raising chicks together

Posted by: FarmerT

raising chicks together - 06/24/17 03:06 PM

This year we had a hen to hatch and raise a chick. Only one. He/she is now six weeks old. They are in a separate coop and the mother hen is tired of being confined although she has lots of room. We have twelve hens and one rooster who are used to free ranging during the afternoon and she's ready to do that again.

It is too soon to let them out and go back to the regular coop? We have a small farm and there are predators. We do our best but we can't be with them 24/7.

The local feed store is selling chicks who are five and six weeks' old for $3.50. I wondered if we could get a few of these young ones so that the lone chick would have age-related pals.

If so, would the mother hen be ok with them being in the same coop she is in now? Or, should we let the mother hen and chick go back in with the regular group in the original coop and separate the newbies for the time being?

Am new on this forum and would appreciate advice. Thanks.
Posted by: CJR

Re: raising chicks together - 06/24/17 10:58 PM

Depends totally on the hen with the one chick. By 6 weeks, the lone chick is now a "spoiled brat" and could resent any new chicks, even if the hen accepted them. My experience is that it is not good to add chicks after even a few days old. Others have not had problems--using various methods to integrate into a mixed flock. You are on your own to be creative. I think your present idea may be best----hen back with the flock and integrate just the chicks, but at their age, they might take a bit to get along, but should, in time? There is no one way and it could work or not. GOOD LUCK, chickens are worth our management trials!
Posted by: Robbie

Re: raising chicks together - 06/25/17 09:38 AM

I keep broodies and chicks separate from the flock until they are two weeks old, then they can go out with the rest. One of my broodies got tired of her chicks when they were around four weeks old. She just stopped mothering them and clucking for them.
They were lost and distraught at first, but stuck together as a group within the flock of older chickens. They made friends with two older chicks, and now the six of them hang out together. The older hens are tough on the younger chicks at roosting time- they push them off the roost if they get too close- but so far, no harm has been done. But my chickens have been selected for easy going temperaments, I won't tolerate a nasty hen or rooster, so your chick might not fare as well if your flock is more aggressive.
Posted by: FarmerT

Re: raising chicks together - 06/26/17 04:29 PM

My flock is mixed re: behavior. Some are more assertive and some are not. I would characterize them as either calm or flighty, and the Iowa Blue Mother Hen is definitely in the flighty category (along with her two "sisters"). If this were an Americana or similar, I would not hesitate to put them all together.

So when does a mother hen start laying again? I've read articles about weaning, but nothing that I have read says anything about weaning vs egg laying.
Posted by: CJR

Re: raising chicks together - 06/26/17 08:59 PM

If you do not wean the chicks, some hens will start to lay again when the chicks are still with her. Dear hens are individuals, and while most of my hens (40 years of them, different breeds) will lay again in about 3 weeks. Young hens, lay earlier, older hens may take a month or more, if winter is in the timing. Be sure the Oyster Shell is available!!