Introducing chicks to an established flock


8 Years
Feb 14, 2011
Huntsville, Alabama
I have an odd man out chick. He's too big, (picks on the smaller chicks I have in a brooder) and too small
for the larger half grown chickens outside. I put him in an upside down laundry basket
outside today where the bigger chickens can see him but not hurt him. Will they accept
him after a couple of days or am I stuck providing individual housing for him till he's much bigger? Currently
he has a little fuzz but has mostly feathered out and is too big for the brooder. When the top
chicken outside, (a hen) tries to peck him through the holes in the basket he pecks back. The
weight difference is significant so without protection I think he could get seriously hurt. He
is not showing any signs of distress and is happily eating and drinking and does not shrink
or hide when the other birds approach. This morning the bigger bird acted aggressively flaring
her hackles and running around the laundry basket in full attack mode. Now several hours later
the top hen and the other chickens are ignoring the smaller chick. Is it safe to let him loose?
It is best to wait until 16 weeks I have found. I know that is a long time.

What you are waiting for is for him to be about the same size as the others. It is an issue of the younger chickens raise their bottoms in the air and hide their faces while the older ones go for blood. I know you witnessed him fighting back, but this won't be the case all day long. Hens kill chicks.

Since you have just one- if it were me, I would remove the nicest hen you have when he gets bigger (use your judgement) and put her with him- then he will have a friend. Supervise her carefully at first.

You can make a little yard with some chicken wire and bird netting on top within the run (so he will be safe from dogs). Then when he joins the flock, he won't be the only new one and will have a friend to hang out with.
Oh- I just thought of another option- when the chicks that are younger than him get bigger- you can experiment placing him in with them again with supervision.

I am experiencing the same thing as you right now. But for now, my lone chick is in with some silkies about the same age and has bonded with them. So she won't be lonely as she waits to grow up to join the older flock. (I like to keep my silkies separate.)

My other option is to wait until my chicks that are 5 weeks old to get bigger and then add her in with the younger ones.
Thanks, I was hoping I could sneak him into the small flock of ee's I have. I bought some online auction eggs and only one hatched. Not only is he not a
lavender ameraucana, which is what I purchased but a muffless, beardless, black easter egger roo with feathered legs. The
seller also has black copper marans so I'm guessing his father was that, as he did hatch from a turquoise egg. I've been keeping him indoors, but he's
becoming more and more aggressive and wants to be a lap chicken. I have mixed larger chicks and smaller but he's attacking the smaller chicks and he is
too small to take on the larger pullets. I wish I could find him a home but I don't think there's many out there that want a black olive egger roo
with a whole lot of attitude.
I have put my three chicks outside in a pen since 2 weeks (nice weather here) and by the end of the day all my chickens perch on the fence of their pen and watch the chicks. A week later my three older pullets (12-14 weeks) started to hop in and eat the chicks food without incident. Now my chicks live outside in a separate coop and only my young roo misbehaves with them. I scared him in to not chasing them, but he wont let the older girls interact with them too much. So, at 6-7 weeks my young chicks are living pretty unmolested outdoors.

I keep a close eye on things even so and occasionally poke my head out the door to give the roo a stern word if he starts eyeballing the young ones.

The solution to this problem is so simple, I don't know why more people don't think of it. In a corner of your run, rig a temporary (or even make it permanent) nursery/panic room. Take some 2 x 4's and use them for posts, then staple chicken wire onto them so you have a small pen for your problem child. Make it at least 2' x 4', but larger is better. Cut small openings for pop holes, so the chick can go out into the adult part of the pen, and he'll quickly learn that when he's chased or pecked, safety lies through the small pop holes. Put his (and I do believe you have a junior roo) food and water inside his little pen so the others can't prevent him from eating.

He can spend days in the pen, and you can always bring him inside to sleep in the brooder at night. If you want to move him into the coop, try placing him in there after the others have finished laying for the day, locking out the others. At roosting time, let the others in to roost, and there shouldn't be any big hassle. It sounds like you have an individual who can quickly adjust and take care of himself.

This is also a good strategy for integrating the rest of your chicks into the flock when the time comes. I usually start them outside in the temporary nursery/panic room when they're around 3 or four weeks old and move them into the coop at six weeks.
Thanks for all the good advice. I think tomorrow I will cut a few holes in his laundry
basket and see if he smart enough to run back in. I tried letting him loose with a
little supervison today but it was a dark rainy day and didn't want that additional stress
factor complicating his first day of freedom. My bigger chicks are pretty rowdy and
wouldnt hestitate to give him an attitude adjustment. He just doesnt seem to understand
how small he is in comparison. Thanks again.
Adult hens can be really hard on young cockerels. Be careful. He may be too interested in "romance" to retreat to his safe house when he should. I had a little cockerel who was squeaking out crows and trying to chase the girls at 4 weeks old! It was a very good thing that he was separated from the adult hens or they would have murdered him.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom