Multiple New Matches with Different Hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Rooster Don, Apr 24, 2017.

  1. Rooster Don

    Rooster Don Out Of The Brooder

    I have One hatch of 5 chicks with a hen that is close to a month old now.

    I have a Second hatch of 4 chicks with a hen that is a week old.

    I have a Third hatch of 7 chicks with a hen that is 4 days old.

    I have a Fourth hatch that should be hatching any day now.

    I have a Fifth hatch that should be shortly following that hens hatch.

    I accidentally discovered that with our particular flock (20 hens and 1 rooster) that they are very receptive to accepting young chicks earlier then is the normal rule of thumb, I think because they have always had plenty of room to free range and plenty of food, so there has never been a struggle for food or space. I don't know if this is too early to try and incorporate the 1 month old's, it feels too early. BUT, they are in there separate coop.

    I have a second smaller coop separate from the main coop house, then a third smaller coop in the main coop.

    Today I am purchasing two small coops (I found a retired elderly man who builds small coops for dirt cheap), so I will have coops for each of the new hatches.

    However, I now have other hens joining in with this brooding thing (this has never happened to me before in 4 years of raising chickens (having multiple brooding hens at once).

    So I am wondering what happens if you combine two new mother hens with their chicks into one coop? Will they fight and kill the other's chicks? In my first year I had a hen get in with a mother hen and she killed one of the chicks, but she was not a brooding hen with her own chicks, so I know the conditions were different back then.

    I am looking for 'experience advice' now, since this might continue with more hatchings. If people have had good experiences putting multiple hatches together, that would be nice to know.

    These smaller coops do not allow the hen and her chicks to scratch on dirt, and the only way to accommodate them with that luxury is to fence in each coop and provide each coop with a ramp. Doable, but lot's more cost and work. But I DO have temporary fencing I could put up. It would be really cool to put all of the small coops in one area, and fence them all in, then let the chicks out with their mothers, but I don't want to come home and find a bunch of killed chicks when they would all get together.

    I think you are getting my drift now and my goal.

    Thank you for any ideas and suggestions! :)
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    It all depends. As for integrating broody and chicks into the main flock... it all depends. Generally it's easiest to integrate broody and chicks into the flock before the chicks are 2 weeks old. That's when the broody's "Dragon Lady" hormones are at the strongest, and she's not likely to let ANYONE mess with her little precious ones. UNLESS the broody is a wuss at the bottom of the pecking order. Then, all bets are off. As for multiple broodies sharing space... I have no experience with that. It could go well, and they could co-brood, or they could get into a knock down drag out fight and end up killing a good many chicks before they decide who gets the chicks. Ever read the story of King Solomon, and the 2 ladies who presented themselves with one dead baby (who had been smothered by being rolled on during the night) and one live baby, with both mothers claiming the living baby to be her own. Yeah... broodies can be like that.
  3. Rooster Don

    Rooster Don Out Of The Brooder

    Thank you Lazy! So far so good. Both hens and chicks are out and about, and are co-minglng with the adults too. There is peace in chicken land so far. All chicks are staying with their mom with the occasional chick mingling, but not too much.

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