7 week old chick integration. Force interaction? Or let the older ones free range?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kie4, Oct 31, 2016.

  1. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi,

    My current situation is 4, 18 week old chickens in a coop, with a small 6x4 section separated by wire with 2 escape doors for 3 7 week olds who are being introduced.

    In the morning the 4, 18 week olds come down off their roost, out of the pop door into the run and out the 2nd pop door to free range. At dusk they come back, have a bit to eat and go up into the coop and onto the roost.

    Not much interaction is taking place so shall I lock the older ones in so they are forced to see the new ones through the wire?
    Or continue to have it this way and hope the young ones will gain confidence and come out of their panic room to join the others?
     
  2. SIMZ

    SIMZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's a good thing. They really won't have much interaction until your little ones reach maturity anyway, then you'll start seeing them hanging around as one flock. (At least that's how it goes here.) After the little guys get more comfortable they'll most likely start venturing out, too. Just make sure they have plenty of room to get away from the big ones and access to their own feed and water. Otherwise, it sounds like things are going well!
     
  3. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks @SIMZ I'll keep things going like this, and stop being impatient to see them all running around outside together :)
     
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Even when you have a hen raise them up in the flock so that there is no integration issue, the youngsters are always a sub flock within the flock. They hang together, and mostly stay out of the way of the older birds. This seems to continue until the pullets begin to lay. Then they sub flock behavior disappears, and they are all together one flock.

    It is quite noticeable if you watch before that, and just disappears afterwards.

    Mrs k
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    How long have your chicks been in the coop?
    They have not gone thru the doors at all?

    Mine were brooded in coop from one week old...then at 4 weeks old I opened the 'panic' doors.
    When I opened the tiny doors, I shut the pop door(older birds were outside) and shoved/herded the chicks thru the doors, back and forth, until they got the hang of it. Let them roam the main coop for awhile 'herding' them back and forth thru the tiny doors. Then put one docile hen back in the coop so the chicks could meet her, and they could learn to flee her if needed. Then left the doors open....but chicks spent most their time on their side, so I took wall down at 6 weeks old. Chicks had their own run and ramp so knew how that worked, but it took some time before they would go into main run.
     
  6. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That's interesting @Mrs. K , It's very interesting to ee how this unfolds. As long as there are no serious injuries to our new girls!
     
  7. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi @aart , the way you went about it sounds perfect. We have the panic room set up so I think we're on the right track.
    Something very interesting is happening with the larger of the 3 new comers. For the last 2 days she stays in the panic room all day long, then follows the big hens up the ramp into the coop and then up again onto the roost (There is only one roost). Once up on the roost she gets pecked until she falls off. She gets herself together again and when everything is has calmed down she jumps up again for another pecking. After a few rounds of this the 4th place big hen let's her have a space at the far end of the roost away from the other 4.

    This is happening tonight as well. There's no bleeding and only the loss of the odd feather so I think when this runs it's course the bigger of the 3 younger chickens will bridge the gap and I'll have a group of 5 and 2.

    This is a very interesting part of keeping chickens, I'm watching closely every night.
     
  8. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Tino tried her best tonight, but the the lowest ranking older bird NHR kept putting her in her place until she settled with roosting on the sloped poop board.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. kie4

    kie4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Interesting because during the day she hangs out with her brooder buddies in the panic room. Then at night she sneaks up into the coop, takes a few beatings and sleeps near the established flock of 4. It's like her instinct drives her, despite being picked on, to sleep at the highest point available. Or is it her instinct driving her to become part of the flock?

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    Yes, they are working it out. It will get better. Sometimes this is when people think they know best and will repeparate them, and then it starts all over. As long as it is the birds choice, and there is an escape, a pecking is generally looking much worse than it is.

    Mrs K
     

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