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When to integrate 5 week old chicks with just one hen - Page 2

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
What is the best way to put them
In the run with her or the coop. They have been in a large dog crate next to her for a couple weeks now. They really need more space and I would like to add them to the coop. My concern is if I put them in the coop at night and she hurts them I won't know sad.png
post #12 of 24

When it comes time to roost, chickens are pretty single minded about getting settled in for the night on a perch. That's a good time to place the chicks on the perch at the opposite end from the hen.


They will keep hopping down, but keep putting them back, positioning them close together against a wall if possible. Placing your hand on their backs, going down the line, will calm them. Make a shh-shhing noise as you do this.


They may not be ready to stay on the perch, so let them sleep in a pile where they choose, but repeat this each night.


In the morning, they'll exit the coop if you have a run outside. At night, you will need to coax them back into the coop. I'm off the original page so I can't go check to see if you have a run outside the coop, so let me know and I can tell you how to teach the chicks to go in at night.


There is very little danger of any bullying at night. In the morning, the chicks will run outside, so they will be fine. Try to have lots of stuff for them to jump up onto to evade the hen if she gets aggressive, and they'll be okay.

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

I do have a run for them.  I was thinking of doing it tomorrow night. During the day I was going to clean the coop and move and create a new perch for them all, this way it will be new to our hen too.  I was going to move the food and water and make some changes to the nesting boxes, almost like making it a new coop.  We let the chickens free range for a little bit at the end of the day, but we have 27 acres of open land a couple of hawks that live in our field, it is too dangerous to let them free range if we aren't out with them.  

Thank you so much for your help!!!

post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 

One more I just keep several food areas for them, since she is eating layer food and the chicks are still on starter??

post #15 of 24

The chicks shouldn't have access to her layer feed as their calcium needs are much different at this age. And they need to have their starter feed accessible at all times, so keep them separate, and protect the chicks' feed from the hen by keeping it in their "panic room" pen where they go to be safe from her. That's half the reason for having a safe area for the chicks - so they don't get frightened off from eating the necessary amount of food they require for healthy growth.


My first "panic room" was a temporary pen in one corner of the run with a little hole in it the big hens couldn't squeeze through. Since then, I discovered it's wise to provide at least two entrances in case the hen is standing in front of one of them.


Your chicks will be much happier moved into larger quarters and having the entire run to play in. But please do find the time to rig a panic room for them. Then you won't have to worry they're getting cornered and pecked.


To teach them to go into the coop at night from the run, you need to first teach them to come to you when you call them. Using treats expedites this lesson. Use the same verbal cue each time you offer a treat, and soon they come even if you have no treat.


On the second or third night after you move them into the coop, at dusk get inside the coop and call to them. It's smart to wait until they are making those bedtime peeping noises, and are milling around nearby. Also find a small flashlight to light up the area just inside the pop hole so the chicks can see clearly where they are going.


You may need to show them a treat to entice them to come inside the first time. Once you get them in, close or block the pop hole so they don't turn around and run back out. Then go about placing them on the roost, but don't spend more than two minutes. If they don't stay roosted, give up and try again the next night.


It'll take three nights to a week for them to learn to go inside at dusk on their own, then perhaps two or three nights of perch training to begin roosting on their own. Some chicks are immature, and you may need to forget perch training for another couple weeks if they aren't beginning to roost on their own after three or four nights.

post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 

Well things have been going well.  We doubled the size of the run and make changes to the coop.  Our single hen has been accepting them and we put them in the coop for the first time last night and it was a success!  I let them out this morning and they were all just hanging out walking around the coop together.  The chicks are not ready to begin the roosting thats for sure, they were putting funny about it!  I will keep trying! Thank you so much for all your made all the difference for me not worrying!

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

I forgot to mention, they love their panic room too!  I created it to have shade too, so they have been hanging in there to eat and rest, however explore the run for a good portion of the day...that really made it so much less stressful!!!

post #18 of 24

:celebrate Thanks for the update! Good to hear all is going well and your hen has a flock again to keep her from being lonely.

post #19 of 24
Thread Starter we have a full on bullying situation now.  The hens are all together and things have been ok...however our RIR has been such a bully.  She will chase the other hens around our run for no reason, sometimes she pecks them, sometimes she does not.  She tries to keep them away from the food and water when she is there and just bullies them if they are somewhere she doesn't want them to be.  I am very concerned they are stressed, as well as the fact that winter comes there is no way our Rhode Island Red will survive without the body heat of the other hens (I don't think at least).  
I tried to keep pecking her with my finger, making loud noises to distract her, but every time I go out she is back to her old ways.  They have oyster shells, grit, food, water, treats....anything I can think of to keep them busy.  They have logs, a mirror, chairs and a large wire dog crate in the run to keep them busy.  The run is HUGE and by no means too small.



HELP...I am worried if I remove her and then add her back in they will then attach her.  ANY THOUGHTS????

post #20 of 24

She's not being a bully, she's being the top hen. It's normal. She's setting the rules for the flock, and enforcing those rules. Multiple food and water stations will help to ensure that everyone has access to adequate food and water. She can't guard more than one at a time, after all.

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