Can I introduce bantam chicks to my flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by lilychemgirl, Mar 23, 2009.

  1. lilychemgirl

    lilychemgirl In the Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2009
    Hi All,
    I have been reading for a while, but have not asked any questions before now. We have (at the moment) 5 hens, 1 pullet and 1 cockerel (both 5 months, the cockerel will probably be dinner soon though). It is autumn here in New Zealand. We have hatched 3 lots of chicks now, the first with a broody hen from a friend, the second with two of our own broodies (they co-sat and raised the chicks together, lol, they have some silky in them so are very broody), and the third with another of our hens. The hens we have are mixed breed ranging from reasonably small to large, our roo is a purebred buff orpington so pretty big but docile (he is actually bottom of the pecking order and our largest hen is in charge), and the pullet is a purebred blue andalusian.
    We would like to hatch an autumn hatch of either sebright or pekin bantams (the weather here is pretty mild in autumn, and even in winter it doesn't get that cold), but I am not sure if the chicks will be OK with our larger birds. The last lot of chicks we had (we ended up with a buff orp roo, blue andalusian pullet and 2 roos, and a lavender araucana roo) were OK with the hens, their mamas looked after them until 6 weeks or so and then they were fine, although they got hassled a bit by the hens, but I am worried that bantams will be so small they will get bullied. We can either hatch them in with the other hens or in a seperate run. At the moment our chooks have a 4m3 indoor area and a 4m3 outdoor area with nesting boxes, a couple of different roosts outdoors and a tree fern they can hide under, so they don't have heaps of space, but there are places they can get away from the older hens if necessary.
    So... will young bantams be OK with older larger hens? Should I hatch them in with the other hens or add them just after they are born (when their mama will be looking after them) or wait until 8 weeks?
    Sorry about the essay, lol!
    Thanks in advance [​IMG]
    Lily
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Glad to have you in the forum. Sounds like you already have quite a bit of experience. Please share when you feel comfortable.

    I'd definitely want the mama to raise them in with the flock if that were at all possible. She will protect them until they can fend for themselves and the other chickens will be used to them. There will still be pecking order issues after mama lets them go, but these should be minor compared to the potential difficulties of introducing new chickens. After they are grown, I would not be surprised to find the bantams somewhere other than the bottom of the pecking order. Some of the pecking order issues can be minimized by having separate feeding and watering areas in the same coop or run. Gives the henpecked a place to eat and drink in peace.
     
  3. Chickenfortress

    Chickenfortress Songster

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    May 8, 2008
    We have a few bantams that we purchased with an order of standard sizes. They got along fine in the brooder. A few weeks after they merged into the big coop with our other few birds we had one get seriously injured. She has been tormented the entire time she has been in there, with short respites. We bring her in to heal and recuperate. Now our second bantam hen is getting knocked about. The two stay in each others company, well away from the rest. To make sure they get some outside time, we have to pick them up and walk them out to the yard. Now thats it's spring here, we are building the bantys a new coop of their own. Thats a good thing, since a couple of the new hatches are bantams as well. Or bantam rooster has no troubles, however. I would suggest, based on my experience, that you provide separate housing unless you are good with suturing chicken skin.
     
  4. lilychemgirl

    lilychemgirl In the Brooder

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    Mar 23, 2009
    Oh dear, that doesn't sound good! We don't want to permenantly have two chicken runs (we are in the suburbs and space is at a premium) so if we can't house bantams with our other girls I think we will have to give up [​IMG]
    We had a little rosecomb rooster once, he was boss rooster even though we had two other heavy breed roosters and he was only the size of a blackbird! Maybe it depends on the breed of banty? Maybe if I get some that are reasonably feisty?
    Cheers,
    Lily
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana

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