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2yr old hens meeting newbies??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by horseychic, May 20, 2016.

  1. horseychic

    horseychic New Egg

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    Hi everyone, I can't begin to tell you the amount of time I've spent reading tips on this site- but I'm sure I'm not alone [​IMG]

    We currently have 4 golden comets that are a little over 2yrs old. We purchased 6 chicks that are probably about 10 weeks old now (2 black austrolorps, 2 buff orpingtons and 2 speckled sussex).

    How the heck do I introduce them and have them get along??

    This is our coop- I've put a smaller enclosure inside for the "see but don't touch" method as often as I can bring them out there (what a hassle that is lol). My older gals are not impressed. They scream and cluck for hours each day. I've done that for probably a total of 7 days. Yesterday, I let the older gals out to free range and brought out two of the littles on the grass. The older ones ran over and tried to attack the little 2 and managed to pull out feathers. They weren't just pecking, more like attacking. I REALLY want them to all get along as it would break my heart to give up either set knowing where they would end up :\

    PLEASE HELP!! I heard the idea of putting them in the coop at night, but how come all I imagine is waking up to a blood bath the next morning. I was thinking of putting a divider inside the coop part so they can spend nights together first?? I'm scared out of my mind for their first real encounter. Thank you so much for any insight or tips and tricks that have worked for others!!

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    What you want to do is create some safe places that chicks can escape to, hide out in, and get away from the big chickens. If a chick can get away to where the older chickens can't follow them, it allows them to be submissive (run away) but it keeps them from being killed.

    ok, this is what I would do, I would set up some pallets in your run. Put one pallet on four cement brick so that it is just tall enough the chicks can get under it. If you turn the blocks side ways, the chicks can run through the openings too. I am not quite sure, but if you placed it to the right of your ramp, then the under the house can be next to it. It needs to be lower than under the house. Big chickens can get under there too easy. I often feed my chicks in this spot too. Now a determined bird can get under there, but it really slows them down, and the chick can escape. Other people do a one way gate, with openings just big enough to let the chicks get through, and the chickens can't follow.

    I would also set a pallet upright, in the middle of the run. This should not touch either side so as a bird does not get trapped there, but again, this blocks the line of sight of a chicken. I would also put some roosts up in the run, but that is just because my chickens love to roost there in the early morning and late afternoon.

    I see the kind of set up that you have often on here, and at first it will feel cluttered when you add stuff, but if you really look at it, you have a beautiful run, but your birds are only using the lower level of it. You actually get more square feet when birds can get under and on top of something. They get more exercise when they get off the floor.

    Then once you get it all set up, turn out your big birds, put your chicks in this set up and close the gate so the big birds can't get back in. This will allow your chicks to explore the set up in safety, find the water and feed. You might do some stomping around so that they do find the escapes. I would put a cardboard box in there if they are not roosting yet. When it begins to get dark, 10 to one, they will huddle in the cardboard box. Just at dark, let your hens back in, and they will go immediately to roost. You can leave the chicks if you want, or scoop them up in the box. A few days of this, and turn the works together, and it should work.

    Mrs K
     
  3. horseychic

    horseychic New Egg

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    Apr 22, 2014
    Thank you so much Mrs. K for these ideas! I love the pallet ideas and putting some roosts in the run area as well. I can definitely give the little ones time to expire without the others. I wish I could let them all free range but we have way too many hawks and fisher cats. So as far as that first night they're together, you think the little ones should be inside the coop first (lock the big ones out of the coop part) and then when it gets really dark and late then just open the door and see if they just walk in? I've always read online people just stick the little ones in there when the others are sleeping but it just scares me. I'm so appreciative of your help I really want them to all get along or at least tolerate to each other and not attack
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Well, really, I thought the chicks would just be in the huddle box, the cardboard box in the run. I would get them used to the run and the hideouts first. They will explore the coop as they get bigger and no longer fit in the huddle box, by that time the rest should be used to them.

    Just to be clear, I meant lock the hens out of the run/coop while the chicks explore the area. The huddle box should be on the ground in the run. The chicks should gather in the huddle box early in the evening. The hens will be ready to come in and get settled after that.
     
  5. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    Yeah, I've tried that once or twice - not with chicks, but new adults. I've learned that while chickens may not be the brightest of God's creatures, they're really not THAT stupid, either. They do notice when they wake up to someone new in their space. They usually don't like it. How big is your coop? (feet by feet)? From the pictures it doesn't look to be big enough to house 10 full sized chickens.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
  7. horseychic

    horseychic New Egg

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    Ok great thanks for the tips. The coop part inside is 12x8, not sure on the run size but it's pretty big. The 10week olds are currently in our basement in an enclosure at night and then I bring them out during the day into the run In a seperate enclosure. I didn't know if I should split off the inside of the coop to start bringing them in there at night? I would have started their introductions earlier but everything I saw mostly said to wait until they're the same size. I'm obviously new to this and trying to make it work the best I can
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    8x12 doesn't sound/look quite right, maybe an optical illusion, but that's a nice size.
    I'd wall it off and put them out there as soon as you can build a wall, door, roosts, etc...
    ......might take some planning and build time, but if you built that coop/run shouldn't be too much trouble and well worth it.
    Let the chicks live there 24/7 and let them out on occasion to see how it goes.
    I built a partition into coop from the get go and have loved it.

    Yes, the chicken learning curve can be steep, many different ways to do things........it gets lots easier after the first year.
     
  9. Sutremaine

    Sutremaine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Do you know which of the Golden Comets doesn't lead the attacks? You can try taking the most relaxed of your hens and putting her in the run with the chicks, while keeping the other three hens physically separated. Sit down in the middle of the run with some treats and offer them to the hen (if she immediately starts paying attention to the chicks and not the treats, then the treats are not tasty enough). At some point, one of the chicks is going to get too close, and get a kicking. Ignore this, restraining the hen only if she chases after the chick. When you're nearly out of treats, or if you're starting to feel stressed, put the hen away with a treat. Then you can go back to whatever arrangement you normally have to keep them all separated.

    We had a pair of one year old hens and a pair of six week old chicks. It's been about a month now (edit: five weeks exactly) and we can leave them to run about in the garden together. The gate between the two halves of the run is still open to the little chickens only, although at least one of the big ones can squeeze through with a great deal of effort. Still, it's enough for a quick escape route. They don't share coop space -- the little birds have recently starting sitting on the propped-up lid of the nest box.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
  10. horseychic

    horseychic New Egg

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    Apr 22, 2014
    Great idea thank you sutremaine! I'm not sure exactly which were the instigators but I'm going to keep a close eye on them when I decide to try again in a couple weeks. Still pretty nervous :/
     

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