Hens tormenting chicks


In the Brooder
6 Years
Feb 3, 2013
Fountain, Colorado
I followed the instructions posted on this site when I introduced my four chicks to my two hens. However the hens did not fall for the trick of putting the chicks in the coop at night.
The chicks are 10 weeks old now and still the hens bully the chicks around. Sometimes it sounds scary as the chicks screech as the hens corner them then peck at the last chick who was unable to get away. I go into the run and seperate them for a while but we can not keep doing that.
How long will the hens torment the chicks and will it ever stop? Not sure what to do until the chicks become larger in size. I do not have the room to seperate them for long periods of time. We have been lucky so far because there has been so blood drawn yet but told hubby if he ever sees blood, he has to take the bleeding chicken out straight away.
I am not certain of the procedure you followed.

Approach you describe I do not like when juveniles / chicks to be kept with strange adults.

I would make so juveniles only are in the coop for a couple of days. Then add one the hens, just one. Make so juveniles have a way to avoid hen if she gets after them. After a couple more days add the second hen. If all goes well the hens will fight briefly and even after settlling down they will have enough tension to prevent them from going after younger birds.
The approach I used was suggested on this site. When the chicks, pullets, are ready to go outside, put them in the coop late at night. Then the hens will wake up in the morning, see the pullets, and go about their day. That did not work.

I am past the stage of introducing pullets to hens since they have been in the same coop and run for the last couple of weeks. If I had the space to keep them all seperate and then slowly introduce them as you suggested that would have been ideal. But alas I do not have that space.

The pullets are getting larger everyday so I am hoping that when they do get full size they can take care of themselves better. As of now, they all keep to their own group. Hens on one side of the run, the pullets on the other side.
I was just hoping to have some kind of idea on how long the tormenting will go on or is this a forever thing and that is how it will always be.
Tormenting should stop by time pullets come into lay which will be in the range of 20 to 28 weeks depending on breed.

Next time when introducing new pullets (juvenile pullets in this case) think about jumbling up structure in coop so older birds do not recognize it. Then have so younger birds have some to break line of site when older birds harass them.

You are seeing it takes a little preparation to keep birds happy. Learning curve steep and interesting.
I sure understand how hard it can be to find the space to set up a separate "introduction" pen, although in order to brood this years' batches of chicks I finally bit the bullet and did it anyway!
One other thing you might consider is a hidey-hole. Doesn't have to be big or elaborate - just someplace the chicks can get to and hide. In my run and coop I have a log. Yep, a log. We have trees in our yard that are absolutely HUGE. One limb was rotten and threatening to snap so we had the tree trimmed. As soon as they got close to the spot where the limb met the trunk of the tree, it went! When it fell, it almost broke in half and the center was totally hollow! I grabbed that thing and dragged it to the coop. We broke it in half the rest of the way and this is what we ended up with:

This is the section in the run - the other is in the coop. It took the Littles no time at all to find out that they could get under there for protection but the Bigs couldn't follow! You don't have to luck out and have a ready log - a piece of plywood leaned against the side would do - as long as the chicks have a hidey-hole. (Be sure to to anchor it though so it won't fall on them) Half of a small dog crate would also work...use your imagination! Good luck!
How much space are you working with in the run and coop? The approach you used is just one of those discussed on this site - the more commonly accepted approach is to use a gradual integration method as described by Blooie - challenges exist, but when the welfare of the animals we have taken charge of is at stake we have to find ways to overcome them.

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