Integrating teenagers

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DillyDilly, Sep 17, 2018.

  1. DillyDilly

    DillyDilly In the Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2018
    Hi! I have 4 teenage chickens (likely 3 Roos and 1 hen) that my GLW hatched 10 weeks ago. She took good care of them until they were about 7 weeks old. They now sleep alone in a closed off area at night on a mini roost but I’ve seen at least one of them trying to get up on the big girls roost at bedtime. I need to take the separation out before the fall rain starts since the set up requires the coop hatch to be open which gets the coop wet when it rains. Anyhow... I’m rambling now. Long story short, at what point should I’be able to take the separation out and have the teenagers sleep on the roost with the big gals? I have three 1.5 year old hens. We had an Incident when they were still with mama and not separated from the rest at night where someone, I assume the “alpha” Barred Rock hen, pecked chunks of their flesh out of their backs... during the day they all mingle and keep in their respective groups... I’m worried there “babies” will get pecked on and aren’t big enough to fight back yet.. they are fully feathered and everything. But not the same size as the OGs.. help!
     
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  2. If the only troublmaker is one hen. Maybe separate her for a while and see how the rest get along. Or you could put peepers on her.
    images.jpeg
     
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  3. DillyDilly

    DillyDilly In the Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2018
    The others only go after them if there is food.. from what I’ve seen. Peepers? Keeps them from opening their beaks?
     
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  4. No, they still eat and drink normally.
    They work like blinders. If your one hen is bullying to the point of ripping chunks out of the youngsters, these will definately help.
    Short of culling her or rehoming her, its an option for you.
     
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  5. Pork Pie

    Pork Pie Flockwit

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    Are you confident that you have sufficient roost space? The broad rule of thumb is 1.5 linear ft per bird. I find it strange that the aggression you describe would occur providing roost space was sufficient. A younger bird would simply get out of the way of an older bird, providing there was space to do so, ime :confused:
     
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  6. DillyDilly

    DillyDilly In the Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2018
    The incident was when they were two weeks old and still sleeping under momma hen. I’ll measure the space later and check.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Did you separate the chicks?
    Mama should have pretty much integrated them into the flock.
     
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  8. DillyDilly

    DillyDilly In the Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2018
    no, they are all together in the chicken run during the day. At night, mama and babies used to be in the coop with everyone else, but I separated them with chicken fencing so that they wouldn't get hurt after the incident. Then, 5 weeks later, momma hen left the babies and went to roost with the big hens and has been doing her own thing since then. Now she'll go after them if there is food, but ignores them otherwise.
     
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  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    Ohh..well, now you have an integration situation.
    I'd just take down the barrier and see what happens.
    Knowing more about your setup, pics and dimensions might help garner more specific suggestions.

    Here's some tips on...
    Integration Basics:

    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
     
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  10. DillyDilly

    DillyDilly In the Brooder

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    Aug 19, 2018
    Here are some pictures of the teenagers and big hens. Left area is for the young ones. Roost up top and right where the nesting boxes are, is for the older hens.
     

    Attached Files:

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