Introducing chicks into the coops with mature chickens???

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by AllChookUp, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    I'm getting ready to move my 11 Buff Orp and Gold Laced Wyandotte teenage chicks into the coop with my Barred Rock hen, Banty hen, and Polish rooster. The chicks are getting close in size to the Banty.

    The past few days, the mature hens and rooster have been looking into the brooder run when the mature chickens are out free-ranging, and the chicks have been crowding the fence wall to look out a the mature chickens.

    The Banty hen, especially, has been exhibiting hostile behavior. When the chicks are face-to-face with her, she will peck at them though the fencing, sending the chicks running for safety. Maybe it's because the chicks are closest to her (the Banty) in size. I always thought she was the mellow one of the three mature chickens.

    So, is there a good way to introduce the chicks into the mature hens? "Play dates"?
    Or just shove the chicks in the coop when they're big enough and hope for the best?

    I want to minimize the stess on both the chicks and the mature chickens.
     
  2. Acre of Blessings

    Acre of Blessings Canning/Sewing Addict

    Apr 3, 2008
    Axton, VA
    If they are around the same size, the best way is at night when the others are roosting.
     
  3. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Angela -

    That makes sense, as they are more settled when roosting, but I have to believe bringing the chicks in will cause some commotion.

    What about the next day? I'd assume I'll have to keep a very close watch on things for the first week or so.
     
  4. spook

    spook Chillin' With My Peeps

    There will be fights and pecking orders established. I have snuck birds in and the older girls will yank and haul feathers out of the new one. I have tried the see each other and play dates to find it was the same thing. I have 3 bantams I want to go in with the big girls (Ameraucana) and these girls want to boink the roo on the head and also chase the little girls. And they live in the same coop at this point.
    So I dunno, just don't worry when you hear the bird/argue that is going to take place. [​IMG]
     
  5. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Thanks, spook. I guess I just need to get over the worrying about it, and see how it goes.

    I think back to how I obsessed before I got the chicks, and then how relaxed I was once I finally did get them, and it was the same thing. Just worrying. [​IMG]
     
  6. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    I've never experienced that, but I hope to a year or two from now, when we get a couple more chicks to fill out our flock.

    But I'm pretty sure watching the newbies get chased and pecked will be hard to deal with. But watch closely to make sure blood isn't drawn. You'll have to quit your job and eat your meals at the coop.
     
  7. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Maybe I can arrange to work from home a few days around that time. My company (and especially my manager) has become more open about telecommuting.
     
  8. Windy Ridge

    Windy Ridge Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 3, 2007
    Appalachia
    It is worrisome! I've done it a few times, and I've never had blood drawn. Actually it's gone (thankfully) smoothly. It's always surprising to me, too, who the "bullies" turn out to be.

    Since you are introducing 11 juveniles to only a few mature hens, I honestly doubt you will have many problems. One silkie I had was furious, but the chicks had plenty of room to get away from her. Since there are so many, too, there is safety in numbers. One, lone, new chick won't be the focus of the outrage of the flock!

    I left the brooder in the coop for a while, too, because then that felt like the territory of the juveniles, their place to escape to. I just left the door open so they could go in and out. The other hens would chase them back to that area, sometimes, but then left off, thinking, I guess, that they'd put those young whippersnappers in their places. [​IMG]

    Before I moved it out entirely, I just moved it, confusing the territories. By that time they were more or less getting along okay, anyway. Your older hens will probably always be at the top of the pecking order, but who knows?

    I hope everything goes well for you.
     
  9. AllChookUp

    AllChookUp Will Shut Up for Chocolate

    May 7, 2008
    Frozen Lake, MN
    Thanks, Windy. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury of putting the brooder into the coop run. I have the brooder and it's own run built into a separate area of the barn. I agree that having that many juveniles move in with that few adults should help the situation.

    I'll let everyone know how it goes.
     
  10. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

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    Quote:I'll bet it's because you're always luring them into your office to show your latest 100 photos of your chicks!
     

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