Introducing 2 chicks to 2 adult hens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by pawprint2104, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Welllll, I tried the late night introduction into the hen house, which didn't work.

    The most dominant chick (a Delaware) of the 2 fidgeted around which irritated my big, low-on-the-pecking-order hen. Whereas, my submissive black Australorp quickly bedded down beside (but, not under) my dominant RIR matriarch. I closed the door and sat quietly beside. After about 20 mins of constant peeping from the chicks, I heard rustling and a loud chirp inside. I knew one of them was under attack. Sure enough, the Delaware was getting pecked at by my big LOTPO hen. I pulled them out…sigh. And, brought them back inside…sigh.

    Soooo, here I sit on the couch with my loving surrogate hen-mom (a neutered, male, Pit/Mix) with one of the chicks nestled in the pocket of my hoodie, while the other is fast asleep atop my shoulder behind my hair. Aaaaannnnd, as I type this, the Delaware just moved into the surrogate hen-mom's tummy.

    Sigh, they're very cute. But, I'd like them to grow and learn outside with the big hens.

    Help. What can I do? Try again tomorrow night? Do it earlier in the evening? Do it later? Glue adult hen feathers to them or pin coyote masks on them? Almost just kidding about that last idea.

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Putting chicks with non broody hens just won't work. They will be attacked and become chilled. Integration is best accomplished once chicks become as large as the adult hens. Even there will be problems until their social structure becomes defined.
  3. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Darn. I tried to get them to brood up by putting some fake eggs in the box. Nope. Didn't work. And, I tried putting them in the nest box while "Buffy" (my dominant RIR) was inside, but she just sat there and they cowered in the far corner and pecked on the door.

    I hoped I could get them assimilated, so I could get my guest bathroom back.
  4. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    You really can not make a hen go broody but if this is what you want
    then you really need to get a Silky hen them are about the best
    chickens for what you are trying to do and you really need to put the
    chicks in a brooder to keep them warm and I understand they are so
    much fun to play with but if you want to keep them then keep them
    warm and safe with a brooder with enough room to run and play and
    light heat water and food ...... [​IMG]

    Here let's boil up a egg boil it peal mash it up real good and feed
    I bet they will just love it ....... [​IMG]

    gander007 [​IMG]
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You need to brood those chicks under with a heat source until they're fully feathered. Even at that point, I've had hens kill 2 month old chicks when I tried to introduce them. 4 months has been my magic age, and even then the littles get bullied quite a bit, but at least not outright killed.

    Even if you do get a hen to go broody, she needs to be broody almost the time for a clutch to hatch in order to accept grafted chicks, if she's just broody a few days it usually won't work.
  6. gander007

    gander007 Chicken Obsessed

    Yes that is so true I try to keep mine in a growing pen till they are about 13 to 16 weeks old just to keep the yard calm [​IMG]
  7. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    X3. Mine leave the brooder at 5 weeks old, move into their own coop and run right next to the older girls. They stay there until they are at least 10 to 12 weeks old before I let them mingle in the pasture. Things go pretty smoothly from there after the big girls have seen them around for 10+ weeks and the youngsters are big enough to defend themselves in normal pecking order scuffles.
  8. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Thanks, I already have their heat source. I'm raising them the same way I raised the others, but I hoped to get them introduced earlier than later. I'll try them at 4 months. Thanks for the advice.
  9. pawprint2104

    pawprint2104 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 21, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    So, I put them out today. I built an additional enclosure and roosting box for them, right beside the big girls cage (actually, within. Like a russian nesting doll, it's a cage within a cage.) They have their own small yard, and enclosed pen with a warm ceramic heater inside. It' big enough for them to move all around and has two separate perches and a divider, kind of like a condo. I checked them 4 times this evening to ensure their comfort. They're nestled in front of the heater. I tested the enclosure and heater for 24 hours the day before putting them in there. They nearly have most of their feathers, but their heads are still downy. I told hubby to wake me if he here's anything out of the ordinary tonight. They're only 30 feet from our open bedroom window.

    I guess, I'm just nervous and worried.[​IMG] My other hens went out much later, and there were 3 of them together. This time they're younger and only two. I think this first night out is tough for me, this time. [​IMG]
  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It's hard at first to learn what's best for them.
    Sounds like you've found a good solution to start integrating them to the flock.
    They still need to reach the same size as the other birds before you let them be physically together, so make sure they'll have enough room as they grow larger.

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