When do I incorporate the chicks?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rcentner, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    I have kind of a dilemma. My coop is split in half, chicks with broody hens on one side and the flock in the rest (of varying ages from 6months old to 2-3yrs old). In the chick side there is a banty hen that hatched out 5 chicks (some standard size) and 1 wyandotte hen that hatched out 2 chicks. The chicks are 2 weeks apart. the chicks are 10wks and 8 wks old now. The older ones go outside into the run but the younger chicks and thier mama don't go out into the run yet.

    The banty hen is no longer interested in her chicks and desperately wants to be with the flock. The wyandotte hen still keeps her 2 under her wing at night on the roost and still cares for them. Both hens are laying eggs again.

    I desperatly need more room for the flock and want to take down the divider which means introducing the chicks to the flock. The banty hen is low on the pecking order and will not protect her chicks from the flock, but some of her chicks are as big as she is. The wyandotte is higher on the order and looks like she will still be defensive.

    so I wonder:

    1) is it too early to introduce the chicks? (my flock is about 20 hens with 4 roos)
    2) will the youngest chicks have a better chance while they are still attached to their mama?
    3) do I wait until the young chicks dont need thier mama anymore?

    there are cockerals (atleast 3, maybe 4) in the chicks and I worry that the older roos will know and not be nice...hate to push the envelope since my 4 roos all get along well.
    I know some people dont separate chicks and broodies at all, but I am not free range either. I wonder if the limited space makes them more likely to pick on the young.
     
  2. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    I do not separate broodys from the flock so I am not sure but I will be watching.
     
  3. tagra123

    tagra123 Out Of The Brooder

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    The mama should take care of protecting them, try introducing them at atime you can take care if things get out of hand,
     
  4. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I introduced them today and things went pretty darn good! The mama decided to do her own thing and all the babies were hanging out together. I felt bad cause one of the babies still really wants to be with mama.
    no injuries today and I saw all the chicks eat and drink when the elders started to roost. I hope tomorrow goes just as well...I am super surprised at my roos, they dont seem to care and I was worried the most about the roos picking on the chicks
     
  5. Liamm_1

    Liamm_1 Chillin' With My Peeps

    perhaps because they've been sharing the space, just a divider separating them, but they're all used to each other? I just today moved 12 6-week old chicks into the coop, divided by chicken wire from the 5 20-week olds that have been in there since about age 4 weeks. I'm hoping that by the time they are fully integrated, they will already be used to each other.
     
  6. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tucson
    rcentner--good going! The instincts of these chickens are smarter and stronger than many here think! If left to their own the mothers & chicks KNOW what to do!

    You did the right thing! Momma hen would have protected her chicks if she felt they were in danger.

    Congratulations on your flock!!
     
  7. oesdog

    oesdog Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ireland
    My chicks only went to the BIG girl pen when they were 12 weeks old. Momma Hen still decided to brood them though up to 18 weeks when she couldn;t get on top of them anymore.

    Sadly we had to get rid of two roos now cause well they were getting on top of her too much!!!!!!! [​IMG]

    Oesdog - [​IMG]
     
  8. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There are a couple of reasons that it is best NOT to introduce chicks into the flock before they are 16-20 weeks of age. (I know plenty of people on the BYC do it, but that doesn't make it right or the best thing to do).

    1. Safety of the chicks. You've not had a problem with that so it seems. Alot depends on the breed of chickens being kept as well as the space available. Free-ranging does make a difference to some degree.

    The most important reason is.......

    2. Disease. Old birds have more than likely been introduced through their environment to different diseases the young birds have not. Introducing young birds too soon before they are fully developed can be a death sentence.

    Again, plenty of folks on here will say: this has never happened to me. Ask them the question how many years they've had their flock. When the answer is 3 or less then what they say is believable, but they are no experts! Ask those of us who have had birds in the same place for 40 years and we will tell you a different story.
     
  9. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:well, I dont mean to be rude, but could have used your advice last week [​IMG]
    as far as disease...they have all been in the same coop sharing diseases since the chicks were hatched (technically before they hatched) . And...I already have CRD and the entire flock is on a treatment regimen for that already. so disease is unfortunatly already an issue (but not really cause they are all doing well on their treatment).
    If I had gotten these chicks from somewhere else and wanted to keep them from getting the MG then I would have had to keep them in a separate coop and would have never introduced them.
    so good point for others to heed...I got myself into trouble with the MG (CRD) by introducing adult birds that appeared to be healthy at the time. (after I quarantined and everything)

    The chicks are doing very well and my flock amazes me still, they survived day #2 with the elders just fine and are eating a drinking and moving around. They have figured out all the ins and outs of the coop (literally).
     
  10. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry I was late.
     

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