We need your amazing chicken photos for our 2020 Calendar! Submit your pics HERE!

Chickens Don’t Care About Chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Msfur08, Aug 13, 2019.

  1. Msfur08

    Msfur08 In the Brooder

    22
    29
    44
    May 25, 2019
    Me: *terrified and anxious and stressed about introducing the four baby chicks to the ten big ones for the first time today.* (They are five weeks old, but since it has been warmer outside than inside and I have some cats that might have tried to get them, the chicks have actually been kept in the “coop” (which is half my garage) in an enclosed area, for the past month.)

    All the chickens, big and small: *Going about their business like, “nothing to see here”*

    Is it normal for chickens to totally not care about the new tiny additions?

    Last time I introduced younger ones (who were closer in age/size than these ones), there was a lot more pecking.

    I mean, a couple of them gave the chicks a threatening stare or half peck. (Mostly the ones lower in the pecking order and closer to the size of the chicks). But there was hardly any chasing or anything. The babies walked pretty much freely around the big ones, drinking and pecking around.

    They are almost as big as my young bantam Cochin, but much smaller compared to the others, about half of which are just about full grown.

    Does that mean I don’t have to worry about them or do they sometimes have a delayed reaction?

    I’ll admit this has been a summer of establishing my first flock, so maybe they’re just used to getting new friends...
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  2. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    1,526
    3,727
    292
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    How old are the older ones? Did you put them together in a large outside area today, is that what you're saying, and there were no problems? Where is everybody going to sleep tonight? And finally, what is everybody eating? Do the babies get the same food as the big chickens?
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  3. Shamo Hybrid

    Shamo Hybrid Songster

    1,794
    1,984
    196
    Jun 6, 2018
    It really just depends. Sometimes you are lucky enough to have a chilled as heck flock while other folks have flocks that plays out like the Braveheart movie every day. You just can never know with flock dynamics and can only hope for the best. I think in your case you lucked out.
     
    ValerieJ, rosemarythyme and Msfur08 like this.
  4. Msfur08

    Msfur08 In the Brooder

    22
    29
    44
    May 25, 2019
    The oldest five are about five/six months (still waiting on eggs, but my big rooster is crowing).

    Then of the other five “medium” chickens, two are probably four months and the other three I think are three months. (Honestly, I’ve sort of lost track. The chicken math happened fast.)

    So, I have everyone on chick starter still, but when the big ones go into the yard, next to a feeder of chick starter, they have a separate feeder of layer feed (that only my biggest ones ever really mess with, mostly just my rooster) and free choice grit (regular and chick size) and oyster shells. I also sometimes offer mealworms, black oil sunflower seeds, lettuce, and basil. And they usually get a lot of home grown tomatoes and apples. Plus whatever bugs and greens they find.

    For the past week, I have been letting the baby chicks run around the full coop when the others were in the yard all day. But then I would close them back into their smaller area to sleep. Today, instead of putting the babies back, I just let them stay out when I brought the big ones in. I braced myself for chasing and pecking, but maybe because the big ones came in only a couple at a time, they took a look at the babies and went about their business, taking a drink, picking at the litter, preening, and getting up on the roost. The smaller ones gave a few dirty looks that sent the chicks running off and a couple half hearted pecks. But nothing persistent or terribly violent. My big rooster even ate next to one of the chicks with no issue.

    The reason for the rush is because one of the chicks is not handling confinement well and picks the feathers out of the other ones to the point of making my crested polish chick bald. (She has blu-kote on her head and the new feathers are coming in. No open wounds.) So, I’m anxious to get them integrated ASAP so they can go in the yard with the big ones. The chicks have pathetically stared at the big ones every evening that they are locked up, pressing against the side to get as close as possible to the big ones.

    They are sleeping in their enclosure, but I left it open for them. I should note that within the coop, there is a spot the chicks can safely get under that would be a major squeeze for my five biggest ones and still tight for three of the five medium ones. Only the two closest to the chicks’ size could fit under there without their bellies touching the floor.

    During the day, I plan to keep the chicks in the coop, which is half my two car garage (so think the size of a one car garage is all theirs). Mainly because I know from integrating previous younger chickens that the big ones will happily walk away or chase them off, leaving them vulnerable to things like cats and dogs or hawks.

    So, for now, they will still only have the chick food available to them.
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  5. Msfur08

    Msfur08 In the Brooder

    22
    29
    44
    May 25, 2019
    I was wondering if some chickens are just really chill. I thought maybe they’re used to new additions since they have all come in twos or threes (and the rooster cane alone) over the course of the summer. Plus my neighbor’s chickens sometimes come up to the fence (including two roosters) and say hi and leave. So, maybe they’re just used to new birds showing up.

    Plus, the chicks aren’t exactly “new” since they have been next to them in the coop for a month now.

    And the breeds I have are are pretty friendly in general. Many of them often let me and my daughters pet them and pick them up, sometimes even approaching us for attention when we are sitting outside. My Speckled Sussex regularly delays getting on the roost in the evenings and prefers to walk around us until we pick her up and put her on there. I know she can do it herself because I’ve seen her do it. But then again, I also have a cat who jumps on my shoulder to be carried multiple times per day. We really just have excessively friendly animals.
     
    ValerieJ likes this.
  6. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    1,526
    3,727
    292
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    So it sounds like all the birds have been in a "
     
  7. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    1,526
    3,727
    292
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Oops, sorry. Trying again. All the birds have been in a "see but don't touch" environment for quite a while, is that right? So the chicks are not exactly "new" to the older birds. That would explain why there are no major problems. Sounds like you are doing everything right!
    The only change I would suggest is to remove the layer feed and switch to an all-flock formula. You don't want the little ones eating layer feed, it has too much calcium for their little kidneys. Since you offer oyster shell, that's perfect and safe. The laying hens will eat what they need when they need it.
     
  8. Msfur08

    Msfur08 In the Brooder

    22
    29
    44
    May 25, 2019
    Thanks! I will look into the all flock feed.

    They did great again today, so it seems all is well. The chicks stayed inside, but seemed to be doing really well.

    The layer feed is set up higher, so it is hard for the younger/smaller/shorter ones to reach. I was thinking of switching their food next time I get more though (trying to find a good organic, soy free food that can ship here reasonably priced - less than a dollar per pound total.)
     
    ValerieJ and BigBlueHen53 like this.
  9. BigBlueHen53

    BigBlueHen53 Crowing

    1,526
    3,727
    292
    Mar 5, 2019
    SE Missouri, USA
    Sounds like you're on it!
     
    ValerieJ and Msfur08 like this.
  10. Chickrus

    Chickrus Hatching

    3
    3
    3
    Aug 16, 2019
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: