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Adding three 7-month old Hens to seven 3-month old chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TheCrazyChick, Mar 3, 2013.

  1. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    The only posts I can find describe adding chicks to older birds. My issue is the opposite.

    I need to add three 7-month old laying hens (Black Copper Marans) to an established 3-month old flock of 7 (BA, BO, BB, BR, BLRW, WJG, EE). Their quarantine period will be over in about a week. So far no health issues have showed up with the laying hens. Also on the plus side is the fact that these marans are quite docile and sweet. They are, however, VERY noisy when they lay. The flock of 7 chicks is usually quite quiet, but about half are pretty active. They do love to simply roost quietly ofte ntimes during the day, though.

    Any suggestions for me, considering the age difference and temperaments? I will be quite tempted to just put all three of the marans in the coop at dark and see how it goes.
     
  2. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Technically 4 months of age is the absolute best time to combine younger with older. At 3 months you might be just fine if they are around the same size as the older ones and since there are more of them than there are of the older ones.

    Hang around and see what happens if you integrate (you can get out there in the a.m. to see). If they look like they might be killed then separate them again. Some pecking is normal but they should back down.
     
  3. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would put the new chicken on the roost in the evening when the other are settled in and dozing off. They sleep pretty soundly but they will be near the new flock member and hear her sounds when they are at their most docile.

    Mine don't leave the roost until they hear me coming to open the coop but if your hens ump off the roost at sunrise you should be there to see how it goes in the morning when you let them out. Our Maran is very sweet but she is so large that none of the hens ever our nasty RIR messes with her.


    BTW, most hens are sing loudly at first but will settle down after a while but our Maran still sings her egg song every time. Fortunately she has a pleasant song, we have a Buff Orp who sounds like she is being murdered.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  4. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks for the advice. My Marans are also very sweet, but LARGE. I am hoping this will "weigh" in their favor. Ha! Also nice to know their egg songs may quiet down. They all sound like they are being murdered right now. neighbors are going to love that come spring.

    It's good to know that their age is conducive to integrating. Their size, though, is nothing close to the Marans. The Marans are HUGE! (But beautiful.)
     
  5. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our Maran weighs 8 pounds. The two Maran chicks (and the two Buffs) are about 2 weeks old now and ) are all huge compared to the other chicks hatched the same day.
     
  6. missnu01

    missnu01 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You would do it the same way...
    Put something so the new chickens can see the existing chickens, but not really get to each other...Then after a week or so you should be able to let everyone mingle without any issues.
     
  7. farmer boy

    farmer boy Chillin' With My Peeps

    thecrazychick did you add them together yet ?? if you did how did it go ?? i find it doesn't really matter with the age when you put them together if you have a lot of younger fully feather birds and some adult birds going together its usually better if the younger group has more birds then the older because the younger ones has the upper hand with the numbers then the size and age .. my australorps when i added them with the other older ones they were fine because there were 7 of them and 4 were roos though and there were 3 hens and it worked out but i only have the 3 hens got rid of 3 roos and one roo died so now the hens are with the alpha roo all the time .. do you have any roosters ??
     
  8. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    No roosters. I ended up building a tractor for them and put it right up against the lower run. They were out there for 2 days and then we had rain and snow storm and fierce winds, so they have not been back out there. Everything was perfectly fine, though. A few loud squawks from the young ones, then they all ignored each other. The hens were comfortable enough to lay eggs out there, too. I plan on doing the tractor again on Friday, then putting them in the coop by themselves on saturday while the young ones are down below. Then opening up the lower pop door at night and see if they'll roost together. keep your fingers crossed!
     
  9. TheCrazyChick

    TheCrazyChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Well, yesterday was nice and sunny, so I moved up the schedule. Put the three 7 month old hens in the coop, herded the seven 4 month olds into the lower run then closed the pop door. waited a half day to let the hens get acclimated to new space, then opened the pop door. One by one the smaller ones took their chances to check out the new arrivals. I now know the meeting of "hen fight." It wasn't actually too bad, but the smaller ones didn't stay long upstairs. Gradually the hens made their way to the lower run. A bit noisy. Smaller ones crowded into a corner trying to get away, but no blood spilled. Just very noisy.

    Only 1 out of the 3 hens ended up being a bit abusive. I finally removed her and put her in the tractor next to the coop. Things immediately calmed down. At dusk I took her into the house to the quarantine cage to chill out. She immediately laid an egg. Left her in there all night.

    Went back out to the coop to check on the others before it got dark and all 7 of the smaller ones were lined up on the highest perch. The 2 BCMs were clucking around paying them no mind.

    This morning I went out to open the lower pop door and everything was pretty calm. The smaller ones were still skittish, but were fine once I opened the door. Once they were down below, one of the hens gave me an egg in the nesting box! It appears that the hens roosted on the lower roost last night by the looks of the poops. (Theirs is larger and firmer than the the smaller ones.)

    Just put the 3rd hen back out there to see what might happen. She is down below giving them grief,, but not like yesterday. I will let them sort it out for awhile before thinking about removing her again.

    Keeping my fingers crossed.
     
  10. aggiemae

    aggiemae Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Try putting the hen in "time out" in to the coop after the rest have settled for the night. Chicken have a good sense of smell and it has seemed to me that they adjust better to new arrivals when the smell new hens for a while before seeing them.

    To be honest though I have one mean hen, she isn't the boss hen of the flock so seem to limit her nastiness to chasing the "low hen" away form food. My chicken friend tell me that I have been very lucky. Yes, I have seen some drama,but I haven't had any hens with issues serious enough that they cause each other injuries.
     

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