Keeping Chicks with the flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Blackjack1392, Sep 19, 2013.

  1. Blackjack1392

    Blackjack1392 Out Of The Brooder

    49
    2
    26
    Feb 14, 2013
    Jacksonville, Florida
    So I am still fairly new to having chickens at all, just getting mine at the beginning of this year. Everything is good, I raised them from chicks, ect, ect. But one of my hens went broody and for awhile was sitting on nothing. Well I made the mistake to think that since there was nothing there for a week, there never would be. Well 2 weeks later she happened to be out of the nest box when I collected eggs and there were 2 eggs in there. I candled them and according to pics on here, they look like they will be hatching in the next week. So my question is, can I just leave the chicks with their mom and let them run around with my flock? I mean will the mother be able to watch out for them and feed them and stuff?

    Also I have heard that a rooster will kill, and possibly eat, young chicks when they are born. Is this true?
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,622
    4,117
    526
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Hens have been raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years. They are living animals so sometimes things happen. But hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years, usually with absolutely no help from humans.

    I have never seen a dominant rooster do anything to harm a chick. I have seen a dominant rooster help a broody with her chicks. A good dominant rooster takes care of all members of his flock. Not all roosters are good, just like not all broodies are good, but I really don’t worry about a dominant rooster. A non-dominant rooster is no different than a hen.

    Occasionally you will find a hen (or non-dominant rooster) that will go out of her way to harm a chick. Occasionally but really not that often. When that happens Mama usually has such a bad attitude that the hen learns to leave those babies alone.

    What is much more likely to happen is that if a chick leaves Mama’s protection and wanders among the other flock members, an older hen may (or may not) peck that chick to remind it that it is bad chicken etiquette for a chick to invade the personal space of a superior chicken. It’s not an attempt to kill, more of a discipline thing. Mama usually ignores this unless the hen tries to follow the chick. Then Mama whips butt.

    The biggest danger to a chick is if it gets separated from Mama and on the wrong side of a fence and Mama can’t get there to protect it. If that chick gets trapped against a fence and can’t get away, another older chicken may kill it.

    I have broodies hatch and raise chicks with the flock every year. The only problems I’ve had have been from chicks or other broodies. I’ve never had a broody lose a chick to another non-broody adult. I have seen a dominant rooster go take care of the chicks when they get separated from Mama through a fence until Mama figures out the concept of “gate”.

    Not all broodies, roosters, or hens are good so I can’t give you any guarantees. You are dealing with living animals so anything can happen. But hens have been hatching and raising chicks with the flock for thousands of years.

    I do suggest you mark those eggs so you know they belong and check under her daily. It’s possible another hen will lay in that nest with her.
     
  3. Blackjack1392

    Blackjack1392 Out Of The Brooder

    49
    2
    26
    Feb 14, 2013
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Yea that's kinda what I was thinking, I just wanted to make sure. And as for marking the eggs and checking under her, I started doing that like 2 days after I found the eggs under her because I would open the nest boxes in the morning to find other hens in there with her laying eggs lol

    Thanks for the response :)
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by