Raising chicks with the flock

Craigatcsi

In the Brooder
May 1, 2020
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Omaha
We have 5 hens and two roosters. (Only one roo does the mating.)
Anyway, if one of my hens goes broody, can she raise her chicks in the same coop and run? I am concerned about the other chickens hurting / killing them.
 

SueT

Crossing the Road
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If the broody is top hen, then it will work. My only hen that goes broody is near the bottom of the pecking order so she gets separated (in a see-no-touch setup) until the chicks are older.
How old are you birds? What kind(s)? Have any gone broody before?
 

Folly's place

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It's best to isolate the broody hen, but still in the coop. If other hens keep invading her nest and laying eggs, it will disturb her, possibly break eggs, and unless you have marked her eggs the day she starts brooding, she will have eggs hatching at different times, with fewer survivors.
After a week or so, the chicks will be strong and follow mama, and then it's generally safe to open their area to the flock as everyone free ranges, and they can all meet. If mama is a low ranking hen, maybe a bit more time so the chicks are even stronger. She should be very determined to protect them, and the flock should steer clear of her and the babies, at least for a while. The chicks will grow up already integrated into the flock, easy.
Layer feed is not good for them! Switch to an all flock feed, or a grower, with separate oyster shell, while she's brooding.
Mary
 

Sonya9

Crowing
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Feb 7, 2014
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The hen can raise them with the flock, that is one of the best things about having a mama hen raise the babies BUT they should be in a separate pen (within the coop) to protect the eggs when she is sitting on the nest and the first few days after the chicks hatch. Moving her nest can be tricky so do it as early as possible, and even give her dud eggs the first 2-3 days until she settles in the new nest before giving her hatching eggs.

You should also have a decent sized run (more than 10 sq ft per bird) as the mamas are very protective and want others to stay back when she has them out and about.

My broodies take the babies into the main run and mix with the flock when they are about a week old, there are a few dishes of all-flock feed or game bird feed and they all eat that.
 
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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
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can she raise her chicks in the same coop and run?

People have been doing that for thousands of years. Can it be done? Well, yes, it has been done. Is it the best way for you to approach it? That might depend on your circumstances.

It's generally best for incubating and hatching if you have a relatively large coop and a few nests. You can still have issues but you can have issues if you try to isolate a hen too. More room and nests seems to reduce those issues.

It's generally easier for a broody hen to raise chucks with the flock if she has room to work with. The more room the better. For thousands of years that was generally free ranging, all kinds of room. Now we tend to keep them in runs, sometimes pretty small runs. I find the time extra room is most valuable is after a broody hen weans her chicks and leaves them on their own to make their own way with the flock. The broody will handle basic integration but they still have to handle their own pecking order issues as they grow. That's where extra room is most valuable.

A mature rooster generally does not harm young chicks. He considers them his even if they don't look anything like him if he is introduced to them while they are relatively young. He is much more likely to help Mama take care of them than harm them. I don't worry about a mature dominant rooter at all. Your non-dominant run might be a bit more iffy, not sure.

Very seldom will another adult hen go out of her way to attack a small chick. Some do but not many. What more often happens is that a young chick leaves Mama's protection and invades the personal space of another adult hen. That hen pecks the chick to teach it that it is bad manners to bother other adults. The chick runs back to Mama and has learned a lesson in flock manners. Mama generally ignores that. Occasionally though a hen may chase that chick after she pecks it. My broody hens immediately go into protective mode and kick butt. Some people say their broody hens won't protect their chicks. I've never seen that but I'm sure it happens. I'd also expect her to handle that non-dominant rooster if he caused problems. Nobody wants to mess with a mad broody hen. She just has a nasty attitude.
 

Folly's place

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Sep 13, 2011
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Mine start going out with the flock while they are free ranging, so plenty of space. Usually the broody hen stays in the run or coop area with her chicks for another few days, until the chicks can easily hop over the door sills, while the main flock is mostly outside. She maintains space where flockmates aren't welcome.
Mary
 

Craigatcsi

In the Brooder
May 1, 2020
7
16
21
Omaha
Thanks folks. If one goes broody, we do have a separate coop / run connected to our main run by a 2 foot square door. The small run is 4 foot by 9 foot. The ’coop’ for that run is really just an oversized nesting box 24” x 12”, which has an open doorway, that can’t be shut at night.
 

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