Chicks introduced to big girls....chaos and....blood (!)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by bobchristenson, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    My first introduction of chicks to chickens and its not going so great, but I've never done this before (or seen it done) so I'm not sure where the line should be. Here's the details:

    1. Chicks are 5 1/2 weeks
    2. They were separated from the 'big girls' for about 5 days by only chickenwire. So they could see and be with each other that whole time
    3. Today I put them in the run with the big girls and dismatled the seperator (oops!?) so it's not easy to separate them again.
    4. It's been about 2 hours and I just saw blood on one of the chicks foot. (maybe from a peck, maybe from running into chicken wire)

    Basiclaly the chicken who's been in the run the longest has been terrorizing them. Chasing them into corners, pecking pretty hard at them...etc. They found (and I created) a place they can get away (under the nest boxes) but they can't always get there..the big hen corners them and they flip out.

    I've heard you let them establish everything until you see blood. Well, I saw was only a little and on a I kill the experiment?

    I need help..quick! (bedtime starts around now and wondering if I leave them overnight)
  2. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    If the Chicks dont have a mother it's going to be harder, but I would defiantly separate them either in another cage safe from predators or just put them a cardboard box in the house over night. Just keep Introducing them to the big flock a little more each day until they sort things out in the chicken social structure.
  3. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 12, 2009
    I waited till my new chicks were 16 Weeks old,and then I introduced them at night.My 3 older rsl hens always dominated the younger ee's.I kept the ee in a play pen until I added them to the coop at night.I would recommend waiting till 14 to 16 Weeks old before combining.
  4. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    x2. I never try to integrate youngsters until around 16 weeks as well. My grow out pen is right alongside my older birds run so everybody gets used to seeing each other for quite a while before there is any mingling. My chicks go into their coop/run at about 5 weeks old so it's about another 10 or 11 weeks before I let them out in the barn/pasture area with the bigger birds. By that time they've seen each other around so much that scuffles are pretty minor.
  5. lbrtyldy

    lbrtyldy Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 18, 2011
    I agree that they are too young to protect themselves! It's a learn as you go experiment, this chicken raising.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I consistently integrate chicks at 8 weeks. My broodies do it at a much younger age.

    My brooder is in the coop. They can see each other from Day 1. My grow-out coop and run shares a fence with the adults. I have a 12' x 32' run and a 30' x 65' area in electric netting for them. When they are about 7 week sold, I open the gates and let the young ones run in the large netting area while the adults stay in a run, alternating daily which group gets the netting area. When they are 8 weeks old, I let them go together. The young ones go back to the grow-out coop at night to sleep.

    Usually when they are 12 weeks old I move them to the adult coop at night. I've never had a problem doing it this way.

    I don't know how much space they have and you said you don't know where the blood came from. I'd probably keep them separated a bit longer before it tried again.

    Good luck!
  7. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Unless they have a mother to protect them, young birds should be closer to the size of the birds you are putting them with, so that they have some chance of protecting themselves. Wait until they are a little older (and bigger) and try again - it wont be that long.
  8. lclough1998

    lclough1998 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would wait also, those littles need their own food and should not be eating what the big ones are eating yet, especially if its layer feed. They should be closer in size. It works with younger ones when they have a mama hen to protect them and keep the aggressive hens away.
  9. bobchristenson

    bobchristenson Out Of The Brooder

    May 31, 2011
    SE Michigan
    Thanks everyone!

    I actually closed them up for the night and everything seemed to quiet down...I figured the'd tuff it out...then I read this thread :)

    I went back out (in my PJs!) and moved them back to a rubbermaid box for the night. Tomorrow I'll have to reconstruct their adjacent run again and put things back how they were until about 12 weeks.

    Thanks for the feedback...the unanimous opinion won me over :)
  10. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    A good rule of thumb that I read somewhere on BYC is that you should wait until they are not making juvenile cheeping sounds before integrating them.
    2 people like this.

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