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Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Poultrybonkers, Nov 28, 2011.
mean to chicks or not? are they usually mean or nice to say like 3 week old chicks?
My roos have always ignored chicks unless they were 'in the way' and then after one sharp peck, the chick goes running and the rooster goes on with his day, ignoring them some more.
I have had one roo who, when we loosed our 25 three-week-old hatchery chicks into the yard, strutted around proudly, convinced he had fathered them all overnight. Not too bright, but he was nice to them.
Roosters are only a threat to things that have the potential of dominating them. Its the hens you have to worry about. I added "teenage" chickens to my flock once and the roosters ignored them but my hens beat up on them all the time. One hen actually grabbed the neck feathers of one of them and twirled her around 360 degrees. If there is a "mother" hen she will protect them from the others but if not I would wait until the chicks stop making "baby noises" are the same size as your hens so they can defend themselves. The way I mixed flocks was that i waited for the babies to be fully feathered and then I put them in a mini coop inside of the bigger one for a month so everyone could get used to one another. They can see each other but not touch each other. Good luck!
Quote:I was curiuos because I let my two chick in the shed supervised and my roo was strutting by them the hens ignored them mine have a few weeks before I got to worry about that.
I agree the hens are normally much more of a threat than the rooster. You are dealing with living animals so I can't give any guarantees, but a good rooster protects all members of his flock. Not all roosters are good, however. And I find that the dominant rooster is more likely to be protective. A non-dominant rooster can be as mean as the hens.
One risk is that the rooster (and especially the hens) may not see them as members of the flock. Other than dominant issues between two fairly mature roosters, you have two different types of aggression to deal with when merging new chickens. One is pure integration. Chickens can be territorial and may defend their territory from invading chickens. If you just plop new chickens of any age in the territory of a flock, they may try to run them off. I say "may" because this does not always happen. But this is the huge advantage of housing new chickens side by side but protected from the flock. They get used to each other and recognize their right to be there.
The other issue is pecking order. Older chickens will dominate less mature chickens. If a chicken lower in the pecking order invades the personal space of a dominant chicken, she has a right to peck that chicken to tell it to get out of her face. If she doesn't do that, she is giving up her dominant role. Usually, the subordinate runs away and all is well in the flock, but if the subordinate does not run away it is a challenge for status and can get ugly. Almost always, this is the hens and not the dominant rooster, but a non-dominant rooster can play this game. And it is usually the more mature chickens that are lower in the pecking order that are the most vicious.
A broody hen will wean her chicks anytime from maybe 4 weeks on. Those chicks are fully integrated in the flock but they are definitely lowest in the pecking order. They quickly learn to stay away from the older chickens. The younger they are, the more risk involved, but integrating young chicks can be done. I personally keep them in a grow-out pen until they are about 8 weeks old, then let them start free ranging with the older chickens. I think it is a lot easier if they have a lot of room to get away and stay separated. Different feeding and watering stations also helps avoid conflict. If space it tight, it is harder. You can help by giving them extra perches so the young ones can get away from the older ones, and give them places to hide under or behind.
We all have different circumstances so what works for one will not necessarily work for another. Sometimes integration goes so smoothly you wonder what all the worry was about. Sometimes it ends in disaster. You just never know until you try it. Good luck!!
I hade a cage in the coop for abought 2 weeks and then let the chicks out and he treated them licke the rest of the flock but at the time he was the only rooster we hade so if you hade to roosters ore moor then it mite be diffrent becuase the head rooster loocks after all his flock but the other roosters mite treat them as bad as the hens.
Quote:My roo is the only roo i have.
It also depends on adult to chick ratio. The 25 chicks I mentioned above were released into a flock of 12 adults when they were barely feathered because they outgrew the brooder and my grow out pen was full of feisty teenagers. I knew the teens would be getting themselves in trouble (and I wanted to keep them separate to cull the less suitable as they were a breeding project) so I couldn't put them with the big flock. In the end, it was a choice of keep the babies cooped up in an unpleasantly cramped space or release them. I had them in a large converted rabbit hutch overlooking the chicken yard (fenced 1/2 acre of grass and trees) so they were used to seeing the big chickens and the big chickens were used to hearing the peeping at least. We just put ramps out the doors and let the peeps decide if they wanted to go outside.
There were so many of them no one really got picked on and they all learned fast to stay out of the bossy hens' way. They mingled easily with the flock and followed the rooster's predator warnings better than the older girls (who were used to Dusty over-reacting to shadows) and are now well established. They have their own coop now, but they go into the other coop and the other chickens go in theirs... its just a place to sleep and no one is really territorial till bed time.
I let my mama silkie and her 1 week old chicks out to free range ( in my presence) and my only roo (daddy) wasn't mean to them. Mom on the other hand whooped a hens rear when she came too close to the babies. She didn't mind the roo near them, just not any other hen. I have mine outside in a large rabbit hutch, with their mom.