Integrating 4 chicks with 2 year old hens, need a lil advice from you seasoned keepers

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by starsevol, Jul 25, 2014.

  1. starsevol

    starsevol In the Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2014
    Hi everyone. Thank you in advance for any answers you can give me. My two hens are between 11 months old and a year. One is a buff Orpington and one is a Cochin. They get along really well, but the first week I had them ( I got them in May) the orp would chase and peck at the cochin. It did not last more than a few days and I summed it up to stress from the move. They are great together now.

    The coop is 16 sq feet and the run is 45 sq feet.

    Now for the problem.....I have 4 chicks. One is 7 weeks old, one is 6 weeks and 6 days, one is 6 weeks and 3 days and one is 6 weeks and 2 days. Right now they spent their days in a tractor next to the girls pen. They are under a shade tree and I put a towel on top for additional shade. They come in at night and sleep in a rat cage. The indoor cage is getting a bit cramped but I don't dare leave them out at night. They have been going out during the day for about 5 days now.

    My ultimate plan is to put them in at night while the big girls are asleep. I am also thinking of putting branches in the pen so the chicks have a better chance to run away.

    My biggest questions I guess is when it would be safest to do this, and how to keep the chicks from eating the layer pellets, and the big girls from eating the chick food.

    Both orpingtons and Cochins are supposed to be gentle calm breeds. How much danger are these chicks in?

    Any and all advice is hugely appreciated.
     
  2. TESouthern

    TESouthern In the Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2014
    Brock, Tx
    I am in no way a seasoned pro but this is what worked for me when I integrated out 7 week olds in with our big girls

    I kept them in a separate pen in the coop/run with the big girls that way they were near each other but couldn't get to each other. We did this for about a week or two....After that I started letting the babies out while I was out there....while I was refilling waterers/feeding/cleaning etc....when I was near by to break up any spats. I did this every day for about a week in small spurts several times a day

    then I turned them out together...watched them for a little while (like I had been doing) then when i felt comfortable that they were playing nicely I left them out and checked on them hourly for that day. they have been together since then and no problems.

    our only issue was one of our bigger pullets was a bit of a bully. But when I caught her being a bully I just separated her into the pen I had the babies in and left her for awhile....I had to do this twice and then she decided to play nice....she still pecks a little but doesn't chase them down and try to corner them.

    soooo like I said this is our first year with chickens so I am not a pro by any means but this is what worked well for us :D
     
  3. starsevol

    starsevol In the Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2014
    The pen inside the pen was what I wanted to do, but the tractor hubby built couldn't fit in the pen. So I have the tractor right outside the pen so the big girls can see and hear them.
     
  4. TESouthern

    TESouthern In the Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2014
    Brock, Tx
    I think thats fine...just as long as they are close and can see and hear each other....
     
  5. starsevol

    starsevol In the Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2014
    I am really nervous about this! I also can't let anyone free range while I am not there as I live in a plat with neighbors all around. Dogs and hawks really scare me! I have time today...I just might see how they do free range.....
     
  6. starsevol

    starsevol In the Brooder

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    Jul 21, 2014
    Well the husband talked me out of it. He said that since the chicks are crazy, and I will be by myself...that I might not be able to catch them and put them away before I have to go to work. But we can try on Sunday when he will be here and neither of us has anywhere to be.
     
  7. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Crossing the Road

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    On the MN prairie.
    Waiting until Sunday sounds like a good idea. Even though they have been within sight of one another, there will still be some scuffles to establish the pecking order. Your plan to put branches in the run for hiding places for the little ones is a good one. Another feeder and waterer in the run/coop would be helpful, too. You can take the layer and starter feed away from each group and feed them a broiler/finisher if you want. Both groups can eat that just fine. I'd put them together and just watch to make sure no blood is drawn. Chasing and pecking is typical, you just don't want one cornered and pecked by several.
     

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