HELP!!! 8 Week Old Chick Dead - Killed By Mature Flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by djtaylor22, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. djtaylor22

    djtaylor22 New Egg

    Oct 29, 2012
    I have three 8 week old chicks that have been in a large cage (along with the mother) inside the coop for three weeks now so that the rest of my flock could get accustomed to the new arrivals (I have 11 grown hens and 1 rooster). So this morning I decided that at 8 weeks of age and 3 weeks of being around the other chicks it was time to open the cage to get everyone acclimated. I had some Christmas shopping to finish up so I left home and didn't think much more about it. Well, when I came home this afternoon after being gone all day I found one of the chicks dead. It had been attacked at the neck and apparently pecked to death. The other two chicks thankfully were fine. No predator could have gotten into the coop so it had to be one (or more) of my own. My question is, was the dead chick possibly a rooster and my rooster killed it because it knew what it was? And were my other two spared because they are hens? All of the literature I have read said that at 6 weeks the chicks are old enough to move in with the rest of the flock. Mine were two weeks older when I tried to "make them one happy family". Any help would be appreciated. I don't want to lose any more chicks...

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    A general rule of thumb is that new birds should not be added to a flock until they are as big as the rest of the flock. Even under these circumstances birds are frequentlyi injured and even killed. Try gradual integrations of the birds while you can be there to protect the young birds.
  3. Gardeningmama

    Gardeningmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    It could have been a rooster that knew the little one was a cockerel. My roosters can tell a cockerel before I can , it's amazing. I've also seen how brutal Alpha hens can be, they are worse than the roosters in my opinion. I learned my lesson the hard way too, and now have 3 coops because I can't mix the new with the old. You did good by housing them with the established flock, but the rule normally is that the number to be introduced should always out number the old timers. I would really watch the other chicks if you're still going to try to keep them together, (which I wouldn't try). One more tip if you do try it, is to wait until dark when your birds are in that sleep stupor. Then put the new ones on the roost with the others, so when they wake up in the morning they are there, kind of blended in. But I still wouldn't do it. I've made a decision for myself that I won't do any more small #'s, just one big batch of chicks that would all go in at once and overwhelm the others. It's the only safe way I can think of to do it. Good Luck!!![​IMG]
  4. djtaylor22

    djtaylor22 New Egg

    Oct 29, 2012
    Thanks for the replies. After taking a closer look at the dead chick, I believe it was a cockerel. My husband and I both agreed that on its legs we thought we could see the beginnings of spurs. However, I'm going to keep my remaining chicks seperated at least until they are the same size as my other chickens and possibly try again then. Thanks so much for the advice!
  5. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Another approach is to allow the mother and chicks to be with the flock from the beginning, or at least starting at 2-3 days, when everyone will want to join the flock. I have an area in my coop that I use for a broody to set on her eggs. My original intention was to let her raise the chicks in the same area, as it is several square feet. But on the second or third day after hatch, all of them were trying their best to find a way out, including the mama -- so I let them out. The mama protected the chicks very well. When she quit mothering at 5 weeks or so, the flock was accustomed to the youngsters. While the youngsters tended to stay off by themselves, I never saw any particular aggression toward them, and they grew up and took their place on the roost on their own. I've done this several times now.
  6. Gardeningmama

    Gardeningmama Chillin' With My Peeps

    x2. I did this once with my d'uccles, and it worked wonderfully. Even when the mom died (the chicks were 3 weeks) the others never bothered them. I just added a heat lamp to supplement the warmth, but they grew up fine.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by