Integrating 8 week olds w/ adults

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by TheSpiceGirls, Jan 24, 2012.

  1. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Bay Area, CA
    I have 8 week old babies I'm trying to integrate with my two adult hens. Right now, the babies are in a separate pen that is inside the big girls run. Last week, I gave them LOTS of protection. But starting today, the fence openings are bit bigger and big hens can get their heads in there to deliver a peck. But the babies can get into the middle of this 3' by 3' pen where they are safe.

    I've also let the babies out into the big girls run and the big girls have shown them that they are in charge. But nothing more. Probably because I was RIGHT THERE. I wouldn't DARE leave them alone just yet.

    But I'm FREAKING out about integration. My two adult hens are clearly not happy about these three new additions.

    How do you create an opening that is only big enough for the babies to get through?

    I tried this, but now matter what I do, my FAT BO who tips the scales just under 5 lbs can squeeze through.

    So do I just make lots of hiding places and go that route?

    Will the adult hens actually kill a baby?

    I'm really eager to get them all integrated but I also don't want to lose anyone so I'm willing to keep them separated for another month or so until they are a bit bigger. But it's a huge time synch and I'm just exhausted from raising these guys through the coldest winter I ever remember here. What a chore.
     
  2. Remudamom

    Remudamom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Can't help but I'm listening. I've got 8 chicks that age I want to put in with my flock of five hens, two roos and two guineas. They have been in coops side by side with a chicken wire wall between them. I'm getting a new bunch in this week and I'll need the room in a week or two.
     
  3. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hear ya. It's SOOOO tough when you can only have such a small flock. I really just want 4 hens. And started w/ 4 a year ago. But one turned out to be a roo. And another was just such a bully no matter what I did and when there was blood, I gave her away to a family who wanted a green egg layer.

    And then there were two. I kind of regret buying chicks and wish I had bought some adult hens. But that can have its own set of issues too. So here I am.

    I did get a reply via another chat group who said to wait till they were closer to 12 weeks. So I guess I have four more weeks of this separation thing to deal with.

    Sigh...
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    I hear you that you are exhausted. Been there, done that with taking care of separate flocks. But they really do need more time to get older if you can give it to them. Yes, they can be killed at that age...depends on the hens.

    I too always found that my older hens could squeeze through any opening. Like jello going through a passage, LOL.

    Literally every additional week you can give them gives them a better chance.
     
  5. there is a link to a good article on this on my BYC Coop page ("My Coop" under my Avatar)
     
  6. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. At least I have them out of my garage which is a help. That place was a mess. And no matter how often I changed their bedding, it stunk in there.

    But each morning and night, I'm transferring them from their temp pen, to a dog crate to sleep in and then back again in the morning. And I'm a working girl. So I'm usually doing this at 7am in my Dry Clean Only outfit. Kind of dicey.

    But with the weather nicer and the dog crate now being right next to their pen, I think I can keep doing this for another month.
     
  7. TheSpiceGirls

    TheSpiceGirls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Wow, what an AMAZING resource for info.

    So from what I'm gathering is that I'm starting integration too early. They've only been looking at each other for a week now. And I need to let them do this for a few more weeks before I really try to integrate them. So I'll do that.
     
  8. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Milner, Georgia
    I have 6 chicks hatched Dec 21. That put them a few days over 8 weeks. They have been with the flock since the day they were hatched. That has not helped at all. The other BO's, the EE, sexlinks, everybody is nasty to them and mama does nothing to protect them at all. Still they run with mama, mine free range all day, and the others go their way. But whenever they all get close together it never fails. The pecking starts. I don't know, maybe time will make a difference. They're not being hurt, the hen just have a bad attitude toward the chicks.
     

  9. Since you say mom wont protect them....they were hatched by her sitting on them then? This is highly unusual, usually even "calm" breeds turn crazy protective when they have hatched chicks.
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2012
  10. tinydancer87

    tinydancer87 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put my chicks in with the rest of the flock when they are fully feathered out. 4 weeks old? I always put them in for the first time when I can be in there for a while to monitor the situation. I give them separate feeders/waterers. The big hens will peck them if the little ones get too close, but that's it. The littles learn to stay away from them. My coop is pretty big (32' long, 16' wide) includes an outdoor yard, the small ones usually stay inside for a while, and the big ones stay outside unless they are laying. Have not had anybody get killed. Usually when I put chicks out it is at least a dozen, so maybe the big hens are overwhelmed, lol. But I have had moms raising babies in there too and nobody pays them any mind.
     

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