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helping day old and 3 week old chicks get along?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by crunchynut, May 5, 2011.

  1. crunchynut

    crunchynut Chirping

    Mar 23, 2011
    New England
    We have two 3 week old chicks from our first hatch and the second group started hatching yesterday (16 out so far). I have a big brooder cage that the original two were in by themselves and wanted to have the babies in there too. Not that easy I guess. The 3 week old try to peck the little ones (who are brave little things that peck back!) so I put them in a large cat carrier next to the brooder (temporarily I hope).

    Any tips for helping the two groups to get along? I was thinking of doing a few minutes of supervised play time together each day for a few days so they can get acclimated to each other. Would that work?

  2. crunchynut

    crunchynut Chirping

    Mar 23, 2011
    New England
    Ok, so as an experiment I put just the mild mannered one in (I think its a female and the other seems to be male). When this one is by itself with the little ones they get along great. As soon as Mr. Bossy enters the scene he gets the other to peck the little ones with him. So I guess I'm trying to win him over with the chicks. He is quite friendly and cuddly to me - how do I convince him that the new chicks are his friends too?
  3. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Songster

    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    In short, you can't convince him. [​IMG]

    If possible, put a divider in the brooder to separate to two groups of chicks. It should be something they can see through and interact through without harming one another - something like a bit of mesh or hardwire cloth. Keep them separated for a week or two, then reintegrate them at night, when they're asleep. Be there bright and early to make sure everything goes okay when they wake up. The idea behind blending them at night is that the chicks will wake up hungry and thirsty, not focused on who's who and may not realize that there are newbies in with them. It might also help to rearrange things when they're asleep, before you blend them, so that the water and feed are in different places - make sure there are two of each, so the dominant chicks won't crowd out the smaller ones and prevent them from eating and drinking.

    If the bullying persists, separate them again.

    Chicks, for all their fluffy cuteness are little cannibals, just like roosters and hens. Keep your littlest ones safe, so they don't become dinner for the dominant ones. Usually, with chicks, they can eventually be successfully integrated. Usually, but not always.

    Best of luck!
  4. crunchynut

    crunchynut Chirping

    Mar 23, 2011
    New England
    Thanks for the great advice! If the one dominant one won't come around and is the only one holding the integration back then he'll have to find a new home (although I was hoping to keep him since he's been a nice chick up till now). He's definitely trying to show them whose boss, he's standing up tall and flapping his wings.
  5. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I'd definitely keep them separated till the younguns are about 3 weeks old. They can't defend themselves or escape at this age.
  6. PetRock

    PetRock Crowing

    Apr 28, 2010
    SF Bay Area, CA
    I successfully integrated four 2-3 day olds into a brooder with one 2 week old, two 2 1/2 week olds, and two 3 week olds. The older ones were actually afraid of the babies at first. I put a half planter pot (freeranging hen tried to roost on it causing it to fall off the back step and break) in the brooder so the little ones would have a hidey hole. Three of the little ones used it for the first hour and that was it. The four youngest ones are very scrappy and from the beginning have inserted themselves in the center of everything. One of the 3 week old chicks, who has ended up being a little cockeral, did peck on the little ones every once in a while for the first couple of days. I kept a close watch on them and pulled him out for a time out when he did that. Within a week, they were all a happy family and they give very unhappy chirps when they are separated.
  7. UC Student

    UC Student In the Brooder

    May 1, 2011
    Davis, Ca
    I had day old d'uccles to integrate with my two week old orpington bantams so i made a divider with a screen in my brooder so they could see eachother for a few days and then hopefully they would get along.... Well this is what I got


    They foiled me! But now they're all one big happy flock. I did put a half-log in there that the little guys could hide under when they big ones played "i'm the boss" and it definitely helped them avoid getting bowled over.

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