Introducing Hatch-a-Long Chicks to the Flock

Mamma hen was separated from the flock five weeks ago to hatch and raise her baby chicks in a quiet and safe environment.  The chicks are now two weeks old and it’s time to move Mamma and her babies back to the coop. To keep harmony among the flock, I’ve closed off a corner with hardware cloth to allow visibility between the existing flock, Mamma, and babies. The frame is merely PVC pipe cut in 3-foot sections with wire attached using zip ties.

Here’s the set-up I’m using from Nursery to Coop…

Moving the hen with her chicks is best done at night when all the birds are sleeping. Last night wearing my handy headlamp, I headed out to the nursery coop. Throwing a blanket over the nest, I took Mom and her chicks, (nest box and all), and placed it in the designated transition pen inside the coop. Come morning it will be introduction time! Safe, peaceful, and everybody is happy.

After a week or so, I’ll allow Mamma to take her babies out of the enclosure.  She will protect her babies from the existing flock, and at about five weeks, she will begin putting distance between her and them.

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Many chicken keepers allow their hens to hatch their eggs in a secluded area within the chicken coop. Others move hen and eggs back to coop three or four days before the hatch, both ways are certainly okay. I just like to give my hens a quiet place to do their mothering, it’s merely a personal preference.

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Welcome Hatch-A-Longs

Yesterday was hatch day. My usual redundant morning chores were certainly more exciting, to say the least when I was greeted by newly hatched fuzzy butts. This was the first time hatching eggs for Peaches, a four-year-old Silkie hen.  She’s very proud and protective of her babies, nevertheless, I’m keeping a close watch on her inexperienced mothering. The brooder is set up and ready to go if needed.

This was a trial run for Peaches, the fertile eggs I placed under her were a barnyard mix. What I know for sure is the eggs are from a Leghorn and an Ameraucana. But the rooster? That will remain a mystery.

It will be a nice change to have birds other than Silkies and Cochins in my barn, these little hatch-a-longs will remain here as permanent members of the flock. Mamma and chicks will be moved to the barn with the others, confined to a corner in full view of the flock at 2-3 weeks old.

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