letting a hen hatch chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lablover, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

    572
    9
    124
    Apr 7, 2012
    I have 5 hens and rooster. There coop is a 4x8 chicken tractor. If I decide to let a hen hatch her eggs sometime next spring, I want to be prepared. I've read that a lot of people separate the hen and the chicks. When would you separate them? Where would you put them? When would you introduce them to the flock. I've also read that some people just keep the chicks in with the flock. I assume though that those people have a big coop, and plenty of room for the chicks to be protected.
     
  2. thebanthams

    thebanthams Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,570
    33
    163
    Jun 12, 2010
    Safford, Arizona
    I am seperated two of mine now. I have silkies and several different breeds like Dominique and Buff orpington like to eat their eggs, when they hatched they killed the babies. so that was the last straw for me ! each of my silkies have 10 chickies each! (variety breeds)
     
  3. Cochaura

    Cochaura Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    3
    91
    Oct 4, 2011
    East Central Minnesota
    If we could have left them all together, we would have. We were expecting 10 eggs to hatch at most, and 19 did so we had to improvise. We put the hen and chicks in a separate small cage in the coop for a couple weeks, then ended up moving momma and babies into our basement. Momma has been back with the others for quite awhile now and the chicks stayed in our basement until we converted an old shed into a coop. We haven't integrated them yet, but they have been seen each other when they are outside.
    If your current chickens are only inside to roost, space won't be so much of an issue. We haven't had ours out when we aren't home due to predation a few months ago. I was worried both about the other hens being able to get away from momma protecting her chicks and about space for the chicks to run around.
     
  4. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

    572
    9
    124
    Apr 7, 2012
    Well the coop is attached to a 14x14 pen made of chicken wire and covered in netting. The chickens currently spend most of the day in that run. I turn them out in the afternoon, but if I had chicks, I would probably leave them out all day.

    So would the mother hen just stay in the coop with the chicks?
     
  5. Cochaura

    Cochaura Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    3
    91
    Oct 4, 2011
    East Central Minnesota
    If I could have kept them in the coop longer, advice I've read suggested they have a little separate blocked off area in the coop so they can have their own chick feed and water. . You could just take the hen out once or twice so she can go do her thing, or open it up and let them all outside. We brought the chicks out with the hen after only a few days. It was kind of a circus, since their cage opened from the top, we put all the chicks in a box and carried momma out, took all the chicks out of the box and away they went. When momma was ready to go back in the coop, she would walk them all over to the box:)
     
  6. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,885
    2,533
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I like to let hen brood chicks until she quits clucking (usually about 5 weeks).
     
  7. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    195
    216
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    You have to do what you are comfortable with. There are advantages/disadvantages with either way of doing it. I was prepared to do it either way when my current broody started. The grow out tractor coop was cleaned and ready to use. I went with letting them grow up with the flock. Both because I have the space and to avoid the introduction problem. But I have the problem of making my run chick escape proof. Those little chicks seem to find all the holes. If I were to do it by separating the broody. I would separate her while she was setting on the eggs. I would have made sure that after they were hatched and out and about with mom the grow out tractor would be in sight of the run. When the chicks were fully feathered I would have connected it with the run and opened the door and let them mingle at will. At least that was my broad plan for a separated brood.
     
  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Chicken Obsessed

    17,885
    2,533
    466
    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Make perimeter of tractor porous to chicks. If predator control good, then all should be fine.
     
  9. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,418
    195
    216
    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    How about porous to kittens Still not sure how she got in there. My cats leave the older chickens alone, but unescorted chicks. Who knows.
    [​IMG]
     
  10. Cochaura

    Cochaura Chillin' With My Peeps

    113
    3
    91
    Oct 4, 2011
    East Central Minnesota
    You could put a layer of hardware cloth around the bottom foot or so to try to help keep the kittens out
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by