Introducing chick and mum to flock

Puckaster

Chirping
Sep 13, 2018
51
45
61
Isle of wight, England
My chicks are 6 weeks old, 2 cocks and hen (I think). They and mother hen have been in a seperate pen because one of other chickens in the main run almost killed one of them. When should I start to think about trying to integrate them all? I'm excepting soon mum will want to go roost so should I then let her back in with the others. She is the bottom of the pecking order out of the 3 hen. My instinct us to leave the chicks untill their big ennough to handle themselves but before laying starts. I'm going to see if I can keep both cockrels I think....
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Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,482
20,712
907
Southeast Louisiana
How big, in feet or meters, are your facilities (coops and runs) and how are they connected? Photos along with dimensions can help. To me the most important factor by far toward how and when to integrate is how much room you have and how it is put together.

I could tell you how I manage a broody hen and her chicks, I've never lost a chick to another adult flock member, but that won't do you any good. I have a lot of room and a flock with an adult rooster. Practically always there are older chicks roaming with the flock. My situation is different from yours. What do you have to work with?

How much room you have will go a long way toward determining how successful you will be in keeping both cockerels or how you might have to manage that. People do keep two male and seven females but how you manage that will depend a lot on how much room you have.

What facilities do you have to work with?
 

Puckaster

Chirping
Sep 13, 2018
51
45
61
Isle of wight, England
I have 2 runs that are seperate by a few meters. The main run (on the left in photo) is about 2.5m x 4m and the chicks run is a little smaller at 3m x 1.5 approx. Could potential join the 2 run together. I normally let the big girls out in the day time if I'm around to free range over and 1/2 an acre, but I have a cat that is quite a hunter and we also have a lot of foxes and badgers in the area so I wouldn't feel safe to let the chicks out yet. The main coop is a green frog ark, and I also have 2 smaller coops that are currently in with the chicks.
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aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,344
129,578
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
Yeah just the 2 other hens at the moment but I could get some more to balance the numbers up if needs be.
Adding more birds would just increase the integration stress.
None of the coops look big enough for all 6 birds to roost in.
2 males with 4 females can be a real problem.
Connecting the runs would be a great idea.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, then it's always there!
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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.
 

Puckaster

Chirping
Sep 13, 2018
51
45
61
Isle of wight, England
Let them all together before Momma weans them. She will protect them as they transition into the flock.

My worry is that mother hen will be beaten up and unable to protect them. She was the bottom bird before and one of the other hen comes around her run when she's free ranging and rears up as if to attack her. Before i moved them that bird almost killed one of the day old chicks.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,344
129,578
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
My worry is that mother hen will be beaten up and unable to protect them. She was the bottom bird before and one of the other hen comes around her run when she's free ranging and rears up as if to attack her. Before i moved them that bird almost killed one of the day old chicks.
Isolate this bird while you integrate the others?
Or let them fight it out.
 

Puckaster

Chirping
Sep 13, 2018
51
45
61
Isle of wight, England
Adding more birds would just increase the integration stress.
None of the coops look big enough for all 6 birds to roost in.
2 males with 4 females can be a real problem.
Connecting the runs would be a great idea.

Where in this world are you located?
Climate is almost always a factor.
Please add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, then it's always there!
View attachment 1570562


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.

Thanks for such a detailed response. I've updated my location. I'm in England on the isle of wight. The main coop can house 9 birds easily, its quite large really but just looks small in the photo. The other 2 small coops are only for 2 birds each really but the chick and mum are quite happy in 1 at the moment. I'm still wandering when I should start to think about integrating them.... I could try to join the runs so they can have a few weeks of close contact but still seperate and then take it from there I guess. By that time though mum hen will want to roost will she not? Should I put her back with the others first of leave her will the chicks? I can see the it might be a problem to keep both cockrels unfortunately. I was planning on keeping the exchequer leghorn cock so I could breed with my leghorn hen but I've fallen for the blacktail cock because it's so friendly..... maybe I'll have to rethink my plans and find the leghorn a home....
 

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