HELP! older hens attacking chicks! What to do?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by willkatdawson, Aug 22, 2008.

  1. willkatdawson

    willkatdawson Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2008
    Ga
    I have 2 EE and 10 chicks (7 BO and 3 BR). I took the 4 wk old chicks out to the run for some sun and the 2 hens attacked them. I have a 20x20 run so plenty of room for them to stay apart but the hens keep coming over to the babies. I even held a long branch to keep them apart and the hens kept going under and over it to get them. The chicks have such thin skin I worry one good peck could go right through. The hens pecked 2 of the chicks very hard. I can't keep them seperate (only 1 coop and 1 run). Only thing I can do is put the hens in a large dog crate until the chicks grow. I understand it's almost time to turn the chicks out into the coop & run. Is this normal, will they settle down? I know this must have happened before to someone else.
    Thanks
     
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    6,396
    10
    263
    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    [​IMG] Never put 4 week olds with older hens. They may kill them. Always put some sort of wire fencing in between them. The chicks are prob scared to death. Get them out asap or put some sort of barrier between them. Wait till they get almost the same size as the hens OR until they see them for week between the barrier/wire.

    Before you put any chicks/hens with other chicks and hens you should always give them some getting used to time to see each other through a fence for two weeks or more if they still seem to be trying to peck through the fence at each other. And then when you add them watch them closely and if they start pecking put them back behind the fence and wait a little longer. Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2008
  3. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    6,396
    10
    263
    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    BTW I LOVE your avatar LOL TOO CUTE!
     
  4. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Separate the chicks until they are older/larger. Hens will harass and even kill chicks that are not defended by their broody mother. You are lucky you did not lose any. I introduce my chicks when they are close to 3 months old and feathered. I may be more paranoid than most though. Introducing them that young may expose them to parasites and infections that may be present in your flock before they are old enough and strong enough to cope. I put them out in a wire dog pen for a week so they can see the big girls and vice versa- the I open the door about 3"- so that they can get in/out through the hole, but the big girls can't get them when they are inside. The teenager chickens have protected area to retreat to & can still eat their chick food. Once they are comfortable, and are going to sleep on their own in the adult coop- I take away the pen- the whole process usually takes 3-4 weeks. Again, this is more drawn out than some, but it works for me, and I don't get pecked chicks and they can eat their medicated chick feed while getting exposed to the dirt of my yard- AND the adult hens can't eat the chick food... like a big creep feeder.
     
  5. sudolph

    sudolph Out Of The Brooder

    43
    1
    34
    Feb 24, 2007
    Texas
    The key is a broody mama. My broody mama flogged a few aggressive hen-mates, and that was the end of picking on the babies. They are three weeks old. Even with a mama, they still need the protected adjustment described above.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by