Hens wont accept 3week old chicks

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,050
22,717
907
Southeast Louisiana
I don't know where you are located so I have no idea what your temperatures are going to be the next week or two. Most chicks fully feather out by four to five weeks old so they can handle most weather then, I've had broody hens wean chicks at 3 weeks old and totally leave them on their own to make their own way with the flock. That was in warm weather with nighttime lows in the 70's Fahrenheit, three-week-olds could easily handle that.

Those broody hen raised them with the flock and spent three weeks teaching the others to leave them alone. I do like my broody hens. I also had a lot of room inside the coop and outside, plus weather that they could all be outside all day every day. You did not raise them with the flock and your coop is tiny, that's probably not going to work that easily for you.

My brooder is in the coop, the chicks go straight in there from the incubator or post office. When they are five weeks old I open the brooder up and let them roam with the adults. It's that easy. But you don't have that much room and yours were not raised with the others. You have to be a lot more careful.

When a young chick invades the personal space of a mature hen, or even just a more mature chicken, it is likely to get pecked. It usually doesn't take the chick long to learn to stay away from those older bullies. They need enough room to get away from the older ones if they get too close and they need enough room to avoid the older ones to start with. Your coop does not have that, I don't know how much area you have outside or if they can have access to that.

Chickens don't like change. A big change is strangers showing up. If you can house them across wire so they can get used to each other you can help a lot. This does not solve all your problems but it greatly increases your chances for success.

My first suggestion is to finish that larger coop as soon as you can. In the meantime, house those chicks where they can be seen by the older ones. When you do try to put them together give them as much room as you can. Provide widely spread out food and water stations, hopefully you have enough room. You might be a good candidate for the safe haven method. That's where you provide holes where the littles can get through but the older ones can't. I'd wait at least a week with them side by side before I tried that.

I can't tell for sure but it looks like you might be using that clamp with the heat lamp. If you even need that heat lamp, I strongly suggest you get rid of that clamp and use wire or chain to support it. Do not use string or plastic that can burn or melt, use wire or chain so it cannot be knocked down. That will greatly reduce your fire risks.
 

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
260
261
121
I don't know where you are located so I have no idea what your temperatures are going to be the next week or two. Most chicks fully feather out by four to five weeks old so they can handle most weather then, I've had broody hens wean chicks at 3 weeks old and totally leave them on their own to make their own way with the flock. That was in warm weather with nighttime lows in the 70's Fahrenheit, three-week-olds could easily handle that.

Those broody hen raised them with the flock and spent three weeks teaching the others to leave them alone. I do like my broody hens. I also had a lot of room inside the coop and outside, plus weather that they could all be outside all day every day. You did not raise them with the flock and your coop is tiny, that's probably not going to work that easily for you.

My brooder is in the coop, the chicks go straight in there from the incubator or post office. When they are five weeks old I open the brooder up and let them roam with the adults. It's that easy. But you don't have that much room and yours were not raised with the others. You have to be a lot more careful.

When a young chick invades the personal space of a mature hen, or even just a more mature chicken, it is likely to get pecked. It usually doesn't take the chick long to learn to stay away from those older bullies. They need enough room to get away from the older ones if they get too close and they need enough room to avoid the older ones to start with. Your coop does not have that, I don't know how much area you have outside or if they can have access to that.

Chickens don't like change. A big change is strangers showing up. If you can house them across wire so they can get used to each other you can help a lot. This does not solve all your problems but it greatly increases your chances for success.

My first suggestion is to finish that larger coop as soon as you can. In the meantime, house those chicks where they can be seen by the older ones. When you do try to put them together give them as much room as you can. Provide widely spread out food and water stations, hopefully you have enough room. You might be a good candidate for the safe haven method. That's where you provide holes where the littles can get through but the older ones can't. I'd wait at least a week with them side by side before I tried that.

I can't tell for sure but it looks like you might be using that clamp with the heat lamp. If you even need that heat lamp, I strongly suggest you get rid of that clamp and use wire or chain to support it. Do not use string or plastic that can burn or melt, use wire or chain so it cannot be knocked down. That will greatly reduce your fire risks.
Hi, thanks for the reply. Yeah, the coop is too small annoyingly which makes this 10x harder. Whilst they were indoors towards the end I had the heat lamp so high it was barely giving off any heat. They seemed to just really like the light and got annoyed when I took it away. So the light inside is just a standard red light, not a heat lamp, as they like the red light and it brightens up the small dark coop. The hens don’t really go in the coop during the day, but when they do they can see the chicks without pecking them. I will continue to let them out in the day for periods of time and hope things improve in the coming weeks so I can take down the wire.
Im in England so my temps are in Celsius but when converted the coldest they go at night are 55F at the moment, not sure if this is too cold or warm. Due to not having a heat lamp I have a hot water bottle out there I’m replacing every so often. Although they aren’t sitting on it I picked them up and they felt very warm.
Thankyou for your advice 🙂
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,850
35,750
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Don't expect to have the chicks with the adults full time at 4 weeks - that'd be ideal but you're not fully set up for it. My chicks join the flock very early (I start letting them interact at 10-14 days) but they grow up in the run from 2-3 days old, so the see but don't touch period is covered in the first couple of weeks. My integration article, if you're interested: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/

Not sure what the rest of your set up looks like, but if you can run an electrical cord into the run area, I feel it's better to have the chicks where the adults spend most of their time (the run or yard) rather than inside the coop, for 1-2 weeks of see but don't touch. You will still need a chick safe, secure area for them, that stays dry and protected from wind and weather.

If that's not an option then the coop space you sectioned off is better than nothing, but the chicks are going to outgrow that space soon.

In the meantime, you can start preparing for the next step of integration by accumulating clutter for the run/yard to provide chicks with hiding spaces, and plan on having at least 1 extra feeder available away from any existing feeder(s) as well.
 

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
260
261
121
Don't expect to have the chicks with the adults full time at 4 weeks - that'd be ideal but you're not fully set up for it. My chicks join the flock very early (I start letting them interact at 10-14 days) but they grow up in the run from 2-3 days old, so the see but don't touch period is covered in the first couple of weeks. My integration article, if you're interested: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/

Not sure what the rest of your set up looks like, but if you can run an electrical cord into the run area, I feel it's better to have the chicks where the adults spend most of their time (the run or yard) rather than inside the coop, for 1-2 weeks of see but don't touch. You will still need a chick safe, secure area for them, that stays dry and protected from wind and weather.

If that's not an option then the coop space you sectioned off is better than nothing, but the chicks are going to outgrow that space soon.

In the meantime, you can start preparing for the next step of integration by accumulating clutter for the run/yard to provide chicks with hiding spaces, and plan on having at least 1 extra feeder available away from any existing feeder(s) as well.
Thanks, i will definitely look into trying to provide a space for them outside the coop like a little run that keeps them warm and dry. The chickens are actually just free-range in a big garden, so when the hens go right to the back of the garden it allows the chicks to have some time in the front of the garden out of sight of the hens (to just explore)
 

-Flash-

Crowing
Sep 15, 2021
1,368
3,492
326
NSW, Australia
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?
This might be offending... I apologise if it offends you.

They are still inside at 3 weeks?! Okay.... okay, I've heard some people say that you shouldn't put them outside till they are 1 and a half month. But I put my chicks outside at 3 or 4 days! They all live. I just don't get it, why don't you just bung them outside? What is wrong with the outside world? The only things that they will be exposed to is stuff they will be exposed to when they are adults.
 

FlynnCahill

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
260
261
121
This might be offending... I apologise if it offends you.

They are still inside at 3 weeks?! Okay.... okay, I've heard some people say that you shouldn't put them outside till they are 1 and a half month. But I put my chicks outside at 3 or 4 days! They all live. I just don't get it, why don't you just bung them outside? What is wrong with the outside world? The only things that they will be exposed to is stuff they will be exposed to when they are adults.
Hi, don’t worry this doesn’t offend me at all. I’m very new to this and have always wanted to get them outside as soon as possible, things online just made me worried at what might happen. I think people vary the dates they put them outside due to people having different temperatures in different parts of the world. I’d love to have them outside full time but my only issue is them being bullied by the older flock. However, in their little outdoor place I made they did just fine last night 🙂
 

Ponypoor

Songster
May 23, 2021
416
765
148
Central Ontario, Canada
Thanks, i will definitely look into trying to provide a space for them outside the coop like a little run that keeps them warm and dry. The chickens are actually just free-range in a big garden, so when the hens go right to the back of the garden it allows the chicks to have some time in the front of the garden out of sight of the hens (to just explore)
Just want to muddy the waters and throw my 2 cents worth into the fray.

I am new to chickens but have had horses for ever.... one thing I have learnt is to get everyone used to each other from the get go so that 'pecking order' can be established - this of course is handled through careful introductions through a safe fence or in the case of the chickies being the 'over-seer'.

Currently I have a young pullet who just hatched out 4 eggs 2 weeks ago, she and her wee ones are being kept in a large crate in the Hen House, a couple times daily I let her and her brood out to run amok in the Hen House for about half an hour or so, its small and getting cramped but it is what it is. It's quite chilly here right now so they have to stay inside. It's not ideal but you do what you gotta do. I gambled it would be a nicer Autumn here to let my Silkie go broody and hatch her four eggs, but my gamble was for naught. Here it is either really nice or really evil weather - I can only be thankful it hasn't snowed yet hahaha. When it is nice out I put them all outside to dig in the dirt and eat worms - at 10 days of age they were digging and fluffing in the dirt with mama!

Give your wee ones a couple more weeks then let them run amok in your garden supervised. If you can partition off a small area for them to be in with some wire mesh, do that (make it high enough that evil hens can't get in! 4' should be good), if you can let them have access to their coop area that would be ideal, then they can get away from any rain and warm up.

They will learn really fast to run away from the evil bossy ladies, and will stick together. Chickens are very smart and cunning - they will figure it out fast! NOTE: my 2 week old chick grabbed a grasshopper, beat it into submission and ate it yesterday! The grasshopper was bigger than it's head!
 

gimmie birdies

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Feb 12, 2013
11,748
19,738
742
Eastern WA
If I do use a heat lamp, I make sure it is really chained, nailed and not going anywhere. I do not recommend them for people who don't know what they are doing. And it is easier to not recommend them at all.

As far as having baby chickens in the fall/winter I don't recommend that either. But things happen. Last year I had babies starting in Sept. I had them penned separate until spring. The reason is because we have snow here and if you tried to combine them too soon the hens would chase the young ones into some remote, cold and snowy location, and I would have to go fetch them.

Spring chicks are easier, because the weather keeps getting warmer, and the hens are so busy with bugs and eggs, and there are plenty of dry places young birds can hide.
 

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