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#69380 - 06/25/07 07:10 PM Adding a New Older Hen to a flock of chicks?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Hi everyone, I went out to a new place to get some hay on the weekend and the people asked me if I wanted their 2 year old barred rock hen. I said sure as she was the only one left and I figured I had a lot of room to take her in. At first I was concerned about adding her to my flock of almost 8 week old chicks. I have been watching her closely and she seems okay with them. She talks a lot that's for sure, it was quite funny as soon as she was introduced, my favorite cockerel started to try out is crowing, very funny! About half a crow!

So far, she just tells them to move out of the way when she is eating etc. She doesn't chase them and last night when I checked in on them they were all roosted up in the nests and dead quiet. The family told me that she regularly lays an egg a day and that she normally lays them at around 7am or 7:30am, and I wasn't so sure about that but when I went in feed them this morning sure enough there was an egg! My very first brown egg on my own farm LOL I have to say you guys might think this is funny but I was so excited!

So my questions are the following:

1. Is there anything else I should watch for in the hen interacting with the chicks?

2. She has been out free-ranging (full run of their property) the entire time the old owners have owned her and has so far escaped casualty by predators. I have her inside as I don't have a run yet, how long should I keep her in so she knows this is her new home? She is a very loud hen, she is the boss mom of the chicks already, do you think she would assume a protective role with them outside? Alerting the chicks to predators etc.?

3. She has been fed scratch feed and I was given the rest of her feed, but my chicks are on crumbles, how do I separate the feeding so the chicks don't eat the scratch over their crumbles, just give her enough to finish in 5 mins? Or is it not bad for the chicks to eat some of the scratch feed? They have eaten some yesterday and today so far. The old people said she wouldn't eat crumbles but I have seen her eating it today and yesterday. I am going to slowly integrate a layer crumble into the chick grower, is it too early for that? The chicks will be 8 weeks on July 1st.

I probably have many nore questions but I don't want to overload anyone! Thanks much if you have advice to share!
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#69381 - 06/25/07 10:43 PM Re: Adding a New Older Hen to a flock of chicks?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
The hen will do just fine on Chick Starter Crumbles. Hold the scratch, though. It really isn't a good diet for a laying hen and will not help your chicks grow well--except as a treat in very small quantity. It can be used to bring them in at evening or anytime you want them to gather. I have a special whistle I use when I feed it(about a T per bird)each evening. Most chicks or chickens will prefer just Scratch to their proper feeds, if you cave in and let them have it! Don't do it. The crumbles are a complete feed--scratch is like candy! Young pullets should not have Layer crumbles until they are actually laying. It is designed for laying hens, not growing and maturing chicks.

Check the hen for mites,and dust her, if she has them. You are fortunate to have a lonesome hen with acceptable temperament! Hope they all continue to be congenial. Don't be surprised if she beats up the the cockerel if he gets too friendly at a very young age! ENJOY and watch them, you will learn while "doing"! CJR

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#69382 - 06/26/07 09:12 AM Re: Adding a New Older Hen to a flock of chicks?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Thanks very much! Yes I knew that the scratch has little nutritional value... I'll definitely hold off on that except for the odd treat. Well who really knows how long they will be congenial but the hen "Madison" has proved so far to be totally laid back! She's very beautiful too!

Is it unusual for a 2 year old hen to lay everyday? She might stop as s result of moving but so far since Sunday she has laid everyday. What is the average lifespan of these birds?

The cockerel, is being pretty funny! My daughter named him Larry, now I want to call him Leisure Suit Larry cuz he's all cocky now! Trying to crow and show off, that seems a bit early to me as well at almost 8 weeks? Oh well, I'll just watch to make sure no one gets TOO bossy!
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#69383 - 06/26/07 12:17 PM Re: Adding a New Older Hen to a flock of chicks?
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8483
Loc: Montana
Yes, a 2 year old hen that has just moved and is laying every day, is a real producer. It is really important that she be well fed, as producing an egg every day is a terrific drain on the system (making a complete chick daily!) When she skips some days, it will be normal--and she may stop for a real rest and molt at any time, then resume as she grows her new coat.

Take a hint and be leery of naming your birds anything except color (Spot, Blacky, etc.) if you have kids, because sickness or accidental loss are sure to be a much greater trauma!!!I know mine by their band number and color. (Hen 29R --R for Red--is 11 years old, going on 12. 9Y, 17Y, 16Y, 80Y are all going on 7 years old. I have been through the colors several times in 20 years and still remember the numbers and colors of old timers that were special!)
Wasted advice, I know, but someday you will know why I suggest it! Good luck to the project!! CJR

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#69384 - 07/04/07 03:08 PM Re: Adding a New Older Hen to a flock of chicks?
Ckvchestnut Offline
Flock Leader

Registered: 06/12/07
Posts: 346
Loc: Canada
Thanks CJR, I understand what you are saying as, I get an odd feeling when calling them names. That is a good idea though for naming. The hen does take an odd day off, she is getting a mixture of chick grower and layer crumbles, I will go back to strictly grower crumbles until my chicks are about 18-20 weeks old. She also gets let outside during the day to pasture feed and gets just the occasional scratch feed, about 1 tbsp, and she has to fight with the rest of the chicks to get at it. She is the only one who eats the corn... she seems to get mad if I don't give it to her as a little treat at night. I had oyster shells on the farm already, so I just let them all have it free choice. Thanks for all the advice, I am glad I found this place!
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