When to put the Mother hen and chicks with the older hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sunshynertc, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. sunshynertc

    sunshynertc Out Of The Brooder

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    I had a broody buff orpington hen that I bought some fertile eggs. None hatched (after 25 days) but I slipped 3 one day old chicks under her and took away the eggs. The chicks are 3 weeks old. I have the mother hen and the three chicks in the separate area to the five other hens (they are 7 months old). How old do the baby chicks have to be to put them with the adult hens? I do not have a rooster. The breeds I have are Wyandottes, Buff Orpingtons, and Ameraucana hens.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    A rooster would not be a problem, generally. They tend to ignore or protect chicks; it is the hens who attack them.

    Some people prefer to let the mama raise the chicks in with the flock frim hatch day, and let the broody protect them. This way, they are already acccepted into the fllock when the mama stops mothering them. At this point, the safest time is when the chicks are the same size as the rest of the flock.

    One method some use is let them all mix -- expecially if they have lots of space and hiding places -- and have a place that only the chicks can get into, by the size of the opening into it. Put the chick food and water in there.

    Once they are all together, feed everyone chick feed for the first 18 weeks, to prevent harming the chicks' organs. Put out a little oyster shell separately for any aying hens who feel the need for some extra calcium.
     
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:
    Good advice. Roosters don't in my experience harm chicks. Hens on the other hand expect all chicks to recognize and respect the established pecking order. Hens with small chicks also seem to have a preferred place in chicken society and anyway, these hens will do all of her chicks heavy fighting for them until the biddies are old enough to either fight or flee on their own.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I have them together as soon as possible. I'd work in getting them all in together now, while Momma is still protective of the chicks. If you wait until she weans them, the chicks won't have anyone to look out for them and integration will be more problematic. Lots of space, hiding places for the littles, more than one feeder and waterer. Distract the flock with treats, shake things up a little so they're not focused on the littles.
     
  5. nayeli

    nayeli Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They need to be of comparable size so that they can defend themselves. It isn't just the roosters you have to worry about with chicks it the hens as well. Chickens have a "pecking order", some are nicer than others but some chickens are ruthless. If you introduce chicks before they can defend themselves you might just end up with some dead chicks!
     
  6. sunshynertc

    sunshynertc Out Of The Brooder

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    We are allowed about 14 hens in our area. I currently have hens that are 5 and 6 months old as well as pullets who are 2 months old. Raising hens for eggs is part of the homeschooling curriculum for my sons. I am looking for a Swedish Flower pullet and a Black copper maran pullets. I am the Sacramento area. I would like then to be with the pullets. I have two areas one for the laying hens and one for the pullets.
     

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