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Baby bantam and her Mom--trouble with existing group

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
One of our silkies just hatched her first baby (we have two silkie hens, two silkie roo's, three Rhode Island reds and three white leghorns). The baby is now two weeks old. We had them Mom (who is very attentive to the baby) and the baby segregated in the coop using chicken wire/fencing. Twice now, we have come home to find both the baby and Mom out with the group (jumped out, the baby went through the holes in the fencing as she is so small). Today, when we found them out with the others, the adults were really roughhousing the baby. We have since created an enclosure in the coop where they can't get it. They have accepted new chickens before so we were surprised how awful they were being to this teeny baby. Is it just because of how small she is? Will it pass and be better when we go to introduce her when she gets bigger? Again, we were really
surprised how tough they were to the baby when just a few days ago they accepted (after being separated by a fence for a week) some new 4+ week old baby chickens)...thoughts?
post #2 of 3

It's more the norm for adult chickens to give chicks a hard time than it is for them to be indifferent. It also depends on the age of the older chickens. While chickens who are several years old tend to be indifferent to new chicks, young hens and pullets tend to be bullies.

 

I recommend the panic room method of integration, using a safe enclosure for the chick that provides safe refuge where the older chickens can't get into, but the chick can get in and out of if it chooses.

 

As the chick grows, food and water can become a difficult issue since the bullies will try to keep the chick away from them. So the panic room contains these essentials during the crucial growth phase.

 

You're very fortunate the flock didn't kill the baby. That is what usually happens when a chick gets out among the flock while it's still much too young. I don't let my new chicks mingle until they're three weeks old and have been learning and observing the behavior of the older chickens for a good while so they understand the inherent dangers.

 

Read my article on outdoor brooding linked below this post. it has pictures of my panic room setup and how I go about integrating my chicks.

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the reply. We thought we had a secure spot made for them, never thought she would go through the holes in the fence. Have since created a wooden enclosure for them until the baby gets older (and bigger).
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