At what age do chickens become aggressive toward newcomers?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by AmethystOwl, Mar 7, 2017.

  1. AmethystOwl

    AmethystOwl New Egg

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    Mar 7, 2017
    Hello all! I am new to this site and joined specifically to ask this question. We lost our entire flock last year to a wild predator and after reinforcing the coop we are ready to bring home a new batch of chicks. However our local feed stores get in only a few breeds at a time and we want a variety of different ones. I know that chickens, once they have established their flock, become territorial when you try to incorporate new members. My question is at what age does this start to set in? If I have 3 week old chicks and bring home a few new hatchlings will the older ones already start to attack the new comers to sort out the pecking order? I want the best for my babies and don't want to endanger anyone. :) Thank you for taking the time to read my question.
     
  2. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC.

    Have you thought about ordering all the breeds you want at the same time...online?
    Where are you located?

    Btw..i don't know the answer to your question.
    I would guess that if they were just a few weeks apart they may get along easier/quicker??
     
  3. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    The size difference is too great between 3 week olds and day olds. The heat needs are also much different. If you are using a heat lamp, it will be difficult to keep the younger chicks warm without overheating the older ones. Chicks under 8 weeks old are still pretty flexible when it comes to adding new flock members, as long as there is plenty of space and multiple feeders.
     
  4. KikisGirls

    KikisGirls Be Happy! Read more. Premium Member

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    see ^ I didn't even think about the heat issue.
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Welcome to BYC AmethystOwl. If you can order direct and get all of the breeds you want in one order, that would be the easiest solution. Even if you have to order more birds than you want, you can always sell the extras once they are off heat. Last year, I brooded 2 batches of chicks that were exactly 3 weeks apart (set a second batch of eggs after the first batch hatched. This was easily accomplished by having a divided brooder for the first week (to give the babies time to get well established. I then let them all out to play in the run with the older chicks for a few days, then, completely removed the divider. IMO, the best way to brood chicks is with a heating pad. You can check that out as an option by reading the second article linked in my signature.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    I do well adding/moving birds until about 2-3 months of age. Before that there's posturing and such, but they're usually not seriously invested in the social structure. It's more mock fighting, play type behavior.

    I've done okay adding chicks 2-3 weeks apart in age to a brooder, but I use a large galvanized steel livestock trough, so there is a ton of space. Smaller tubs, etc...you'll probably want to have multiples, until the littles are a few weeks old and able to hold their own with the bigs.
     
  7. AmethystOwl

    AmethystOwl New Egg

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    Mar 7, 2017
    Thank you to everyone who has responded so far! It has been very helpful. I appreciate the info and look forward to learning more here at Back Yard Chickens.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    I've found them to be territorial(seriously blood letting territorial) as young as 2 weeks.
    But all are individuals and there no telling with live animals.
    I would suggest a large brooder that you are able to split with wire...you may be able to split your coop with wire walls.
    Or use dog crates with tiny doors as a safe haven for the smaller chicks.

    Dog crate with hack and slash fencing door as chick safe haven.
    I later removed the crate door and tweaked the fencing.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I also use this made out of 1/2" hardware cloth in the brooder,
    as a 'time out chick jail' if a particular chick is being too aggressive.
    [​IMG]
     
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  9. hidekumo

    hidekumo Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2017
    Hello, I'm new here too. After reading through the threads, I'm not sure if I should forget about my new plan.... anyone weights in your thoughts?

    I already have six 2-weeks old chicks (2 black sex links, 2 white sex links and 2 white leghorns) in a small coop. The original plan is to have my almost 6 years old girl take care of them, but they enjoy themselves far more than hanging out with my girl. (I'm okay with that) Just last week we were at a local ranch that sells days old well summers. What a big difference with this breeds! My girl is able to hold them, touch them, and they actually seem to enjoy being held! As someone mentioned even 2 weeks old chicks can be aggressive, but another has no problem introducing new chicks to a flock, am I being crazy to introduce just one well summer (which is about 10 days old by now) to the rest of the chicks?

    We really don't have option to get more chicks, as this would be more ideal. Or should I just forget about the well summer, at least for now?
     
  10. hidekumo

    hidekumo Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 4, 2017
    We live in California with warm weather, and I do have a long fenced/netted off area for the chicks to run about. So they do have plenty of space.

    [​IMG]
     

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