Peaches & Rose, the oldest members in an existing flock of 18. Each bird wears a brightly colored I.D. leg band so I can keep track of age, breed, color, sex, and where they originated from. Otherwise, alike breeds of same color can often look the same.
Each hen’s broodiness is recorded as well, because unfortunately not all hens are good Moms. It’s important to know which hens will not only be be loyal to their clutch of fertile eggs, but which ones can also be trusted to care for the chicks when they hatch.
As an example, these two hens are both broody on a regular basis, only the one on the right will stay on her eggs until they hatch. The bird on the left perhaps has good intentions, but gets bored with the idea of being a Mom and sometimes abandons the nest after a week or so.
Knowing who’s who in an immediate situation means a quick and convenient solution. So I better get busy… today there are 10 more birds to add to the chart!
Sometimes size matters in the brooder, but there are ways to avoid and resolve trouble. I added four new chicks to the brooder a week ago. Two blue and two silver laced six day old standard Cochins… and put them in the brooder with my three week old Silkie Bantams.
Age doesn’t matter much to baby chicks, size however, can be reason enough to start a bully fest. The six day old Cochins were the same size as the Silkies, but now, a week later, the Cochins are substantially bigger. The size issue seems to go unnoticed when chicks are raised together, so they’ll continue to share the same brooder in harmony.
If new chicks refuse to get along, it’s easy enough to put a divider between the chicks, as long as they can see each other it will be pretty uneventful to reintroduce them in a week or so.
After the Brooder Stage
At two months these little fuzzy butts will be moved from the brooder to a transitional coop where they’ll be in full view of the existing flock. Around four or five months the coop door will open and they’ll have a choice to venture out and join the existing flock, but they probably won’t for days, sometimes even a week!
It’s reality time, and their peaceful world comes to a screeching halt when they’re finally brave enough to step out and explore the real world. A world that is run by powerful chicken rulers who have earned their significant positions in the pecking order.
Learn More about the Pecking Order and Adding Chickens to an Existing Flock