Adding new 8 week olds to the small flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Tonyandscarlett, Jul 23, 2016.

  1. Tonyandscarlett

    Tonyandscarlett In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2016
    I have two eight month old Barred Rock Hens that I got together, they are laying.

    I also have two six month olds I got together, they are not laying. It turns out 1 is a RIR and 1 is an Easter Egger mix; they were both supposed to be EE's.

    I just got three eight week old Ameraucana pullets and one white crested sapphire also 8 weeks old. These all came together.

    OK my question... the 4 older birds are very interested and picking on the babies. I know there is a pecking order to be figured out however, are the babies too young to be able to handle this? Right now I have them in a cage inside the coop with the others so they can be safe and also together.

    What should I be doing? The cage is adequate for now but a bit small for long term.

    Also they knock their water and food over and it is too hot to not have water but I can't sit there all day. Any way to prevent this from happening?

    Thank you everyone.

  2. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Get a water fountain that wont tip over.

    Space and temperament of older birds is going to have everything to do with how well this integration goes. Keeping the young ones in cage in the run for a week will greatly aid in odds of easier transition. Typically 8 weeks is a bit young to integrate. But again that has everything to do with temperament. Take a hatchery RIR (production red) for example. They are the absolute hardest on new flock members. Going out of their way to peck them and hard, and they continue to do this long after other birds have stopped. As in weeks of integrating and pecking opposed to a few days or week.

    All you can do is try and keep watch. If injuries start to occur then you've your answer- they are too young to be introduced and must have adjacent housing until larger and able to take the pecking order integration. Or remove the offending bird (if only one) and keep the young birds with rest of flock while offender is in a cage for a week. By shuffling up the flock order like that once the dominant bird is let back into flock it's busy retaking dominance and is dealing with a flock mentality opposed to a few new introductions and being current top dog of existing flock.
  3. Tonyandscarlett

    Tonyandscarlett In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2016

    I think I will keep them in a cage inside the coop while they grow a bit. I can't add another coop or run but also can't watch them be terrorized! I think I know who the problem is but then... there seems to be two of them so maybe just normal stuff going on here. I have them in a warmer spot as it is a bit cool tonight... ugh babies... see I said I would never do babies I didn't know how little they would be!

    Again thanks for the advice. I found a water dish they can't tip over and they are all huddled together right now anyway.
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Have you heard of nipple waterers? They're easy to make out of any plastic bottle. You can get the nipples at most feed stores and all you need to do is drill hole in the bottom of a plastic bottle or bucket and screw them in. Chickens learn very fast how to use them so no fear of them dying of thirst. Tip: make sure you vent the lid or the water won't come out.

    As for the bullying, this is to be expected. But keeping the chicks cooped up in a cage is not going to be good. It will only encourage them to start picking on one another.

    It's so simple to create a "panic room" out of your cage and the chicks will be able to come and go at will. Just take the door off and stretch some hardware cloth or chicken wire over the door opening. Then cut a little door in the wire covering, about six inches wide by about seven inches high. (Tape the sharp edges) Then place food and water in the cage. This will enable the chicks to scoot into the cage to find relief from any bullying and they can always find food and water without needing to compete with the older chickens. But they will also have freedom to explore the rest of the run and to learn how to fit into the existing pecking order.

    This is very important for chicks to develop self confidence as well as assuring they get all they need to eat as they grow to full size. Make sure you install perches high enough around the run so the chicks can fly up out of reach of their tormentors. Integration isn't tricky as long as you've taken these steps.

  5. Tonyandscarlett

    Tonyandscarlett In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2016
    Thank you very valuable information. Yes I have some nipples to make bottles out of. right now I have bird waterers on the door of the cage but they need refilled a lot during the day.

    do you think 8 weeks is too young? Should I let them get some size first?
  6. Tonyandscarlett

    Tonyandscarlett In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2016

    Sorry caps was on.
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Free Ranging Premium Member

    Mar 15, 2010
    On the MN prairie.
    I integrated mine at 5-6 weeks this year. I used to wait longer, but after reading on here that younger integrations seem to go better, I tried it. I did have one hen that was almost brutal to the chicks, but they quickly learned to get out of her way. I was *this close* to just removing her for a while. (Actually, she did accidentally get locked in another coop for a few days and seemed to settle down a bit after that.) I put up quite a few hiding places (leaned plywood against the walls in the coop, and several in the run) and made sure they had two feeding and watering stations. They also free ranged after a week or so, and that helped a lot. Azygous has given good information, and Egghead mentioned space - very helpful.
    1 person likes this.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Lots and lots...and lots of space...and lots of place to hide/get away.
    Be careful with the nipples in this heat, if they don't catch on quickly (and many do not), dehydration can happen pretty fast.

  9. sawilliams

    sawilliams Songster

    Nov 12, 2015
    Nor Cal

    I moved my babies to the coop at 5 weeks. 6 laying hens 6 babies. I had them about a week in a large dog crate to get acquainted before I opened the crate. I just propped the door so that there was just enough room for the Littles to get in and out but not enough for the big girls to get in. The baby's are now about 24 weeks most are laying and all are fine. Yes the older girls pecked a little but nothing was ever to bad. My kids would tell me the big girls were being mean but I never saw anything worry some. Eventually the Littles moved them selves into the coop and everyone figured it out. Not to say is always smooth but it worked. Yes my bigs still peck at the Littles from time to time but not much more then they peck at each other so I don't worry about it. Give it time and they will adjust. I think having a safe place to hide helps. I has gotten the idea to leave the brooder crate in the run from anowhere post about outdoor brooding. The writer has actually built a brooding pen to the side of her run with little port holes just big enough for the chicks. Now she liked it for her own reasons, I really liked it for the idea of giving each age group their space together.

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