Integrating a group of 7 week & 8 week old chicks - Not going well!!! Suggestions??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jmullins86, Nov 19, 2016.

  1. jmullins86

    jmullins86 New Egg

    Nov 19, 2016
    I have 2 groups of chicks that were raised in a brooder that was sectioned off. The 1st group are 8 weeks old (9 chicks total), and have been moved to a larger coop for about 2 weeks. This group is made up of Australorps, Speckled Sussex, Buff Orpingtons, and Egyptian Fayoumis.

    Last night, we decided to move the 2nd group into the coop with the older chicks. This group consists of 12 chicks total, and they're a week younger than the others. This group consists of Dominiques, Polish Crested, EEs, Welsummer, Australorp, Buckeyes, and a Leghorn. This group is more active than the older chicks & tend to be more "flighty".

    We had the coop sectioned off with a netting that was around 3' in height. Almost instantly the youngest Australorp flew over the netting & was in the middle of the older chicks. Some of the others followed suit, so we took down the barrier. All of these chicks were supposed to be pullets, however, one of the Dominiques is a cockerel & I believe the Welsummer is as well. "Roo" my Dominique is very friendly & we haven't had a problem from him....until now.

    The older chicks began to try & establish a pecking order among the youngsters. They started with pecking on the Buckeyes, and that is what got Roo riled. He basically confronted each of the older chicks, and never backed down. I think there is a possibility one of the older Australorps could be a cockerel, but Roo put him in place. He spent the rest of the of the night making sure none of the older chicks got close to any of his buddies. When they all laid down to sleep, I noticed the younger chicks were all touching, but not "piled" on top of each other. Each of them faced the same direction. Roo was at the front of the line, facing back toward all of them. The older chicks were all piled on top of each other in a corner.

    Today, went much the same way. Roo is sort of terrorizing the older chicks. We added more feeders and waterers. We hold Roo while the older chicks eat. I've noticed when we pick him up, the older ones start to peck on the younger ones at that point.

    My question is, will this continue or will it finally settle down?? I'm not sure that removing Roo will help. I'm afraid once he returns, he'll feel the need to re-establish himself. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
  2. Wyatt0224

    Wyatt0224 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 1, 2016
    Westminster, Maryland
    I wouldn't remove him. At this age I've never heard of a young cockerel doing any serious damage. It is the pecking order taking shape and I would let it play out. The more you remove "Roo" the more he's going to boss around the older chicks when you put him back. I would let it continue but it will most likely settle down. I had the same transition from 12wk old chicks and 6wk old chicks. At first it all sounded and looked bad but they figured it out now and everyone gets along.
  3. jmullins86

    jmullins86 New Egg

    Nov 19, 2016
    Thank you! Your advice was sound. It seems to be leveling out a bit. He's still a bit of a bully toward the older girls, but he's lightening up quite a bit. They're starting to integrate more with each other, so hopefully all will go well. I still have 4 younger chicks to introduce to all of them, and I'm afraid there is another Dominique rooster in that bunch. UGH!!! I'm afraid we'll have to go through all of this again! LOL!!
  4. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    You can avoid these conflicts during integration by raising chicks of varying ages alongside and in sight of one another so they know each other from the beginning. When you keep them separate, they're strangers when you put them together. Of course there will be conflicts until they sort out who's who and if any present a threat.

    This also goes for introducing baby chicks into a flock of adult chickens. Those raised in close proximity and in sight of the adults have a far easier time integrating than chicks kept separate until introduced at an older age.

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