Putting chicks together

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by tinakevin, Apr 5, 2017.

  1. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 chicks that have 3 mamas. They have all been in separate areas.
    Here's my question. They are 4 weeks old today. Still with the mamas. Can I put them all together now in 1 pen without them killing each other or are they too old.
    I would not be putting the mamas in with them.
     
  2. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I'd strongly suggest leaving the chicks with their respective mothers until the mother decides that she's had enough of them. That way, you can be confident that they keep themselves sufficiently warm and also avoid stressing both mother and chicks.

    When I've raised chicks with broody hens, I just let the mothers get on things. I find that chicks are perfectly integrated into the main flock that way and require no special treatment / segregation.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Is there a reason why you wouldn't just let all three broody hens merge together with their chicks? Seems you would accomplish what you want and it wouldn't frustrate three broodies, which no one really should want to do.
     
  4. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The chicks likely wont hurt eachother.

    The moms will likely fight.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Often multiple broodies work well together to hatch and raise chicks. Often broodies will imprint on their own chicks and chicks imprint on a certain broody so multiple broodies can raise their own chicks in the same general area and ignore each other, especially if they have enough room to stay separate. As always, I think room has a lot to do with chicken behaviors.

    But I have seen broody hens fight over eggs just as they were hatching and destroy some of the eggs. Broody hens sometimes fight over the chicks, wanting to take them all over. Something I’ve never seen myself but others on here I trust have posted is that a broody hen might try to kill another broody hen’s chicks.

    While it is possible the hens and chicks would be OK if you put them together in that pen, I personally would not risk it. I just don’t see any benefit in it, especially if they pen is not huge so the broodies can keep their chicks well apart.

    Tinakevin, I see that you are in New Hampshire. Thanks for posting that so I don’t have to ask. It helps with this answer. You don’t know how chicks will behave at four weeks or any other age when you try to integrate them. I once had a two week old chick with a broody hen kill its hatchmate. No integration involved, it just decided to kill its hatchmate. You cannot predict how chickens will behave. That’s the nature of living animals. Some people like to say with absolute certainty that things will happen one way and only one way. I’m not one of those. We can often tell you what will normally happen but I’ve seen too many exceptions to what I recommend to ever give any guarantees.

    I don’t know what your weather will be like in the next week or so. I don’t know what the coop and pen look like where you want to put them. At four weeks old chicks that have been raised outside with a broody should be able to stand pretty cold temperatures, they have acclimated. If they can get out of the wind and weather when they want to they will probably do OK. But thinking where you are and the time of year, I’d be a lot more comfortable at five weeks. So if you can stand it, I’d suggest you wait another week.

    You could let the broody hens wean their chicks before you try to integrate the chicks. That could be this week, it could be another month and a half or more. I would not do that. When I decided to put the five chicks together, I’d put them all together at the same time. You have three different groups that probably do not know each other. They will have to work out a pecking order so have them do that at the same time. You could possible try to house them side by side for a week before you let them together but I would not. I’d put them all together at the same time when I could watch to see how they behave, probably a weekend for you. Be prepared to intervene and isolate a chick if it gets bloody, but otherwise let them work it out.

    I would not worry about stressing a hen by taking her chicks away from her. Chickens by nature are prey animals. Broody hens do have a very strong attachment to their chicks, but they quickly get over it if they lose their chicks and get back to the business of laying more eggs and maybe hatching some more. Other prey animals behave much the same way. If they lose their young they get over it pretty quickly. It’s a survival of the species adaption. It does not have any bad long-term effects, they will not have any long term emotional effects. If possible, try to house the chicks where the broody hens cannot see them for a couple of days. That should make the break cleaner.

    Since they are not used to being together, I’m not sure what the chicks sleeping arrangements will be. They may huddle together the first night, they may not. I’d check on them as it is getting dark to see where they are sleeping and move them to where you want them to sleep. You might need to do this for several nights until they finally get the message.

    This is all just my opinion. Others obviously have different opinions and experiences.

    My personal preference would have been to give all the hatching eggs to one hen and break the others from being broody at the start. Or if I did wind up with chicks hatching at the same time I’d give all the chicks to one hen to raise and break the others. That way you avoid all this uncertainty and drama. I’m not criticizing you, there are plenty of other people that do exactly what you did and just deal with it in their own ways. We are all unique.

    Good luck!
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you all for your advice. I love this site because of all the great members and the knowledge you have. let me explain why i did what i did. when i had 3 broody hens ( 2 of which are silkies) i had intended for them to all hatch in the coop together. The weather was nice and i figured the mamas could handle them and keep them warm. BUT and a big but is that the weather decided that it was going to get down to the negatives the week that the babies were hatched. so i decided to bring them all in the house just for the week and let them continue back into the coop after that. when i brought them in the house i didn't have room for all three mamas and chicks so i had them in separate kennels. they could still see each other and hear each other. the weather didn't break for 2 weeks so they were still in the house. when the weather finally broke and i could put them outside i had a family emergency down in North Carolina and my hubby was taking care of the chicks and mama so there went another week in the house. when i got home i put them out in the coop. when i tried to put them there the other hens went after the chicks because unfortunately the chicks were not growing up with them and mama couldnt handle the other hens. So back into the separate kennels but outside in the coop.They are all good. I put my one cochin and her 2 babies in the brooder and she has access to the outside run but separated from the rooster and other large hens. They can see but not touch. My 2 silkies are in the bantam side of the coop but unfortunately the chicks and mamas cant be in the actual coop because of the hens. so my idea was to take the mamas out of the equation and put all of the baby chicks in the brooder with access to the outside in their private run within the run so the other hens could get used to them. These chicks will be large fowl. I am getting baby chicks next week and they will be brooded inside as i usually do then hopefully the chicks i have now will be big enough to integrate with the other hens. I am also getting another coop that we are waiting until good weather to get. I hope this make sense to you all. I do have enough room. It just didn't work out like i planned it too. LOL
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Yeah, I’m certainly not criticizing you. Life has the way of getting in the way of any plans we make. I kept my chicks in the brooder (built into the coop) two weeks longer than I normally do because life got in the way. As I sometimes say I don’t have “ideal” conditions, I have conditions “I deal” with.
     
  8. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh I def didn't think u were critizing me. I'm not that sensitive lol. I appreciate everyone's opinion. That's how we learn I usually brood inside but I thought I'd try hens this time. I will try again sometime. I always feel bad for the broodies.
     
  9. tinakevin

    tinakevin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Now my babies are 5 1/2 weeks old. The mothers no longer want the chicks with them so is it ok to put all the chicks together without too much fuss or is it too late. 3 of them have been in the same coop but have 2 different mothers and 2 of them have been in a different coop
     

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