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Two chick questions (Leaving mum, and mixing hatches)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by BigRedNZ, Nov 16, 2012.

  1. BigRedNZ

    BigRedNZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2011
    We've had great fun using our broody RIRs to hatch some eggs, even took them to school in a box for the kids... great fun.

    Questions though.

    1. When do you typically seperate the chicks from mum (if at all?). We're hatching the eggs for a friend who's starting a coop and will take them as soon as they're big enough (any ideas when?)

    2. The second set of eggs, under another bird, are due today (about 3-4 weeks behind the first). When can you combine both chick flocks, if at all? Will one hen surrogate the other chicks? Or will competition get to great and just not worth the effort?

    Currently we've got the chicks and mum off on the lawn in a separate A-frame free to range, but can't mingle with the other two adults due to the normal area's perimeter chicken fence.

    Any advice would be appreciated, I've cruised the forum and the learning center and still not sure.

    Thanks
     
  2. Animol

    Animol Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 8, 2012
    England
    1) When the mum stops sitting on them and acting like a mum and usually around the time you can take them away, if you don't they will either drift apart naturally or go around in a little group for the rest of their lives. Technically chicks can be taken away at any time but need the mums heat or a heat lamp for the first 4-5 weeks of life. It depends on how many chicks there are as to when you can give them to your friend, if there are lots you can give them her/him as soon as the Mum leaves them, if not them I'd wait until their almost fully feathered to give them away since its winter.
    2) When mixing two broody mothers and chicks it can go either way depending on their personality and broodyness. I would at least wait until the second batch of chicks are a week old before attempting any mingling. After that you can try putting them in togeather, in worst case scenario the mums will fight and chicks will be killed in the process, otherwise hens may surrogate anothers chicks and get along fine, it isn't impossible for this to happen. Basically you can try, keep watch for the first day or two, if they fight seperate them and if not then let them be.
     
  3. fallchick57

    fallchick57 Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 17, 2011
    I HAVE BETTER SUCCESS WITH THE CHICKS HEALTH, WHEN i TAKE THEM EARLY, AND KEEP THEM UNDER LIGHTS. SOMETIMES i FIND THEM SUFFOCATED, BY ACCIDENT AND WISH i'D TAKEN IT. iF THERE ARE OTHER BROODY HENS AROUND THEY MAY FIGHT OVER IT TOO.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    1. When do you typically seperate the chicks from mum (if at all?). We're hatching the eggs for a friend who's starting a coop and will take them as soon as they're big enough (any ideas when?)

    It depends on your friend's set-up and what they are willing to do. You can take them away as soon as they hatch as long as they are willing to do the brooder thing. Or you can wait untl the broody weans them. They should be OK on their own then.

    I never keep a broody and her chicks separated from the flock except for the first couple of days so the chicks learn to eat and drink on their own without interference from the older hens. I know separating them like that is not necessary but I like to do it. Dad never separated them at all.

    I've had broodies wean their chicks anywhere from 3 weeks old to 9 weeks. Weather has something to do with that timing but the individual broodies are different too. By the time the broody weans them, they should be able to handle the weather on their own.

    2. The second set of eggs, under another bird, are due today (about 3-4 weeks behind the first). When can you combine both chick flocks, if at all? Will one hen surrogate the other chicks? Or will competition get to great and just not worth the effort?

    Like Animol said, about anything can happen. The two broodies may keep their chicks totally separated. They may fight over the chicks even with that age difference. They may combine the chicks and peacefully raise them together. They are living animals. It's really hard to say what will actually happen in any specific case.
     
  5. BigRedNZ

    BigRedNZ Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 19, 2011
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. We're still very new, and the only chick owners we know that've done anything other than buy pullets.

    Selfishly keeping them separated from the remainder (only 2 hens, 1 barnie and 1 post menopausal shaver) so that the kids can play and interact with them etc. (good for the spring weed growth too)

    But looks like, as always, no hard and fast rules and common sense prevails.

    Thanks.
     

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