How to integrate 3 (full size) chicks with 1 bantam hen?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by kwphotomom, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. kwphotomom

    kwphotomom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 7, 2017
    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    Our birds...

    Lucky - Belgium d'Anver (???) hen. She was not getting along with her original owner's flock, so she was passed on to our neighbor, but she picked at his flock too, even though all of his chickens are full size, she even pecked the roosters! So he asked if she could move in with us. We have had her in a small coop for the past 3 weeks, she's had it all to herself and seems quite content with the arrangement.

    The Chicks - 3 Wyandotte chicks who are now 4.5 weeks old. They have been housed inside since we got them at one day old. The largest of the 3 (Leia) is quite dominant, the medium sized one (Ginger) is very laid back, and the smallest (Sugar) is playful and seems to get along with everyone.

    The situation....
    The Chicks are literally flying the coop (same trough set up feed stores use for chicks, so they don't actually fly out but they are hitting the fencing panel on top!), and they are stinking up my bathroom even though I change their bedding every other day. They are almost completely feathered out, some fuzz on their head but otherwise feathered from what it looks like to me. These are our first chicks, so I have no idea when they are truly considered fully feathered. But as of right now, I barely see any fuzz anywhere on them.

    Occasionally we have had Lucky and The Chicks running around in our master bathroom together, neutral territory for both. For the most part, this has gone well. Lucky has pecked at the chicks a handful of times, but not too aggressive. We did however pull them apart at the first signs of pecking, so not sure how far it would have gone. But for the most part, they just kind of did their own thing. We have been doing this 2-3 times per week for the past 2 weeks.

    A few days ago, I reached my smelly breaking point and decided The Chicks needed to move out of my bathroom, lol! And, the chicks are almost the same size as Lucky, in 2 weeks or less they will catch her or possibly outgrow her. I figured it was a good time to go ahead and give integration a try while the chicks are slightly smaller than Lucky. So, after dark, I put them in the outdoor coop with Lucky. We locked her in the run portion of the coop, and let The Chicks get acquainted with the coop for an hour or so, then opened the door so Lucky could come in and check out her new coop mates. She just kind of pecked at them when they went near the food, but nothing too aggressive, and otherwise left them alone. We kept checking in on them for several hours, and through the night. The Chicks mostly huddled together, and Lucky kept to herself. Over the past few days, we check on them throughout the day, and all seems to be fairly well. Lucky tried to separate herself from them the first day or so, but now they all seem to hang out together. She still pecks occasionally, but everyone seems to be eating and drinking, Lucky laid an egg (which she had not done in 13 days!) and we have not found any feathers in the coop or missing feathers or injury to any of the birds.

    Does this mean we are in the clear? Too soon to tell? How will we know for sure they are good to go and don't need to check obsessively every 15 minutes?!
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    Usually adult chickens accept chicks into their flock pretty easy. What you have described is what I consider a good integration. Lucky might continue to remind the chicks of their place but shouldn't do any real harm to them. Being a bantam I wouldn't be surprised if she tries mothering them at some point. Otherwise eventually they should form a cohesive flock.
     
  3. kwphotomom

    kwphotomom Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 7, 2017
    Oklahoma
    My Coop
    Thanks so much for your reply! That is very encouraging to hear, I really hope she does begin to mother them :). So far so good, everyone seems happy, hopefully that continues!
     

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