Having trouble integrating 4-month-old chickens to 1-year-old chickens

goodmanfarm

Chirping
Mar 14, 2021
51
28
61
SE Maryland, USA
Hi! We hatched two baby chicks in March, and they are now big enough to be introduced to our 1-year-old hens. We are unsure about the gender of the babies, but all of our older ones are hens. They are pretty much the same size as the others, but are getting roughed around and pecked on a lot. We've been trying to get them together for about two weeks, but every attempt ends in a bloodbath. Any tips?
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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Hi! We hatched two baby chicks in March, and they are now big enough to be introduced to our 1-year-old hens. We are unsure about the gender of the babies, but all of our older ones are hens. They are pretty much the same size as the others, but are getting roughed around and pecked on a lot. We've been trying to get them together for about two weeks, but every attempt ends in a bloodbath. Any tips?
How are you trying to integrate them?
How many hens do you have?
Can you post pictures of your setup?
Can you post pictures of the two younger birds you are trying to integrate? Gender should be easy to determine at their age.
You need a LOT of space and a lot of things in that space for the birds to perch on, hide behind and dig around in.
 

LadiesAndJane

Life is good...
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
May 16, 2014
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Agree with above. They need lots of distractions and space. I am currently doing the same. Two younger birds (4 month olds as well) integrating into the established one year olds. Doing the "look don't touch method" for at least a month before I even try to put them together. :)
 

Abpoultry

Chirping
Apr 4, 2021
76
35
61
Hi! We hatched two baby chicks in March, and they are now big enough to be introduced to our 1-year-old hens. We are unsure about the gender of the babies, but all of our older ones are hens. They are pretty much the same size as the others, but are getting roughed around and pecked on a lot. We've been trying to get them together for about two weeks, but every attempt ends in a bloodbath. Any tips?
I've also had this problem introducing pekin bantams to bigger chickens, if i were u I would make them a fenced off area inside the older ones run with food, water, house. This way the older ones will be able to see them but not hurt them, after about a month or whenever u think, try letting them in with the big ones again, u may need more time separated though.

It worked for me so hope it does for u
 

goodmanfarm

Chirping
Mar 14, 2021
51
28
61
SE Maryland, USA
They've been in a fenced off area inside the older hens run, (there are two older hens at the moment) for about a month or so, and I will try to upload pictures of the setup (it's pretty stormy here). I will have to look later but I think our run is 10 by 12, designed for up to 5 hens. They have plenty of perches and swings to get distracted with and we even tried putting in some treats, (watermelon and blueberries) for them to eat while they were together, but, the older hens always try to pick on them regardless. We tried separating the leader of the older ones, but the other was still mean to them. We even tried letting them fight a bit, but one of our little guys almost has its neck broken. Any input helps! and thank you
 

Abpoultry

Chirping
Apr 4, 2021
76
35
61
They've been in a fenced off area inside the older hens run, (there are two older hens at the moment) for about a month or so, and I will try to upload pictures of the setup (it's pretty stormy here). I will have to look later but I think our run is 10 by 12, designed for up to 5 hens. They have plenty of perches and swings to get distracted with and we even tried putting in some treats, (watermelon and blueberries) for them to eat while they were together, but, the older hens always try to pick on them regardless. We tried separating the leader of the older ones, but the other was still mean to them. We even tried letting them fight a bit, but one of our little guys almost has its neck broken. Any input helps! and thank you
I think for now u just need to keep them separate especially since the younger one was so badly injured. Maybe try introducing the 2 young ones with one of the older ones, maybe the older one will feel a bit intimidated if she's out numbered
 

goodmanfarm

Chirping
Mar 14, 2021
51
28
61
SE Maryland, USA
Ok! will try that tomorrow! As for the injury, she is okay now and that was when she was slightly smaller, she is now as big as the other ones. One thing is, when the little guys do get picked on, they don't fight back, which leads to them getting injured. I wonder if there's a way to boost their confidence
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
10,898
17,850
726
western South Dakota
When they begin to lay, they will generally get a boost of confidence.

What you need is a way for the new birds to 'bow to the queen'. You said you had swing and perches, but I am wondering if every bird can see every other bird 100% of the time. You might need hideouts, where a bird can step out of sight. Where a feed bowl can be set that while eating at it, the bird is out of sight of the birds at another feed bowl.

When two birds meet, one need to bow to the upper bird, but stepping away. Sometimes what happens in smaller flocks, is the younger does not fight back, but there is no where for her to get out of sight, so the upper one thinks she is showing no respect, and attacks again and again, harder and harder.

I would also try adding two young to the one older, with the other older where you had the younger ones. But first I would add a lot more clutter, which will slow down birds, and let birds get out of the way of the attack.

Another thing that works well in small flocks is pin-less peepers. Put them on the old biddies for 2-3 weeks, and by then, the younger ones will be more confident.

Mrs K
 

goodmanfarm

Chirping
Mar 14, 2021
51
28
61
SE Maryland, USA
When they begin to lay, they will generally get a boost of confidence.

What you need is a way for the new birds to 'bow to the queen'. You said you had swing and perches, but I am wondering if every bird can see every other bird 100% of the time. You might need hideouts, where a bird can step out of sight. Where a feed bowl can be set that while eating at it, the bird is out of sight of the birds at another feed bowl.

When two birds meet, one need to bow to the upper bird, but stepping away. Sometimes what happens in smaller flocks, is the younger does not fight back, but there is no where for her to get out of sight, so the upper one thinks she is showing no respect, and attacks again and again, harder and harder.

I would also try adding two young to the one older, with the other older where you had the younger ones. But first I would add a lot more clutter, which will slow down birds, and let birds get out of the way of the attack.

Another thing that works well in small flocks is pin-less peepers. Put them on the old biddies for 2-3 weeks, and by then, the younger ones will be more confident.

Mrs K
thank you! very helpful information! we will definitely add clutter and maybe look into pin-less peepers!
 

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