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Another way around introducing hand raised chicks is to have a broody hen do it. Thats what we did with our first round of chicks (we originally got adult hens for our first flock). The hen took care of the little girls, defended them from the other hens and made sure they were safe at all times and stayed close. The hen and chicks stayed in the general population pretty much the whole time, except for the very beginning we kept them separate during the day, but everyone was together at night.

I've just had my first taste of chick carnage, as a newbie chicken owner. Caught it in good time, but yikes. Glad to see your girlie is healing up. Gives me hope for my wee blondie. I love the dog run idea too. I scored a used collapsible one -- less sturdy than this one -- at the thrift store and have made it into a poor white trash-looking chickie day spa until my official coop and run is finished a-building. Meanwhile I will goop up Betty with purple no-peck glop and keep on eye on the little terrors.

1) Thank you for the update. I enjoy watching other people's chickens.

2) I have a neighborhood hawk that enjoys my yard. Therefore I don't have lots of other critters, but I'm guessing the hawk could eat my baby chickens if I ever got any?

3) Some shameless promotion, but more for Rebecca--she did a HILARIOUS post about protecting your chickens from werewolves (for a big blog tour yesterday), and chicken lovers will get a kick out of it, I'm sure. I almost fell out of my chair laughing. Lots of really cute and funny chicken pics in it!

Here's the link:


(I'm glad your chicken is getting better, Amy.)

@ Katie: We have hawks and falcons too. Our hens are smart enough that when anything flies over, they take cover under a rose bush. We're on our 4th year with no hawk incidents. :-)

We just put our 7 week old youngsters outside last Friday. However, before we did, as we have the space here, we built a new coop for 'old hens' to retire to. I have a very bossy hen at the top of the pecking order, and just didn't want to go there. The new chicks are all together now in the main coop, and the hens are in the garden coop. I'm glad to see that Lady Bird is over the worst of her ordeal. It is amazing how ruthless some hens can be.

Buff Orpingtons are famous for going broody and make great mommas - true defenders of the chicks. Of course around 6 weeks, momma abandons them but by then, the older gals are accustomed to them.

I don't have chickens, but I wish I had a larger garden for them. I have had many pet birds though and once I had a female budgie who tried to kill a younger female living in the cage with her. I actually took her to an avian veterinarian and she had about 10 stitches all over her tiny head when she came home. (I had no idea that a fight like that could be so bloody!) She lived many years, eventually, she even found a mate who loved her very much despite the scars.

Birds will be birds I guess, but it is sad to watch.

Thanks for the update! It makes raising backyard chickens sound more and more like a PG-13 adventure!

Go Lady Bird!

Read about your blog in my latest Birds and Blooms magazine. So glad to have found your blog. I blog about my garden as well. You'll have to stop by and check it out sometime. Happy Gardening!

What type of breed is Ida? I have adult hens and would like to get a few more chicks to combine with the flock when they get older. It seems like after a few months or so, I should be able to introduce the younger hens a few incremental hours at a time. I don't have the time or patience to manage separate coops, but I have a small cage for the chicks. How can I determine whether one of the older hens is broody? Are some breeds known to be broody?

I remember keeping our chicks in a fenced enclosure until they were good-sized juveniles. The yard as a whole was big enough to provide ample escape room.

One pet peeve about chicken ownership in general, in relation to gardening: can we have a moratorium on pictures of chickens peacefully browsing amidst the greenery of the vegetable garden? Somehow, my hens got in my garden yesterday and did a good deal of damage. Yes, I know, permaculture this and circle of life that. But I want my greens and my morning glory seedlings back. My asparagus beds are for my family's enjoyment over the long haul, not for some excavating birds, thank you very much!

We added to our small flock last year. We had to expand our coop so in the process we put a screen of hardware cloth down the center of the coop to keep the old and new flocks separated. We added a second entrance to allow access to both areas. Finally, since we had to expand our run also, we set it up so that we can segragate one section of the run. This allowed us to keep the two flocks close without having them intermingle. Once the new girls were big enough to keep their distance from the older ones, we began the mingling process. As long as you have enough room for the younger chickens to escape the bullies you should be OK.

To Chuck: I completely agree with you. In my yard, the Chickens do significant damage to seedlings and transplants under, say, about 4 inches in height. I have had to section off the areas with seedlings (I use 1.5 ft tall cut metal fencing) and I may completely fence off the garden area and let them roam the lawn/grass, etc. The Chickens do eat weeds and they do eat bugs and worms (which they consider a delicacy) but they provide limited control at best. Still, they make an excellent addition to my yard.

Steve: Yes, I may open the garden up to them in the very depths of winter for some direct fertilization. Maybe. Depends on how my campaign to get more winter veggies goes. I ended up blockading the garden with 4' wire fencing from Home Despot. The youthful chickens of last year had no problems with 1'-2' barriers. This year, they're pretty hefty and have been reduced to a few opportunistic raids.

Those pictures of idyllic chicken/garden coexistence are great marketing but alas, painfully misrepresentative of the true situation!

Sounds similar to what I'm doing. I have one chick that I keep separated in the coop at night but during the day my three month old chick hangs out in the front yard and the rest of the chickens wonder the back. My problem isn't the hens but my rooster. My chick just isn't interested in his advances yet.

I'm getting my first pullets soon. Three of them will have been raised together. My son bought six, but is only allowed to have three on a standard lot in Seattle. My lot is much larger than standard so I can have more. I'd like to get a fourth, but she will have been raised elsewhere. She will also be a few weeks older than the others. Will it be a problem when I try to combine them or will her being bigger give her an advantage in the new pecking order? It will be a new pecking order since they will have been separated from their original "flock". Will the fact that they will all be new here make a difference. Should I keep them separate, but side by side for a while first. I'm assuming I'll need to keep them all in the tractor full time for a couple of weeks until they figure out where home is and to return to it. Thank you for any and all advice.

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