How long do intros take?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LindaN, Sep 3, 2008.

  1. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm introducing my four 8.5 week old chicks to the three hens this week and wondering how long it usually takes for them to establish the new pecking order. I've had the hens for nearly one year now and they seemed like such docile ladies until I introduced the chicks. Now they seem like total bullies!

    All are inside a large common run, but each has their own Eglu coop with attached run, too. I put the 4 chicks outside about 2 weeks ago so the hens and chicks could get used to each other through the wire. The hens get their run door opened up every day so they can roam around inside the large, common run.

    This is the second day I opened up the chick's run door so they can come out, too. The hens are ganging up on them and chasing the chicks around and even keeping the chicks away from their (separate) food and water containers.

    How long does this intro process take?
     
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I am interested in knowing also, because I have no clue how to introduce the chicks to the hens. Mine are only 9 days old, but.....
     
  3. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    bump
     
  4. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I guess no one has any info for me on this topic. Or maybe I should post on another thread?
     
  5. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    Well, we don't have a run. Our birds forage our acreage but everyone gets locked up in the hen house/barn every night. So I imagine it would be the same....

    We usually keep the chicks in a separate pen for the first couple of weeks they are out. Then we start letting them forage the farmyard with the rest of the flock with supervision. Then progress to outdoors combined without supervision. We found when we let the chicks out first, there are less problems with the adults accepting them.

    Our current set of chicks are with a mama hen, and are 7 weeks old. They spend days foraging with the flock, but still come back to the brooder area in our laundry/mud room to sleep. The chicks aren't all completely feathered and we have had temps in the 40's here at night already. But soon we will be setting up a separate area in the barn for the chicks and mama hen to sleep in at night. Then we will let them lose in the barn with supervision... and so forth.

    If I understand your set up, you have 1 large run plus you have connected to the large run 1 eglu for the hen with an attached run plus 1 eglu for the chicks with an attached run.

    So the chicks were in their run and the hens were where? In their run or in the large run?

    It could be that if they were in the large run and then you let the chicks join them, that the hens were bullying the interlopers. "This is my property, get out you hooligan!" sort of stuff.

    Have you tried letting the chicks into the large run before letting the hens into the area? If not, I would try that, but only with supervision.

    If that doesn't work, my Plan B would be to somehow temporarily divide the large run and let each group have half the run for a few weeks. Then remove the divider, again with supervision.

    Good luck! Integration can be the most frustrating part of having birds of mixed ages........


    as for the 'how long to work out the pecking order', I've found that various things will set them off. And just as you think you know the flock's pecking order, the ladies will have decided it was time for a change. Maybe one is molting, or broody or you've changed the dynamics of the flock.... and it changes. The first time around, I think it took about 4 weeks for the flock to adjust to the new additions.


    edited for spelling [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2008
  6. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    I am also interested in when and how to introduce them. Our babies are 12 days old, but the 6 hens we have (and 1 roo) are older.
     
  7. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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  8. PeepMePosted

    PeepMePosted Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi Linda,
    We're going on a little over a month now with integration nightmares so I feel your pain. Our two originals, now about a year and a half, are still trying to peck the tar out of the babies (2.5months). I will say that it's gotten about 5% better over the past week. After all this time, finally the big girls can be as close as 10 feet before attacking,whereas before they'd come running from clear across the yard to gang up! So that's progress. The little girls are getting bigger and that helps. Free ranging still seems to be the best bet, and avoid any area where the little ones can be cornered. We still have a split coop where they each have their own facilities, can see each other but not actually get to each other. I think it's just a very slow process, and one that's been really frustrating for us. So, we'll see what happens in other month. Keep us posted on your progress!
     
  9. LindaN

    LindaN Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks, all!

    keljonma -- I tried letting the chicks out into the big run first on Day 2. Sadly, that didn't seem to make a difference. Once I let the big hens out, they went back to ganging up on the little girls and harassing them.

    I guess it will just take about a month or so to get this to work. *sigh* At least no one is getting seriously hurt!
     
  10. PeepMePosted

    PeepMePosted Out Of The Brooder

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    I also find standing between them yelling "BE NICE!" at the big girls helps. I mean it doesn't make a squirt of difference to the chickens but it makes me feel a whole lot better! Like somehow I'm taking an active role in promoting peace. Plus, that way they know I'm the biggest alpha-chicken in the flock!
     

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