Help with new chicks and 1 Y.O. hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by henloverinmaine, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. henloverinmaine

    henloverinmaine Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 27, 2008
    Downeast coastal Maine
    I sure hope someone can help me. I have 4 hens about 1 year old each and a rooster of the same age. I also have 4 chicks that are about 3 months old. They have seen each other and been loose in our yard together during the days for several weeks now. They are kept separated at night. The babies are terrified of the big hens and the hens torment the babies if they get too close.[​IMG] This past weekend we added on to our existing coop to make room for the newbies. They are still kept separated at night and the big girls are let out during the day while the babies are left in the coop to get acclimated to their new home. For a trial run I let 3 of the hens and the rooster into the coop with the babies tonight. At first they ignored the babies and ate some food. Then all hell broke loose. They kept attacking the babies and chasing them around the coop freaking the poor little ones out. Am I doing something wrong? Will they eventually stop tormenting them? Not really sure what to do.[​IMG] It's not realistic to keep them separate forever. ANY advice would be truly appreciated.
     
  2. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Without a mama hen to chase the other adults aways, you are going to have to make sure no one gets hurt.

    We usually keep the two groups separate but together for a couple weeks before letting them loose.

    Putting the little ones in the hen house first might help. Or putting them on the roost after the rest of the flock have settled in for the night.

    But it really takes patience and supervision. Because even after they are integrated, you've changed the dynamics of the flock and they will have to figure out the new pecking order.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  3. McGoo

    McGoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    I followed a similar method and didn't combine totally until they were the same size as the year old hens as recommended by others on this great forum.

    It was still a bit of a fiasco and the youngsters ended up in two of the nesting boxes for about 1 month. They are finally mixing and on the roosts - but in separate areas.

    Once you put them all together in the coop expect it to take at least a month or two before they settle in.
     
  4. henloverinmaine

    henloverinmaine Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Mar 27, 2008
    Downeast coastal Maine
    Thanks. How do you sneak 4 squawking chicks in with 4 adults without waking the adults? I have read that before, I just don't know how to do it without waking the entire flock.
     
  5. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Thanks. How do you sneak 4 squawking chicks in with 4 adults without waking the adults? I have read that before, I just don't know how to do it without waking the entire flock.

    One at a time. Wait till each bird is calm before moving it to the roost. We tried this once. The problem with trying to put them on the roost, I think, is that each of the older birds has claimed their little spot and will defend to keep it. But it works for some people, so I mentioned it.

    Like I said, we usually keep the two groups separate but together for a couple weeks before letting them out and about together.

    Personally, we've found it better to let the youngest out in the morning to forage first for a while. Then let the older birds out. You still have to keep an eye on them.

    Then at night get them all in the hen house together. See if you can't get the younger ones in before the older ones. Watch them. Let them work out their new flock dynamics. But stop anything that gets brutal. If anyone is injured and bleeding, remove them until they have stopped.

    Be calm and be patient.​
     
  6. henloverinmaine

    henloverinmaine Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Mar 27, 2008
    Downeast coastal Maine
    It's funny, they go their separate was when they were outside together. The problem seems to be in the coop when they are all together. Thanks for these tips!!
     
  7. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    I personally would wait to combine batches until the younger ones are of a similar size to the older ones. Anything else is inviting violence on the smaller ones!

    Good luck!
     

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