Integrating one 4 week EE chick with a flock of (3) 3-month old pullets

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sawprops, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. sawprops

    sawprops Out Of The Brooder

    I know there are a lot of threads on the subject, but none address introducing only one chick to a very small flock of older chicks in a small space.

    I have a new baby, an Easter Egger, and she will be 4 weeks old this week. I need to start introducing her to my current older chicks who are 15 weeks old. They are a Delaware, Barred Rock and Buff Orp. No one is laying yet, they are still young themselves (but I did get an egg song last week?!)

    I've done a crate intro for a couple of days for a few hours. I have the EE chick in a dog crate and the BR and Delaware look, peck the crate, but never the chick. The Buff, on the other hand, tries to peck her in the face through the crate door. She grabbed the chicks leg once too while I was holding her! :-( She's the head of the pecking order for sure and seems like she will be the problem.

    I know it is recommended to put the new chick in the coop in the crate, or wire off a section where they are protected - but my coop is 4x4 so not a lot of space to make separate living quarters inside the coop. I can put the crate in the run, but not inside. I can't even rearrange to shake things up and mess up the territory. I wouldn't let her roam with them until at least 6-7 weeks old and much bigger. I am thinking maybe eventually let them forage with the chick one at a time for several days? Chick and one older, then let the remaining 2 out later and take turns? I can also isolate who will be the problem, if any?

    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  2. lcertuche

    lcertuche Chillin' With My Peeps

    I am integrating my 1-month old chicks with my 10-week olds. First I put a 10-week old gentle pullet in the cage with the 1-month olds for a couple of days. One of my 1-month old chicks kept attacking the 10-week old pullet. We put the little delinquent out with the big chicks and she had one 10-week old rooster down pecking it. She is merciless. I guess I'm lucky she didn't go after my young chicks. Today I decided to turn out the rest and they have gotten chased around some by the older ones but I know at least that one 1-month old will be fine. I still have 2 one-month old chicks that are half the size (different breed) than the others so I will keep them caged a while longer just for sheer size. Its a gamble anytime you risk letting them together but at one point you just have to bite the bullet and do it.
    To boil it down one chick or a dozen I would do this.
    1. Separate them with wire where they can see and interact. (Yes, they probably will get peck some).
    2. Put a small friendly chicken in with the chick(s).
    3. Let the bigger and more aggressive chicks out to mingle.
    4. Try to have a place they can run into it the others get too mean.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    The previous poster has some very good suggestions.

    I'd like to expand discussion of the safe place (#4) for your chick to run to where she can be safe from a bully. I call it a panic room, and it can be any enclosure in the run where the chick can fit but the larger chickens can't. Chicks learn very quickly how to use this refuge.

    I make the openings into the panic room 5 x 7 inches. Or you can make a long horizontal slit along the bottom. My 5 x 7 portals accommodate chicks up to age three months.

    Moving the chick into the coop after she learns to cope with the chickens in the run will be simpler. Just move her in after the others have roosted. She will know to run out in the morning and use the panic room. These measures are just for the few months until she grows to size.

    Integrating a lone chick may not be easy since chicks derive their self confidence from being part of a unit with other chicks. Next time you add to your flock, it's best to add multiple chicks.
  4. sawprops

    sawprops Out Of The Brooder

    Thanks all, I'm so scared for her!! That buff orp is a meanie. The other 2 don't seem to really care, but I could be wrong. I would have loved to add more but my coop is a small 4x4 so 4 hens is my max.
  5. lcertuche

    lcertuche Chillin' With My Peeps

    Great idea about putting her in their when they go to roost. I do this too but forgot to suggest it. Also you might consider putting some food and water in her safe place if there is room. Obviously just a box with a small hole for her to jump in would work since your coop is so small.

    I edited this for one more thought: If you have a broody hen you can always slip on under it. Mama hens are the easiest way to raise chickens if you have more chicks in your future.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016

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