HELP!!! Older hens attacking chicks! what to do?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by willkatdawson, Aug 22, 2008.

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  1. willkatdawson

    willkatdawson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    I have 2- 6 month old hens and 10 -4 week old chicks. I live in Ga, nice sunny day thiught I would take the chicks to the run and let them play. I stayed with them. The 2 older hens seemed very interested in the chicks. I have a large run so they can clearly stay apart, but the large hens came over and pecked 2 of the chicks very hard. I had a stick and the hens tried very hard to get past the stick to get back to the chicks. I'm scared when its time to put the chicks out the hens will kill them. I am new to chickens ( not since childhood) and don't know if this is normal. I don't have any way to keep them apart other than putting the hens in a dog crate until the chicks grow.
    Will they stop and settle down. I am soo worried about my babies. I love them far to much to have them hurt but the hens. Can and do older hens kill chicks? It seems like the chicks skin is so thin that a hard peck could go right through.
  2. DawnSuiter

    DawnSuiter Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm just answering because you haven't gotten a reply. Hopefully someone with MORE experience will come along & add or correct this but

    It sounds clearly like they need to be seperated. It doesn't have to be complex, maybe even stretch a sheet attached with clothespins to seperate part of your large run. I would put the hens in the smaller area because I think chicks need room to grow.

    You could make a small tractor
    You could use the dog crate
    You could keep the hens in the hen house & let the chicks have the run

    but yes, I think they will pick on them from what I understand and could really harm them. They should be closer in size before introduced to eachother freely... in other words, the chicks should be at least able to defend themselves before you start the beak to beak introductions
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    Was this posted over again...I swear I just left a comment for this one...or am I going crazy? [​IMG] [​IMG] Could very well be! [​IMG]
  4. scrapmom5

    scrapmom5 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 21, 2008
    You need to keep the little ones seperated from the older ones. Reintroduce them when they are closer in size. Chickens like to establish their pecking order. They will kill the little ones if given a chance.

    I have recently (a month or so ago) introduced my 13 weekers with 8 weekers. It was rough. I made an excape box that the little ones could easily get to but that the older ones couldn't. It worked. With in two days all of these chicks were getting along great and would even snuggle together at night.

    Now we are getting ready to introduce this lot to my older lot (25 weeks with 18 weeks). So far there is no problems. I still have the box for the two littlest ones so that they can excape if needed. Odd buff orps are the one to watch out for. They are soooo lovey dovey to us humans; but watch out if you are a smaller chicken. They are such Dr. Jekyls and Mr. Hydes. I only have three orps and think that is just enough with the 17 others.

    If you can divide their home/pen in half that would be awesome. My girls have been able to see each other through the fence. When I fully put them together I will remove a smaller home for the younger hens and the two runs will come together.

    I would wait until your chicks are closer to 4 or 5 months before reintroducing them.

    Good luck on your chicks.
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

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