Incompatible chicks or just "sorting it out"?

LadyWitcher

In the Brooder
Jul 17, 2021
12
23
31
I have 3 6-week old (today!) birds (one buff orpington, one lav orpington, and a white silked easter egger)...two definitely pullets, and one possible (probably LIKELY) cockerel. Because I will likely have to rehome him, I wanted to get a couple more, so I picked up two BLR Wyandottes about the same age. It's been 24 hours and Waffles (the likely cockerel) will lunge at them, peck at them, chase them, etc. One of the new girls has pecked Waffles pretty good a couple of times too.

I'm watching on a chick cam I put up in the brooder area (they go permanently to the coop literally tomorrow) and there are moments of absolute chaos followed by stints of calm. I'm not sure how much access the newbies have had to the food, so I put the three originals outside in the run on the lawn for a couple of hours to give everyone a break.

How much is too much? I'm new at this and it's a little horrifying. I feel terrible for the new girls and a little like I've betrayed my original crew. I wish I knew the line, and/or had access to a video so I could watch a group of 6-week old birds work out their pecking order. I want them to be able to sort things out, but I also want everyone to be ok!

The noobs have also been picking on my little Silked Easter Egger who's a bit neurotic already and Waffles seems to jump in? I'm stressed about it! LOL Any help or advice would be appreciated!
 

Blue Raptor

Dragon 🐉 Artist
Feb 20, 2021
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Deutschland 🇩🇪
My Coop
My Coop
I have 3 6-week old (today!) birds (one buff orpington, one lav orpington, and a white silked easter egger)...two definitely pullets, and one possible (probably LIKELY) cockerel. Because I will likely have to rehome him, I wanted to get a couple more, so I picked up two BLR Wyandottes about the same age. It's been 24 hours and Waffles (the likely cockerel) will lunge at them, peck at them, chase them, etc. One of the new girls has pecked Waffles pretty good a couple of times too.

I'm watching on a chick cam I put up in the brooder area (they go permanently to the coop literally tomorrow) and there are moments of absolute chaos followed by stints of calm. I'm not sure how much access the newbies have had to the food, so I put the three originals outside in the run on the lawn for a couple of hours to give everyone a break.

How much is too much? I'm new at this and it's a little horrifying. I feel terrible for the new girls and a little like I've betrayed my original crew. I wish I knew the line, and/or had access to a video so I could watch a group of 6-week old birds work out their pecking order. I want them to be able to sort things out, but I also want everyone to be ok!

The noobs have also been picking on my little Silked Easter Egger who's a bit neurotic already and Waffles seems to jump in? I'm stressed about it! LOL Any help or advice would be appreciated!
@casportpony @JustAChickenLoverOverHere @Kiki @Lemon-Drop @sweaterthebroodyrooster
 

sweaterthebroodyrooster

Don’t take the little things for granted
Premium Feather Member
May 28, 2021
2,936
18,567
706
Southern Virginia
It sounds like Waffles is a bully lol.

A few things you can try,

Put the new girls in a dog cage inside the coop/run.
That way the can get used to the other chickens but they can't get to each other. I leave mine in the cage for about a week and a half before letting the mix with my flock. Don't forget to have food and water in the cage.

Add more feeders and waters.
I have had issues with chickens fighting over feeders and waters. The flock is trying to starve out the new birds. Adding 2-3 more feeders and waters is normally all I have to do.


Free-ranging.
If you can let them free-range together it might help. They can get to know each other but, also get away from each other if they need to. It could also be your flock is being territorial of their coop/run. And free-ranging them together could help with that.


Time-out.
Put your bullies in "time-out", remove them from the flock for a little while. This has helped me a lot with bullies.
 

LadyWitcher

In the Brooder
Jul 17, 2021
12
23
31
It sounds like Waffles is a bully lol.

A few things you can try,

Put the new girls in a dog cage inside the coop/run.
That way the can get used to the other chickens but they can't get to each other. I leave mine in the cage for about a week and a half before letting the mix with my flock. Don't forget to have food and water in the cage.

Add more feeders and waters.
I have had issues with chickens fighting over feeders and waters. The flock is trying to starve out the new birds. Adding 2-3 more feeders and waters is normally all I have to do.


Free-ranging.
If you can let them free-range together it might help. They can get to know each other but, also get away from each other if they need to. It could also be your flock is being territorial of their coop/run. And free-ranging them together could help with that.


Time-out.
Put your bullies in "time-out", remove them from the flock for a little while. This has helped me a lot with bullies.
Thank you for the great ideas! I did not expect for chickens to stress me out so much, LOL. I will give it a try and see what works. The wisdom is much appreciated! :)
 

MissE

Crowing
Oct 17, 2020
1,098
3,361
331
Northern MN
They need time to get used to each other. Integrating young birds isn't much different than integrating old ones. Use the look but don't touch method.

Divide the area with a wire fence so they can see each other but can't fight. A large dog kennel will work in a pinch. Sprinkle a few treats or even their regular feed along the fence so they get used to eating by each other. Do this for a couple weeks.

Once they are allowed to interact without being separated, make sure there is plenty of clutter so they have places to get out of sight when needed. Just make sure there are no places they can get trapped. They need an escape route. Even in my 2000 square foot area I have benches, pallets, a prefab coop with all the doors open, poplar saplings, and a couple old rabbit cages. They have places to hide, play, relax in the shade, and with several feeders and waterers, no one can guard the food and water.

The main coop is also 8 inches off the ground, so that's a popular place to hang out when it's hot. For some reason, there are never squabbles under there. Yes, I will be on my hands and knees on an old towel with a golf club to fish out a few eggs every day, but its worth it to have peace and harmony.
 

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