When will the chicks join the flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lablover, Sep 28, 2014.

  1. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 4 6 week old chicks with a broody hen. She's starting to hang around the flock more when out free ranging, but I still keep them separated at night because the chicks easily fall off when trying to roost with the flock. Of course the broody is ready to have them sleeping with the big girls, so should I just let them do it now? All of the hens know to stay clear of the chicks, and the hen still chases everyone off. When will she no longer be "Mom"?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    It's about that time.

    The chicks may choose to sleep somewhere in their own group rather than roost with the flock. I've had a few broodies raise chicks in with the flock, and the chicks would cuddle up in a corner on a pile of hay when mama went back to the roost. I just let them sleep where they wanted. When they were ready, they joined the older ones, usually when they were closer to adult size. It always took some time before they really mixed into the adult group for foraging, too. But there was no trouble so I left them alone.
     
  3. Hilacraft

    Hilacraft Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I beleive the "mom" leaves her chicks alone at around 7 to 8 weeks. That is when they could be on their own with the hens and chickens. Just watch them make sure none of the hens are bullying them and that they are happy and healthy.

    We let our chickens alone outside permanently in their coop at 7-8 weeks. They are all fine and one has just started laying.
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    What kind of roosts do you have that they are falling off? I’ve had a broody hen take 2 week olds to my tree branch roosts and they did not fall off.

    I’ve had broody hens wean their chicks as young as three weeks, I’ve had some wait until they are over nine weeks old. I’ve had some leave the chicks alone during the day but roost with them at night. I’ve had broodies take care of the chicks during the day but leave them on their own at night. There is no one set age or one set way broodies handle weaning. It’s remarkable how different the broodies can be.

    Sometimes when Mama weans them the chicks continue to sleep on the roosts, usually crowded into a corner as far from the adults as they can get. Most sleep in a group on the floor in a corner instead of staying on the roosts. Sometimes they move to the nests to sleep, but I put a separate roost lower than the main roosts and horizontally separated so they had a safe place to roost. Having a safe place to roost higher than the nests keeps mine out of the nests. That separate roost is a 2x4, narrow side up.

    After they are weaned my chicks normally form a separate flock during the day. They don’t intermingle that much with the adults, though some do more than others. The older hens outrank the chicks in the pecking order and often will peck them if the chicks invade their personal space. As long as the chicks don’t invade the personal space of the older hens there are usually no issues. I have extra feeding and watering stations and a fair amount of room so they can avoid the older birds. I think those help.
     
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  5. lablover

    lablover Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well I have the coop divided so that Mama and chicks have a separate place. She still protects them, and feeds them. The other hens won't even get on the roost if she gets in there early and puts them on the flock's side. I have old pine branches as roosts. The chicks are used to them because that is what they have on their side. When they try to roost on the flock's side of the coop, there seems to be a lot of tension and they eventually get pushed off either from the hens trying to stay as far away from them as possible (all the while trying to get a good sleeping spot) or by falling off of Mama because they still try to sit on her. They'll eventually learn I'm sure.
     

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