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Added to 8 weeks old babies to my pen.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by feathered flock, Aug 25, 2013.

  1. feathered flock

    feathered flock Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2013
    Hi, I had a rooster and hen around 4 months old. I was not sure if I was going to keep the roo or not so I got some baby hens to keep my hen company if I did rehome the roo. Well when the babies came we kept them in a holding pen inside the coop for 24 hours. They had plenty of space, food and water. So today we let them out to see how the older ones did with them and the roo started pecking one of the babies pretty hard and jumping on their head!! I am new to chickens and this was horrifying for me. My husband was in the pen with me and we supervised to make sure the lil one didn't get hurt. Is this natural behavior?

    The roo seemed very aggressive and I felt so bad for the baby. My older hen was following the roo and looked like she was protecting the babies but then she started pecking at them but not nearly has bad as the roo. Well we took out the roo, and left her with the babies, she calmed down but every now and then she pecks them and charges them. She went to roost in the hen house and they were going to roost on the hen house, but I moved them in the hen house with her. she didn't do anything but I am concerned in for in the morning. Should I have not let them in the hen house?

    Also I am concerned for my older hen cause the roo was her only mate and friend before the babies came but we took him out of the pen. Will she flock with the babies or did we just single her out?

    Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you!
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    South Georgia
    The pecking order can get pretty rough with chickens, especially if some are smaller than others, and especially if they are introduced suddently, without seeing and hearing each other for a while (often a few weeks) first, as through a fence. Here is a good article on the variousu aspects of introducing new chickens:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/803815/integrating-two-groups/0_20
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. feathered flock

    feathered flock Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2013
    I guess I was on the right track with the holding pen for the babies, but didn't leave them in long enough. Should I maybe put them back in?

    They seem to be doing ok, they just avoid my older hen. And for the most part she is avoiding them. She is still charging at them but not as bad as yesterday and she's not really pecking so much. She is hoarding the food a bit but the pen is 8 foot by 8 foot and my hen and babies are bantams. There is food in several places for them and they can dig for bugs and what not and they have plenty of space to stay away from each other. Maybe I'm being hopeful but I think they all with get over it soon enough.
     
  4. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    The only reason my Bantam Wyandotte gets along well with the California Greys is because I raised the flock of CA Greys with her when they matured to about her size. She was alone since her rooster passed away, but I knew she was a gentle hen. I generally don't like mixing up older flocks with younger flocks, so I run a couple coops and rotate range days. Like Flockwatcher said, sudden changes are stressful to birds and they can be quite ruthless. The link posted has reliable information. I hope your birds get adjusted.,
     
  5. feathered flock

    feathered flock Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2013
    Thanks for the responses. I have a lot to learn. Just to show how new I am to chickens, I figured out that I was using the wrong terminology when I said my hen. She is actually a pullet, just about to be four months old and has not started laying yet. She is roughly two months older then the babies. Does that make much of a difference with trying to flock them?

    I have been checking on them and my pullet really seems to have calmed down. I witnessed her allowing the babies access to the water and just came up around them and started drinking too. The babies just moved out of her way.

    I hope she flocks with them soon, its sad watching her by herself.
     
  6. feathered flock

    feathered flock Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 12, 2013
    Well tonight was a good night!!! My babies have discovered the high perch in the pen. Its probably 5 to 6 feet up. I was surprised to watch them get up there, they roosted there last night while my 4 month old pullet slept in the hen house all alone. Originally the babies tried to go in there with her, she allowed one to crawl under her but was not having the other one join so thats when the babies found the perch. Anyhow that was last night and now for tonight, "the good night"....as bedtime started the babies went to the perch again and my 4 month old pullet was going in and out of the hen house looking unsettled. Well after a few times of this in and out she flew up to the babies perch and joined them. There was a bit of pecking anytime the babies touched her but after a while they all settled down and are now roosting together!!! It was so nice to watch and makes me feel so much better about them flocking!!! [​IMG]
     
  7. Michael Apple

    Michael Apple Overrun With Chickens

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    That's great. Keep an eye on them and watch their behavior. That's how we all learn.
     

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