planning for adding new chicks to an existing flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nxd10, Feb 18, 2012.

  1. nxd10

    nxd10 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 5, 2011
    I have five hens who we got last April 1. They are laying well, and this is a good number for us.

    Because laying declines over time, I was planning on getting five new chicks in late March. When the new hens start laying (July/August), we will be eating the older hens. This will also allow me to get rid of two silver laced Wynadottes who lay funky eggs (edible, but crinkly, asymmetrical, or thin - it seems to be a genetic problem).

    So from March until late summer, we'll have two cohorts of hen. My current hens include a Buff Orpington, a Dominique, two Wynadottes, and what looks to be a Barred Rock (I had bought two Dominiques, but the second has a straight comb and looks like a Barred). The Wynadottes are aggressive, the other hens not really. .

    I'm not sure how to go about this but was hoping ffor advice. I was planning on raising the chicks inside for six weeks, like I did last year, then moving them outside. They will not be as big as the older hens at this point.

    Everyone seems to use these words differently, so let me just explain how I'm using them. I have a henhouse, which is the wooden structure the hens sleep in. I have a large chicken run that is entirely closed (including fencing under the ground).

    I do not want to build a second run - it's expensive. I could add on a second temporary henhouse onto the run and divide the run for the duration. I could also divide the run, let them look at each other until the younger hens get to a decent size and they seem to be used to each other, then remove the barrier.

    I am assuming I can't add the day-old chicks to a hen and have her defend them. None of my birds have been particularly broody.

    Any thoughts?

    P.S. I'm adding two Orps and three Dominiques - my best layers and sweetest birds.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    No, ordinarily you can't add chicks to a hen unless she is broody. However, even if none of your hens went broody last year, it's still possible one will this year. This seems to happen more often in spring or early summer. Of course this would be the easiest way to raise new chicks. If not, it sounds like you have a workable plan for brooded chicks, with the second henhouse and divided run.

    This is a good article on integration; perhaps something will be useful to you.
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  3. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    You might get a broody out of the orpington, if you are patient. If so, you have it made, just order your chicks to come between 15-21 days after she went broody, slip the chicks under her at night, and she will handle the whole thing!

    If not, you have to separate for nearly 4 months.

    I had a BO. She did a fantastic job! She is gone now, and I spend this part of the year, praying I get a broody! mrsK

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