6 Week old chicks introduced to 2 year hen Yes No?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 27strong, Nov 20, 2012.

  1. 27strong

    27strong Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2011
    Hey everyone it has been awhile. My forum name is bad lol. Coyote killed my pack. I tore its head off but it planned it out attacked in daylight unheard off...Anyway I got few survivors. I can't have roosters but after the massacre I though I should train/convince my chickens to suicide bomb the coyote. I tell the chicken you go and kill them and you will get into chicken heaven there you can do whatever you chickens do in your version heaven. But lets get to the matter. I purchased 3 chicks. 1 is over 6 weeks the other 2 are 6 weeks old!! They are exotic breed don't know which one. Here is my questions for you guys.

    1. I got older hens (1 year old+ under 2 years) but which one is best to see if she can take the orphans under her wing?

    2. I got hens that were brooding recently can I introduce a hen like that to adopt these babies and take care of them?

    3. My older hens are none aggressive but when I introduced 1 she nibbled at them to show dominance i guess. She nibbled at her neck when the young one was digging like crazy splashing food everywhere. She also nibbled at another young one when it bit her red comb LOL. Should I be worried? They are 6 weeks and fragile I don't want the giant fat old hen killing them.

    4. The 2 chicks that are 6 weeks old do I need two give the water with vitamins in it? People say I don't have to so I give them tap water for now.

    Awaiting your wise replies anxiously. Thanks all.
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I'm sorry for what happened but lots of animals will hunt during the day. It's not unusual at all to see foxes, bobcats, and coyotes out hunting in the middle of the day. It does not mean they are sick or anything like that. They are just hunting.

    Many broody hens wean their chicks by the time they are 6 weeks old. I really seriously doubt you are going to get a hen to take care of those chicks. They should not need it anyway. They should already be fully feathered out and able to take care of themselves. What I suggest is that you treat it like a normal integration.

    What I suggest is to house them where the flock can see them for about a week. That way, they get used to those chicks being part of the flock and not invaders. The adults are a lot less likely to protect their territory from the new chicks. It also trains the young chicks where to go at night.

    They are still going to have pecking order issues. The mature hens outrank them and enforce that ranking by pecking them. As long as the young ones run away when pecked, it usually works out OK. Occasionally you will get a hen that is a brute and will chase the chicks to try to do damage but that is really rare if the chicks are able to get away.

    The big key is that the chicks need room to run away. If you mix them in tight quarters where they can't get away then it can turn ugly and very dangerous. What happens with mine is that the young chicks form a separate flock and keep to themselves away from the adults most of the day. There are times they do some mixing but usually they stay far away from the adults. It does not matter if I raise them in a brooder or a broody hen raises them with the flock, they still keep separate.

    I suggest you put up different feeding and watering stations if you feed and water. Some people just let them forage if the quality of that forage is good. If you set up different stations the young ones can eat and drink without challenging the older hens.

    Some times these integrations go so smoothely you wonder what the sorry was and sometimes it gets deadly. Usually there is a little violence but no real harm done. I really think the more space they have the better your chances of it working out.

    Good luck!
  3. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop

    So sorry to hear of the coyote attack - it's frustrating and maddening to raise our chicks and then have them become a part of the predator's menu. I've only been raising chickens for about 1 1/2 years so my experience is minimal - but hopefully it will help. I've hatched all but two of my chickens and raised them in brooders and with broodies.

    The ones that I hatched and raised in a brooder I kept in a wired off area of my coop from 4 to 6 weeks old and integrated them that way. Yes there were still pecking order issues to work out but no one was brutally treated using that method. I noticed that each time I did this the younger ones formed their own miniflock within the greater flock. Eventually they would merge together at a later time, but as they were integrating they stayed together which helped to fend off any larger birds from attacking just one of them.

    The ones that I had a broody hatch and raise were the easiest. Broodies will keep them warm, teach them to hunt for food and protect them. She also does all the integration of the chicks and they are right there in the main flock from day one. I've had great success with broodies. My two broodies are a Silky and an Araucana. A broody like my Silky will take in just about anything to raise - she LOVES being a mom. However my Araucana is picky about whom she broods. Putting 6 week olds under a broody most likely won't work because the broody typically leaves the chicks to be on their own by 4 weeks old. Older chicks won't listen to the broody and she will most likely not accept them. You can try it - but be prepared to move them to another location if things go badly.

    6 week olds can be with the main flock - they will get pecked by the older ones because that's how they form the pecking order. The older chicken is just telling them that she has the right to eat and drink first. But if one chicken is being overly aggressive towards them you may have to pen them separately for awhile. They won't need special vitamins in their water - just clean water will do.
  4. 27strong

    27strong Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2011
    thanks all.

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