Bring new chicks into a coop question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by The Zoo, May 24, 2009.

  1. The Zoo

    The Zoo Songster

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    I have two 7.5 week old EE chicks and two one-year old PRs. I have the chicks in a coop within a coop set up now and let them out to wander around when I'm outside or where I can hear them call for help if the PRs start going after them (which they do).

    I have tried putting them in the coop with the big girls at night and that's definitely not going to work - the big girls don't like sharing and the chicks were literally huddling against me trying to get away.

    What have people found the best way to be to integrate them? Wait till the chicks are bigger and can fight back? I don't want to put them in the coop when it's dark because I won't wake up if the big girls start attacking the little ones in the morning.

    I was thinking of maybe one night taking the big girls away and kenneling them overnight in the garage and letting the chicks have the coop and then putting the big girls back the next night. Has anyone tried this? The coop is really only big enough for 4 or 5 hens so they'd better learn to get along since I can't section off a chick area.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    So many people report so many different results with integration it is obvious nothing works all the time. Letting the young ones reach full growth is supposed to help. Taking the aggressor(s) away then reintroducing them sometimes works. In your case, with just two chickens of each size, I'd consider taking one of the older hens away for a day and try to mix the two younger ones with one of the older hens. Some people report success having them wake up together but a lot also have success letting them mix when there is plenty of room to get away. I smile when I think about it, but Ddawn reports that she sprays the aggressor with a water hose a few times and it stops the aggression. Something about that image.

    Before you do that though, when you tried to mix them, was blood drawn? Was it dangerous, bloody, "I'm going to kill you" aggression or was it just the normal pecking order getting worked out. The normal pecking order can look pretty vicious but, as long as no physical damage is done, it is normal. You are the one that has to isolate and treat if blood is drawn. You are the observer and it is your call obviously. Easy for me to suggest from here.

    Good luck!!!
     
  3. The Zoo

    The Zoo Songster

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    May 13, 2009
    Hayward, CA
    No blood has been drawn because I haven't let it get that far. I've tried hosing Over and Easy (big girls) but that didn't seem to get them to stop. I've heard PRs are aggressive - I just hope they get over it since we're going to be a flock of four now.
     
  4. Creativedogma

    Creativedogma In the Brooder

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    I had good luck over the past 2 weeks with an introduction.

    I put a dog fence/baby gate in the middle of my run that attached to the hen house. I put shade cloth over the run part & made it into two apartments.

    The newbies (4 weeks) & older chicks (11 weeks) could see each other 24-7. I left it like this for 2 weeks & let them free range with supervision (still separated). Then at the end of 2 weeks over the course of 48 hours I let them all free range together...totally supervised by me.

    After 2 days of this I left the pen doors open & let them wander back in(removed the divider). So far no problems at all. I'm not saying that the 2 groups are going to be good friends, but so far no fighting at all....just the normal little peck here & there from the head of the pecking order.
     
  5. ROC4K

    ROC4K Songster

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    I've had my chicks in a caged run for several weeks exposed to free ranging flock. Today was the first day of full range for my chicks. They seem to do just fine. We have lots of space. which the speedy little chicks seems to use to the advantage. I'd say it's a case by space basis and probably more difficult with smaller size groups. Good Luck I'd expect to see some tail feathers missing in the beginning. My early escapees always seemed to get a feather or two plucked out by a hen and then would run back for cover.
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    Last edited: May 26, 2009

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