!

    I have moved the crate with Iris and the chicks into the secure run attached to Tango's coop. I jerry-rigged a flight cage to the open dog crate door so that Iris and the chicks could get out of the crate, but be separate from Tango and her babies. This isn't a long term solution by any means ~ Iris is probably dying for a dirt bath and needs to stretch her legs.

    So... I want to figure out how to house the two broodies with their chicks in the same space. How do I do it?

    I figure that the mommas can see and hear each other and the other chicks. If I do this for a few days, can I let them together? It would be difficult to partition off half the run and I can't divide up the coop (Both are big and roomy, but impossible to partition.).

    I've never hatched eggs before, never had broodies before and I've always raised my chicks in the house. Our weather is very temperate right now (in California)... it was in the 70's today and is due to stay warm.

    Suggestions? I'd really love some help with this one. Half of my chicks are living high on the hog and the other half are stuck as poor cousins.

    Thanks!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Tango with the "Bubbas": Leroy, Ralph, Earl, Wayne and Frank

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Iris with the "C Vegetables" (my daughter's idea, what can I say?): Cucumber, Carrot, Chard, Corn, Cabbage and Celery
     
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    When I was a kid we tried to put two mammas and their chicks together. They fussed at each other/and each other's chicks for a while and the chicks would run under both mamas but they ended up getting along OK.

    They eventually "separated" to opposite sides of the coop and one hen ended up with only two chicks and I think she felt cheated.

    Weird huh?
     
  3. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    I think it would greatly depend on what breed the mamas are, and what their temperament is. I had a lot of mama hens at the same time last fall, and they would try their best to kill another mama's chicks if they got too close. The mama's were OEGB and OEG mostly, so that might have had something to do with it. Now I have silkies with chicks, and they could care less it seems, so it really depends on the above 2 factors. You can try it the way that you said, just be prepared to seperate them if they start trouble.
     
  4. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    I really feel your pain on this one. I had two broodies at the exact same time. One was setting on dud eggs - the other hatched out five. When the last two of hers pipped, I slid them under the other broody. So one has 2 babies, and one has 3. They are exactly the same age. The mamas are great with all babies - but they try to kill each other every time I let them around each other. And it all starts with one of them calling the babies for food and ALL chicks run to the one calling. That really erks the other mother and then all h-e-double-hockey-sticks breaks lose. I honestly believe these mamas would fight each other to the death.

    I have a small coop and was able to section off the area under the nest boxes into two cages - with wire between them so the mamas and babies can see each other. The mamas still try to get at each other through the wire, but they can't do anymore than occasionally read a feather with their beak.

    The chicks are now 3 weeks old and I've started letting one of the mamas and her babies out into the coop during the day. There is no problem with any of the rest of the flock being around the babies - it's just the two mamas! I'm hoping the one I let out will start taking her babies into the yard in the next week or so, and then I can start letting the other out into the coop with her babies.

    Sorry for the long post. I guess I really don't have a solution for you, but wanted you to know you are not alone in your dilemma! Are your nest boxes up off the ground with space beneath them you can fence in by any chance? Here are a couple pics of the setup I made - not great, but it's working for now.

    [​IMG]

    There is wire in the middle that separates the two pens.

    [​IMG]

    Best of luck!
    Penny
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    If you wished, you could give all the chicks to one hen and break the other from being broody by separating her from the others for several days. Just a thought.
     
  6. NapsWithChickens

    NapsWithChickens ZZZZzzzzz....

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    Well, here's what I ended up doing....

    I brought the Marans broody & chicks in the dog crate into the chicken run that the other broody and her chicks were living in (they also were in the attached coop). I alternated letting one group out into the run and kept the other one confined.

    Then tried both at the same time and had broodies pecking at the other chicks. Not good.

    Then I divided up my run sort of like basicliving did. It was pretty clunky, but kept the groups apart. I got tired of the set up after almost a week, even though it worked, and I took the barrier down bit by bit... while I stayed in the run with them. Surprisingly little drama.

    I had a divided coop for them by then... the first night I shooed a group into each side and closed them up until morning. From then on, the hens and chicks coexisted nicely (only a peck here and there - nothing very nasty) - sharing the run during the day and dividing up for the night.

    I was very relieved that it all worked out! Whew!
     
  7. basicliving

    basicliving Keepin' the sunny side up

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    NapsWithChickens - I'm so glad it worked out for you. My dividers were very clunky too - but I did spring cleaning a couple of weeks ago and took advantage of the empty coop and built a decent "pen" - when/if I get another broody, she will go straight in there and I also have it available as an "infirmary" for injured/convalescing chickens.

    I wish I had thought of building a couple of pens in the coop when we first built the coop! Live and learn!

    Glad it all worked out. Thanks for the update.

    Penny
     

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