Need help with new babies and reintroduction to flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Elphaba2140, Jul 8, 2011.

  1. Elphaba2140

    Elphaba2140 Chillin' With My Peeps

    486
    2
    121
    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Illinois
    I have a couple of surprise July 4th babies. Mom was sitting on eggs I had no idea were fertile but two hatched earlier this week. I wanted to protect them from the main flock so for a couple of days I put a small dog kennel in front of the nest. I posted a question about what to do with them but got no answers. After reading lots of old threads, I decided to take her and the chicks and put them into a large kennel just outside the pen. Everyone can see and hear each other. She had been great I think for a first time mommy. My coop is raised with a ramp to get in but I am worried about the babies. I have two top hens (Leghorn sisters) that rule the coop with an iron beak. The broody mom was right up there in the pecking order despite the fact she is a bantam. Now I want to put them all back together. We are building a new coop but it won't be done for a few weeks. Is there a rule of thumb about what age the chicks should be before putting them back with the flock. When would a hen normally introduce her chicks to the flock?

    Here are my choices.

    1) should I put them in the pen and coop I have now? There are about 14 hens-Mixed bantam and the 2-leghorns plus 17 week old cochins, marans, and rock pullets (all on the bottom of the pecking order of course).

    2) put them in with my little guys who never made it to the big pen yet. They too are 17 weeks old - a frizzle cochin, a dizzy Polish pullet, 2 silkies and a Wyandotte pullet that everyone picks on. Most likely the bottom of my entire flock despite her size.

    3) wait until the big coop and pen is done when they will all be together (well that is the plan). I could incorporate a small pen inside the large run so they can get away from the big girls.
     
  2. ayamfeather12

    ayamfeather12 Out Of The Brooder

    15
    0
    22
    Apr 18, 2011
    Although it's not technically joining the flock, I found a couple sources that say the chicks leave the hen at about 3 months.

    "Chicks are fully feathered by four to five weeks of age, are chased out of the nest at about 12 weeks, and reach sexual maturity at about five months." http://www.robinsonlibrary.com/science/zoology/birds/galliformes/g-gallus.htm

    "In
    captivity the period of association with the mother is at least three months, by which time all the down has disappeared from the body except on the chin and upper throat." http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Condor/files/issues/v069n04/p0360-p0386.pdf
     
  3. Gingerlilypad

    Gingerlilypad Out Of The Brooder

    77
    6
    31
    Jun 20, 2011
    Central Mississippi
    The way I do it is to keep them in the cage inside the run for at least 4-6 weeks. That way the whole flock gets to know and accept the babies and Mama doesn't lose her place in the pecking order. By the time you turn them out, then the whole flock will have been by to visit and meet the chicks. Plus the chicks are used to you providing feed and water.

    My mother used to just let the hen and chicks join the flock as soon an the Mama wanted, but I always felt sorry for the babies because so many got picked on.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by