Hens wont accept 3week old chicks

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
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So I need to get my chicks outside as early as possible and a lot of people have said 4 weeks old is ok for them to be outside.
The chicks are currently 3 weeks and still inside, I keep letting them have time outside each day to get them used to the temperature.
I have 3 hens currently outside. 1 of them is terrified of the chicks and won’t go near them. However the other 2, sometimes they aren’t bothered but sometimes they will repeatedly attack them. I’ve tried separating them in a little cage so then hens can meet them, but nothing seems to work.
Is there a way I can get my hens to accept the chicks?
 

abpatchy

Crowing
9 Years
May 1, 2012
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I am sorry to say, they are too young to be with adult hens. Yes, they can be outside if the weather is not too cold and wet. But you can't mix them with the adults because they will attack them. They need to be much older. If they had a mother hen it would be ok because she brings them into the group and protects them.
You can keep them separat but in view of the adults so they can used to each other. They will accept them later on when the chicks are grown.
 

DobieLover

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So I need to get my chicks outside as early as possible and a lot of people have said 4 weeks old is ok for them to be outside.
The chicks are currently 3 weeks and still inside, I keep letting them have time outside each day to get them used to the temperature.
I have 3 hens currently outside. 1 of them is terrified of the chicks and won’t go near them. However the other 2, sometimes they aren’t bothered but sometimes they will repeatedly attack them. I’ve tried separating them in a little cage so then hens can meet them, but nothing seems to work.
Is there a way I can get my hens to accept the chicks?
The hens won't accept the chicks for a very long time. They are interlopers in the flock and they will kill them if they can corner them.
You need to construct an area inside the coop where the chicks can be with their heat source (I would only use a brooder plate or a momma heat pad for the heat source), food and water where the hens cannot get in and the chicks cannot get out. Leave them in there for a week. Then fashion a small door that is large enough for the chicks to get out but the hens cannot fit through. Open the door so the chicks can come out after you've let the hens out of the coop for the day.
I would also put a few things inside the coop that the chicks can run behind (but not get trapped behind) to get out of the light of sight of the hens.
The same needs to be done in the run. You need lots of places to hide and lots of places where there is food and water so the chicks can still eat.
Leave the chick safety zone set up in the coop until the chicks join the hens. It will be many weeks and they won't be fully accepted until they start laying.
 

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
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The hens won't accept the chicks for a very long time. They are interlopers in the flock and they will kill them if they can corner them.
You need to construct an area inside the coop where the chicks can be with their heat source (I would only use a brooder plate or a momma heat pad for the heat source), food and water where the hens cannot get in and the chicks cannot get out. Leave them in there for a week. Then fashion a small door that is large enough for the chicks to get out but the hens cannot fit through. Open the door so the chicks can come out after you've let the hens out of the coop for the day.
I would also put a few things inside the coop that the chicks can run behind (but not get trapped behind) to get out of the light of sight of the hens.
The same needs to be done in the run. You need lots of places to hide and lots of places where there is food and water so the chicks can still eat.
Leave the chick safety zone set up in the coop until the chicks join the hens. It will be many weeks and they won't be fully accepted until they start laying.
I’d like to thank you both for your advice.
I currently have one of those bad little ordered coops as it was given to me as a quick fix for 3 hens that were rescued.(I’m working on building a bigger one, but for the time being it’s okay for the 3 of them)
Today I’ve sectioned off part of it and built a little brooder for them in there. It’s small, but it will do for a few weeks I think, I’ll still let them out daily (whilst being monitored) and hope as they get bigger they will be accepted. Thankyou
31315041-9453-474B-972E-05F0FEA4CBFA.jpeg
E553F7B8-0AEB-4C20-8762-9ECF6A34FC45.jpeg
Now I’ve inserted the pictures, I’m looking back and thinking it might be a bit small? It’s only for a few weeks, and they get let out a few times in the day, what do you think?
 

LaFleche

Meadow Devil
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Sep 22, 2012
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Now I’ve inserted the pictures, I’m looking back and thinking it might be a bit small? It’s only for a few weeks, and they get let out a few times in the day, what do you think?
Way to small in my view, and the chicks don't have any space to get away from attacking hens. They will be terrified in this enclosure.

They will need their own coop and run until big enough to join the adults.
 
Last edited:

Ursuline Chick

Chicken Outlaw
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Jul 21, 2017
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I’d like to thank you both for your advice.
I currently have one of those bad little ordered coops as it was given to me as a quick fix for 3 hens that were rescued.(I’m working on building a bigger one, but for the time being it’s okay for the 3 of them)
Today I’ve sectioned off part of it and built a little brooder for them in there. It’s small, but it will do for a few weeks I think, I’ll still let them out daily (whilst being monitored) and hope as they get bigger they will be accepted. Thankyou
View attachment 2879817 View attachment 2879818 Now I’ve inserted the pictures, I’m looking back and thinking it might be a bit small? It’s only for a few weeks, and they get let out a few times in the day, what do you think?
Sometimes we can only do the best we can with what we have. Pictures are often not reliable when it comes to space and depth. Since you let them out a few times a day, I would continue to try this, while working on a larger space for when your flock is all full grown hens. Keep the little coop for a hospital coop, or broody coop, etc. Good luck, and consider a plan B if this becomes unworkable. :highfive:
 

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
264
264
121
Sometimes we can only do the best we can with what we have. Pictures are often not reliable when it comes to space and depth. Since you let them out a few times a day, I would continue to try this, while working on a larger space for when your flock is all full grown hens. Keep the little coop for a hospital coop, or broody coop, etc. Good luck, and consider a plan B if this becomes unworkable. :highfive:
Thankyou. The picture does make it look smaller. I’ll be keeping the coop for broody hens. 🐔
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
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My Coop
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I’d like to thank you both for your advice.
I currently have one of those bad little ordered coops as it was given to me as a quick fix for 3 hens that were rescued.(I’m working on building a bigger one, but for the time being it’s okay for the 3 of them)
Today I’ve sectioned off part of it and built a little brooder for them in there. It’s small, but it will do for a few weeks I think, I’ll still let them out daily (whilst being monitored) and hope as they get bigger they will be accepted. Thankyou
View attachment 2879817 View attachment 2879818 Now I’ve inserted the pictures, I’m looking back and thinking it might be a bit small? It’s only for a few weeks, and they get let out a few times in the day, what do you think?
The open bulb heat lamp is a major fire hazard. How warm is it where you are? They might get by with a huddle box.
You can free up some space by making and hanging a baby bottle.
2CAA8E144C7F_1589316178962.png

And it will keep it drier in there.
The space is less than ideal. When you let them out, where do they go? Pictures?
 

Ursuline Chick

Chicken Outlaw
Premium Feather Member
Jul 21, 2017
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Thankyou. The picture does make it look smaller. I’ll be keeping the coop for broody hens. 🐔
Keep us posted if you have additional questions or problems. I, for one, am interested in how it works out. Start planning your larger coop or addition to the current coop tonight, so when you have time you can start working on it.
 

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
264
264
121
Keep us posted if you have additional questions or problems. I, for one, am interested in how it works out. Start planning your larger coop or addition to the current coop tonight, so when you have time you can start working on it.
Will do, I have an old shed I’m planning on making stronger and making suitable for chickens. Then thinking about possibly hatching more once I’ve got the bigger coop. 😁
 

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