New chick. Not sure how to raise.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by HenOnAJuneBug, Apr 11, 2017.

  1. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a 5-week old chick with her mother in their own coop with run. I've read that chicks are not supposed to eat layer feed until they're about 16 weeks old, so I've had mom and daughter on starter feed since hatching. Will I have to keep doing this for 11 more weeks? I would like to let the chick and mother free range with the others (22 total; 3 roosters, 19 hens), but I don't see how I could keep the chick from getting into their layer feed. Not sure how to handle this.
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Since you also have roosters, I recommend you switch the entire flock over to an all flock feed such as Purina Flock Raiser. As long as you offer the laying hens oyster shell free choice, this will meet their calcium needs.

    Not only should the chick not have layer feed until she's laying eggs, but neither should the roosters. Long term damage to the kidneys may result.

    For this reason, many of us quit feeding layer feed altogether years ago and feed the entire flock an all purpose feed. It beats switching back and forth every time you get new chicks.
     
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  3. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Thank you. I'll do that. I tried to do that a while back, but went back to a layer pellet for some reason. I think it was because I couldn't get the all-flock as pellet. But your suggestion makes great sense and would solve the problem. Another question: When can I realistically let the chick interact with the rest of the flock unsupervised (by me)?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2017
  4. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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  5. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was cleaning the hen's/chick's coop this evening and the mama hen flew out. I figured she'd hang with the other hens for a while and then go back to her baby, but no deal. She's in the main coop now and the baby's alone in its coop. If I had known she would do this, I'd have paid more attention to what she looks like so that I could put her back with the baby. They all look alike to me so baby will be alone tonight. She's about 6 weeks old and seems to have all of her feathers. It will get down to 55 tonight. Will she be OK?.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    This is completely normal. Mama is done raising the chick, and the chick is ready to be independent.

    Usually the broody takes care of integrating the chick into the flock, but you've had them separated so she couldn't do that. You will need to try to do it yourself.

    Put the chick in the flock with the broody and see if she will protect it. Be ready to drive the other chickens away if they look like they want to attack the chick. If the broody drives them away from her chick, then leave the two together with the flock.

    I usually put the broody and her chicks with the flock when the chicks are two weeks old so they can be integrated. Keeping them all separated longer than that makes them strangers.

    You might consider a panic room for the chick so it will have a safe haven from the adults while it grows.
     
  7. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have to keep the chick penned up (with her mother, or now by herself) because the other chickens free range all day, and I'm afraid that my cats might take liberties with such a small bird if she did the same. I have to wait until she gets bigger.
     
  8. chickens really

    chickens really Chicken Obsessed

    My young Chicks free range everyday with the flock...My Cat and the cat from next door would never try to take a Chick..;)......My Rooster and the Hens would attack the Cats...:)


    Cheers!
     
  9. Wendi-N-Jay

    Wendi-N-Jay Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! I read earlier that you have a rooster. When my broody hen was done raising her chicks, about 6 weeks old, she did the same thing. I had a camera in the coop to make sure they would be ok. They seemed to know their place. They tried to roost with big chickens, but were quickly pushed off. They chose to sleep on a lower roosting bar for several weeks before trying again. I did notice the Rooster would always keep an eye on them and if things started to be a little rowdy for him, he would put an end to it. It was hard for me to watch and not want to protect the babies, but I did find, the less I "helped", the faster things seemed to settle down.

    I did introduce rooster to babies, with mamma, at about a week old and was amazed how wonderful he was with them. I let all the chickens be together at about 3 weeks. Between broody and roo, it was a very smooth transition. Like someone mentioned earlier, the longer you try to protect them but keeping them separate, the harder it will become to integrate them.

    I fed my flock starter feed until littles were old enough for layer. I also had a shelf that had some oyster shells to help keep layers full of calcium. The mill I buy my food from doesn't have all purpose feed, but I will have to check into that!!

    Good luck!! ;-)
     
  10. HenOnAJuneBug

    HenOnAJuneBug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks everybody for your comments. Very helpful. I'm tempted to let the chick free range with the others while supervised. I'd be afraid, though, to leave her out unattended because of hawks. So far they haven't bothered the big birds, but a young pullet could be easily snatched. Problem in my mind is how do I get the little girl back in the pen? She's fast and won't let me near.
     

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