Chick integration not going well.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by MuscovyMad, May 15, 2011.

  1. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I recently moved my 8 week old banam cochins up in with my cockerel as his 2 hens were killed by a fox and he was very lonely. And luckily he was glad to have company tha he never bothered at all when i added the chicks. Even though one of them insisted on grabbing hold of his wattles and swinging from his face. [​IMG] . However i recently added 3 more chicks at 6 weks old and their integration isn't going well.

    My cockerel is great with them. However the 8 week old chicks are evil. One of the new cockerels attacked and killed my 6 week old cockerel in the night. [​IMG] Said cockerel is no longer a problem. However te 8 week old hens are still picking on the little ones. and after 3 days they are still 2 seperate groups despite being locked in the coop together.

    How long will it take before the chicks fully integrate?

    I usually let them free range but i have kept them inside as i don't know if the chicks will find their way back. Also as they are so smal and the cockerel is busy protecting the 8 week olds i'm worried about letting tem about because of crows etc.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    That is a problem. Is there some way you can house them side by side yet separate for a week or so? That way the new ones will come to understand where home is and return there at night. They will not be sleeping with the others so they are not locked in a small space together. Then, when they can free range, let them out at the same time so the young have room to get away from the older ones. After a few weeks of free ranging together, you can move them together at night.

    I usually wait until they are about 8 week sold before I let mine free range, mainly from concern that they are so small they are more prone to be hawk bait. I'm probably being over-cautious since broodies will often wean their chicks at 4 to 5 weeks of age and they get along fine, but I figure Mama taught them to take care of themselves. Brooder raised chicks do not have that advantage.
     
  3. PetRock

    PetRock Overrun With Chickens

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    Are you letting them out in a run during the day? Last year when we integrated three young ones with our flock of 4 who were 5-6 weeks older, we made sure that the little ones had a hiding place to go to escape the older one's attention. We just put cement paver blocks in a corner of the run with plywood on top secured with flat paver blocks. We made sure that the openings into the baby club house were too small for the bigger girls. We got the little ones used to their space by feeding them their treats in there while the older girls got theirs out in the main part of the run. It only took them once or twice to figure out that it was their safe place. We also have some big cut stumps and a large tree branch in our run. That gave them even more obstacles to run around and thus escape the older ones. We also made sure that they had more than one place for food and water. The older four couldn't spend all their time defending multiple food/water sites! There was some pecking at the beginning but within a week or two, peace prevailed! Our chicks were older than yours, though. The babies were 13 weeks while the older ones were19-20 weeks.
     
  4. MuscovyMad

    MuscovyMad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't really have anywhere seperate but together to house the chicks. As i do have a large dog carrier but it is currently occupied by a broody hen and chick. I checked on the chicks after i posted and they don't seem to be getting attacked anymore. However the 2 younger chicks just stay in the coop whilst the rest are scratching away in the run. The predator i am more concerned about is the farm cat. She hasn't threatened the chicks in the past in any way and when she gets to close the cockerel goes for her. However my concern is that if the younger chicks free range just the two of them and don't keep up with the main flock then they might be at risk.

    I have put a large box inside the coop and cut a little hole in the side which is small enough for the little ones to get in and is too small for the larger ones. I also put some food in there for the chicks to top up. In saying that they seem to be getting enough of their fill from the feeders. I have 2 seperate feeders already and the older hens do share the feeders with the younger ones.

    I also done a bit of gardening and trimmed a couple of branches from a tree to put in the run. I will try and let them free range in a couple of days and see how they get on. If the younger ones don't leave the coop and run i might jsut lock them in. That way the older ones will be able to free range and still see the younger ones thorugh the mesh o the run. And it may encourage the younger ones to use the run more.

    Thanks for your help and i will keep you posted. [​IMG]
     

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