When to introduce babies to big hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Jennyo, Aug 8, 2011.

  1. Jennyo

    Jennyo Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2009
    We have 3 Welsummer chicks (about 10 days old) who are currently in a run next to the main run with their mom. Mom is getting a bit agitated about being in the smaller run (even though they have plenty of space), and regularly escapes, only to start panicking that she's not with the babies. It's the first time we've had chicks, so I don't know at what age it's suggested that you introduce the babies to the rest of the flock during the day. I'm worried that as they're still so small the big girls might attack them. We did let mom and babies out into the main run yesterday when we'd let the others out completely, but she tried getting them to eat from the big feeder (Grandpa's feeder) and we were worried that one of the babies might get hurt by it (e.g. decapitated!), so cut short the experiment.

    I was reading elsewhere that people who have chicks without a natural mother keep them indoors for weeks. Presumably it's okay to have ours outside, is it? They seem to be thriving!
    Thanks,
    Jenny
     
  2. RHRanch

    RHRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    You need to keep your birds on a heat lamp and in a secure place until they are feathered out - I think you lower the temp in the brooder about 10 degrees per week or something like that. I have been doing it so long that I just raise the lamp every week, start turning it off during the day, etc,. to wean them off, so I no longer use a thermometer. lol I never introduce young birds to adult birds until they are at least 2/3rds thier adult size, feathered out, and capable of running away if the older hens get mean with them (which they always do, lol) If they are with thier mom, no heat lamp needed, just keep mom and chicks in a secure run away from the other hens until babies are as big as I described above.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011
  3. Opa

    Opa Opa-wan Chickenobi

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    With most large fowl breeds 14 weeks is probably a safe age to introduce them to the flock.
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Chicks being raised by a broody / mama do not need heat. I let my mamas raise their chicks with the flock, usually from day one, or a few days leter when they all obviously want to be with the flock. Just feed everyone grower or flock raiser and offer oyster shell separately. The mama should protect her chicks, and generally the roo will help, or at least stay out of the way. When I have young chicks I just hang one feeder lower than the other and make a couple of steps to the waterer.

    If you force the chicks to stay separate, the mama will get back with her flock, or at least stop mothering the chicks and want to go back, then you will need to raise the chicks separately til around 14 weeks or full size. IMO what this mama wants is to take her chicks to the flock.
     
  5. new chick 203

    new chick 203 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My broody has raised her girls to about 11 weeks now. I've been trying to integrate them for a week now and it's not going well so far. The mama lost her place in the order and I do wonder what would have happened if I had left them together.
     

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