10 day old chicks...HELP!!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Stephanie-n-Hayden, Oct 24, 2009.

  1. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Songster

    Aug 15, 2009
    Background info:
    I have a 7 mo. old Silky, 7 mo. old Bantam who I purchased as babies from TSC back in April along with 4 others who ended up being roos. Once they started fighting and being mean to the two hens, I re-homed the thee more aggresive roos and kept Ricky. All was well. Everyone got along and was one big happy family. I decided to adopted a hen who is probably about a month older than mine from a family who didn't want her anymore. She was the last of her flock to survive preditor attacks. I thought I would take her in and in and give her a nice loving home. She is a Rhode Island Red. She doesn't seem to like me or anyone for that matter. She makes a growling noise when ever I approach and I keep expecting her to attack me, though she hasn't so far. All 4 of them (three hens and roo) free ranged until roo got killed. I became over protective and now keep them locked up in the coop/run, which has plenty of space for them. Before Ricky died, my bantam became broody. I decided to let her sit on the eggs to see what happened. And they hatched out just last week.

    Bantam hatched out 5, one died of either falling out of the nest and being too cold without momma, or RIR killed it. 4 left. I went into the coop to discover all of this one day and realized that my poor bantam momma was being attacked by the RIR. RIR would go up to her, momma would gather her babies under her and scoot back as far in the nesting box as possible, and duck her head while RIR pecked the comb completly off. I was horrified! The only thing I knew to do to keep momma and her babies safe was to remove them from the coop. So, I put them in a large black dog cage and re-homed them to the garage until I could research what to do next. Momma and chicks are doing VERY well in the garage. They are getting bigger (which isn't saying much seeing as how both momma and pappa are bamtams), and momma is great with them. She trusts me with them, doesn't hide or act leary when I mess around with them. But I know it would be best to get them back out there, right?

    So, today, I cleaned out their cage, and decided to try them out in the coop. I took the cage to the coop and put them all back into it and gave them a while to settle in. Then I let the other two back in to see what would happen. NOT GOOD! I let the Silky in first. She went up to the cage and put her head down, as if bowing or something. Momma proceeded to put her head through the cage and peck her on the top of the head. I am sure that this is just a warming for Silky to stay away from her babies, right? Well, not too much concern because Silky isn't the real issue here.
    Next, RIR came in. She stalked around the cage while momma quickly gathered her chicks to one corner of the cage and sat in from of them. Amazingly, they all got perfectly still and quiet. RIR, found a spot as close to the chicks and momma as possible and put her head through the cage and tried getting one of the chicks! What the HE**!!!!! This obviously is not going to work! What do I do. I cannot allow this RIR to attack and kill these babies! I cannot allow momma to die fighting for them!

    I am at a total loss here. I have no earthly idea what to do! Things have gone so smoothly until now. I am worring myself sick here. Please, someone help me.

    Someone mentioned that I should get another rooster to replace the one we lost. The roo would knock the RIR down a notch and put her back in her place. But, I don't trust just any roo. Any suggestions?

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Confine the bully, the RIR. Chicken jail for a week at least. She should be lower on the pecking order when you try to reintroduce her. But even so, she may again attack. It could be that you will not be able to integrate them, but chicken jail is the only thing I know of that might work.
  3. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Songster

    Aug 15, 2009
    My husband has suggested that we get another rooster. He thinks it might take her down a few notches. Even though, I then run the risk of the rooster attacking and killing the chicks, right? And even if she is not "the boss" anymore, she still may try killing the chicks.

    If I locker her up, how long should I keep her locked up. And how should I re-introduce her without putting the others at risk?
  4. lavacaw

    lavacaw Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    South Central Texas
    Use the dog crate you had the bantams in as a jail and pen her up for a couple of weeks. Depending on where you are, leave it in the run with the other chickens and maybe she will realize she doesn't rule the roost. Watch them carefully when you let her back out. She may need to find another home if she cannot be socialized.

  5. spotsplus

    spotsplus Songster

    Sep 29, 2008
    Franklin, MA
    Poor mama bantam! I would rehome the RIR unless your real attached then I would seperate RIR till the chicks are older or can get away from the bully hen. Good luck! T
  6. CHIC

    CHIC Songster

    Aug 18, 2009
    Ms Stephanie...... It's ok. You tried to do the RIR justice by giving her a good home. She is not working, rehome her. I have spoken to you before about this and I know that it is hard. I am going through the exact same thing right now. She is putting your mother hen and babies at risk and making you lose your sanity. One brown egg a day is not worth your peace of mind- let her go. I don't think chicken jail is going to do it for this hen. Maybe, if there were a lot more chickens competing for top hen, but that is not your case. Do yourself a favor and let her go. It may make you feel guilty for a minute, but soon you will know you did the right thing. I hope everything works out. Good luck.
  7. The Sheriff

    The Sheriff Crowing

    Jun 17, 2009
    Northern CA
    Our motto around here is "Life is too short to keep mean chickens." I have re-homed all my meanies on Craigslist and local poultry swaps. I am always upfront about the reason for re-homing. I have never had one that didn't find a great home, and not just one with a lid on it either, if you know what I'm sayin'"


  8. Stephanie-n-Hayden

    Stephanie-n-Hayden Songster

    Aug 15, 2009
    Quote:Thank you CHIC. I don't know all that much about chickens and chicken behavior. But, the girl just is not doing well here. I do feel bad about re-homing her because I feel like I have given up on her. I had this vision that I would rescue her and with some time she would come around, learn that she has a good home, and come to trust me like my other chickens do, but that has not happened. She still won't even take food from my hand at all. Sadly, I am not attached to her, mostly because of what she is putting my more bantam through. I struggle with it for so many reasons. But I think you are right, in the long run it would be best to find RIR (aka "Growly" named by my son because she is always "growling" at us) a new home. I just cannot take the risk of enabling her to kill the chicks and possible the momma after she has been so ind to me and such a good momma. UGH, this is so hard!!!! I know a couple of people close by who have chickens (I should say HAD because all thier chickens have been gotten by preditors this year). Should I ask one of them to take her or what? Where do you take a chicken like this?
  9. Maggies Pop

    Maggies Pop Songster

    Sep 23, 2009
    Middletown (No CAL)
    What a bummer. So sorry!

    I have seen people in my area on Freecycle rehoming chickens. Might want to try there. Or maybe putting a poster up at your local feedstore(s). Do you have any connections to 4-H or FFA or local farms in your area? Maybe someone there would be interested.

    Good luck!

  10. CHIC

    CHIC Songster

    Aug 18, 2009
    Craigslist is always an option....

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