Can we all get along?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kneiley1, Aug 31, 2014.

  1. Kneiley1

    Kneiley1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Some of you may have read my post about losing 3 out of 4 chickens to dogs last week. So my RIR would not be lonely, we added 3 chicks. Chicks I put in Rubbermaid in coop so Helen would have some company! Helen now 7 weeks, chicks now 2. I have a Wichita styles coop with run accessed thru door opening.

    All of this to ask, when can I introduce them to each other? During day I have let chicks out of brooder into coop but have been closing off run so my big girl stays alone. A bit of work to get baby's back in brooder to put big girl in coop at night. Really would like to introduce as soon as possible so not so much coordination. Thoughts on when/how to introduce?
     
  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Overrun With Chickens

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    Are the new chicks and your older bird able to "see" each other and mingle somewhat through a wire barrier throughout the day? This is what you want. And yes, it does take time, sometimes lots of time. I would say most likely 2-3 weeks at the minimum. Oh, the things we do for our girls!!
     
  3. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry to hear about your losses and what a delicate situation it has left you. In my experience, it's been easier to introduce mature hens to 2 week old chicks than adolescent pullets to young chicks. I kept my chicks in a smaller run inside the big run so they could be safely introduced and when they were 5-6 weeks, began letting them mingle with the whole flock during supervised time. The hens ignored the babies but the older pullets would give chase and occasionally peck at them but nothing too vicious.

    If you could set up a run beside your older chick's run so she can see them but not touch them to get used to them through a boundary, then try putting her in with the little ones after a day or two and see what she does. She may be young enough to take comfort in having company but no doubt she will let them know that she is top of the flock. Make sure these interactions are supervised because she may be old enough to not take kindly to them and you can be there to remove her from their run if she's too aggressive and give them more time through the barrier. The closer she is to POL the more difficult it will be for her to accept them, imo.

    If the introductions don't go as planned, try finding her a single friend that is closer to her age so she won't be alone until the little ones can be with her all the time.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2014
  4. jtn42248

    jtn42248 Overrun With Chickens

    I would wait until the chicks are closer to your older birds age now...6-7 weeks for the little ones. Of course the older bird will then be about 14 weeks and may still not want them around. As suggested before by others, rig some way that they can see and in some small way interact with each other without actually being in contact. That will give them the change to acclimate to one another more and will give you the chance to see exactly how the older bird reacts to the little ones. RIRs can be funny in their interactions with other birds. They can be very friendly because they just happen to have a maternal instinct or they can be really nasty and vicious. However, your RIR is still young enough that she may just look at them and say...hey there, where y'all been?..

    I am going to have to face a similar challenge next year with my hens in order to keep a little egg selling business going. I dread it so much, the introducing of young hens to the older girls, that I am actually thinking about building a separate coop for the older girls and letting them go into retirement.

    Good luck. Let us know what happens.
     
  5. Kneiley1

    Kneiley1 Out Of The Brooder

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    So far...The Rubbermaid was see through so the little girls have had eye contact with Helen for the week or so they have been here. I let the chicks out into the "loft" as the kids call it and all went well. We also introduced a worm and the chicks ran around "like chickens with their " heads on! and down the little stairs into the run. I sat with them for quite some time as they were all together and it seemed to go well. They were in together for 3 or 4 hours. :rolleyes: Helen seemed quite taken with the chicks. When they annoyed her she gave a bit of chase but very little pecking.

    I put them back in the see through brooder before locking up for the night and all four seemed annoyed with me. I am going to let them out in the morning and see how tomorrow goes... Life on the urban Farm continues, I wonder what a farmer would think of all my worrying! :rolleyes:
     
  6. islandgirl82

    islandgirl82 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm glad it went well for everyone! I hope it continues this way. I'm sure helen was so happy to have some company
     

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