Im so worried

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by moodlymoo, Oct 17, 2011.

  1. moodlymoo

    moodlymoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 23, 2011
    Portland OR
    Tonight I moved my last 2 chicks who are now 8 weeks old into the big girls coop but kept them inside their cage so the big girls leave them alone. I will admit I am worried because of how cold it is outside but my garage is a mess from these 2 little birds. Will they be ok in a coop with 15 other pullets?
  2. nivtup

    nivtup Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 24, 2008
    Shelton Washington
    I would watch to make sure the big girls are letting the new additions get food and water.

    As far as weathering the temps and such they should be fine. Getting accepted into the flock is a bit of a toss up, and the chicken world can be mean and ruthless.

    I think keeping them where they can see each other, but have a safe place for a while would be a good plan.

    We find that if we move everybody around when moving birds it helps, as no one is in thier own place any longer, and they seem less territorial.

    Good luck either way, they just cant stay in the garage forever can they.
  3. terrilhb

    terrilhb Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 11, 2010
    As far as the colder weather as long as they are fully feathered they should be ok. Good luck with the intergration. I hope it works out for the best. Chickens can be mean and ruthless like stated above.
  4. JodyJo

    JodyJo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2010
    I did this same thing a few weeks ago..I left my young ones (10 weeks younger) in a cage inside the coop with their own food and water.
    During the day I let the big girls outside to free range, and closed off the coop and run...the little ones got a bit of "mini free ranging", and I kept my sanity...

    After a couple weeks...I slowly let the little ones out and held my breath...they got picked on, badly....but as long as they had their cage to run and hide to,
    they were at 18 weeks...they don't mingle with the older girls till I throw treats...they still get pecked a bit, but not as bad...even the bigger girls,
    at the bottom of the pecking order, get pecked.

    Its like I have a mini flock of 3 and my larger one. I am hoping by the time the roos discover the 3 new girls, they will integrate in fully...I want to see all 16 chickens
    free ranging together, not split up.

    Just keep an eye on them when you decide to release them into the flock, they will get pecked, but it has be so...just make sure they have a safe place to run to.
  5. Katydid2011

    Katydid2011 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2011
    West Coast USA
    I'll echo what others have said, keep them in that separate cage inside the coop for quite awhile so they can become acquainted with the other bigger and older chickens, then let them free-range together throughout the day (if you free range, of course) and back into a separate cage at night. Even then, they're likely to be picked on once you integrate them so keep a close look out. If you see a significant number of missing feathers or so much as a speck of blood, remove them immediately.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    As stated above, weather-wise they are fine. Integration and pecking order are your concerns.

    There are two different things to worry about. One is just basic integration. If the adult flock see them as intruders, they can try to run them off or even kill them. Chickens are territorial. They will defend their territory. This is where keeping them within sight of the others for a week or so, yet protected, helps so much. A hen often weans her chicks around 4 to 5 weeks old and those chicks are fully integrated into the flock. In this respect, age is not a huge factor.

    The other problem is the pecking order. A mature chicken is higher in the pecking order than an immature chicken. Size is not the most important thing but the spirit of the chicken. Often you will see a bantam chicken dominate a full sized chicken once they both grow up. But maturity is a huge part of this with chicks. Until they mature in spirit as well as physically, they are at the bottom.

    It is perfectly acceptable in chicken society for a chicken higher in the pecking order to peck a lower ranked chicken if it invades her personal space. As long as the lower ranked chicken runs away, everything is good. Pure intimidation worked and there is again peace in the flock. But if the lower chicken does not run away, it is seen as a challenge to the priviledged position of the other and can be dealt with severely. That is why it is very important for the younger chickens to have some place to get away from the older chickens. If you free range, they will run as a separate flock. If they are in a coop and run, it can get harder. My younger ones hide under the nests, stay on the roosts when the older ones are on the ground, stay in the coop while the others are in the run, whatever they can do, when I have to keep them locked in the coop and run.

    Other than give them some place to get away, I find it really helpful to have multiple feeding and drinking stations. The older ones will often reinforce their dominant position by keeping the younger ones away from the food and water. Extra places to eat and drink cuts down on potential conflict.

    I find the roosts just before bedtime to be the roughest places. Often a hen (always for me it is a hen or an immature rooster. My dominant roosters are above this sort of thing) will target the young ones and be really brutal on the roosts, so the younger will look for a safer place to roost. Extra space on the roosts or even roosts on the opposite side of the coop may stop them from trying to sleep outside the coop. This does not happen all the time, but for me it has been fairly common.

    The pecking order can look brutal and it can occasionally be dangerous. Most of the time, they work it out. A lot of the time, you get stressed out about it more than the chickens do. I'm not saying it is risk free, but if you sort of understand what is happening, maybe you can take steps to remove some of the risk.

    Good luck! Remember that many of us do this sort of thing a lot and it is usually successful.

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