Integrating new chicks has been really hard.... :(

CLOUDNINE

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 4, 2012
26
1
26
I have 9 three month old chicks that I have been trying to integrate into my "flock" of 2 one year old hens. I started with 12 chicks and have had three get killed by the older girls. Everytime I try to let them all run together another chick gets killed. I managed to "rescue" one of the chicks on Sunday where they had already torn him up a little, and he seems to be doing ok now. I built him a little "hospital wing" in the hen house so he could be safe, but he flew over the wire. Anyway, is there any chance of these chickens working it out? My husband flat refuses to build me anything to keep them separate, and every time I try to let them "work it out" I end up with another dead chick. There is only one door to the hen house, so I can't divide them up with wire, and the only other way I can let the chicks into the run is to let the hens free range (which I can only do after work). I'm also very hesitant to let them all free range together in case the hens chase the chicks away.

Any suggestions on how to help this process, and hopefully not lose anymore chicks would be welcome!
 

ParadiseFoundFarm

Goddess of Good Things
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
1,160
12
166
Joliet, IL
I've never had a good outcome letting chicks, not hatched by a hen, to integrate. They need to grow up and be separated by small holed fencing. Wehn you get to the point where the little ones learn that they HAVE to run from the big ones, you can allow them supervised play with a hiding place for the little ones. What I do at that point, and you may like to try this now since you can't separate, is make a screened, heavy enclosure up on blocks only big enough that the chicks can get under and not the big girls. This has to be big so that they can run in and jump up on something without being caught and dragged to their death when you are not around.
After they know eachother, i always turn the big flock out and keep it out of the coop for 3 days (it take 3 days for a chicken to change/forget) and lock up the little ones inside the coop. This way they learn they OWN the coop.
 
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donrae

Hopelessly Addicted
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Jun 18, 2010
31,453
4,039
581
Southern Oregon
I've always had to wait until at least four months, when they're roughly the same size. Earlier than that and I also get dead chicks. After that, you need to make sure there is lots of space and the chicks can get away from the hens--have barriers to break line of sight, things for the babies to hide behind. And at least two places for food and water. Chicken society is just brutal at times.
 

CLOUDNINE

In the Brooder
7 Years
Apr 4, 2012
26
1
26
Thanks, y'all. I have a safety zone set up for them, and have left the big girls in the run at night and the chicks in the house, but everytime I try opening the door in between, one gets killed. A friend of mine has said she will take the adult chickens and put them in her grown flock, so I might just do that. I want to try integrating them one more time before I take the big girls, but I have to wait until I am home all day (tomorrow). I just hate the thought of losing another chick :(
 

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