Introducing Chicks to Hens

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by JeepersCreepers, Dec 22, 2013.

  1. JeepersCreepers

    JeepersCreepers Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 11, 2012
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    I've been thinking about adding to my small flock but would prefer to get chicks again and introduce them to my hens. I'm a little hesitant as I don't know how my hens will react. I have 2 GLWs one dominant(Creepers) and one submissive(Thelma)- I would like to get different breeds too (thinking Americana, silkie, and bantam) but am wondering what is the best way to make this a successful process. Neither of my current hens is aggressive and they maintain their hierarchy well, I'm just a little hesitant to upset the balance :/ Does anyone have any advice on what they have found to be a good age/method of introduction?
     
  2. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Unless a hen is broody and you are going to time it right and sneak them in to make her think she hatched the babies then I would never put chicks in with grow hens. Even if they do not seem aggressive towards each other or towards other adult birds there is too high a chance that they will kill the chicks.

    I would raise the chicks in a brooder. When they are old enough to live outside I would set up a grow pen in your existing coop if there is room or next to it so that the old girls and the new girls can see each other every day with some wire or barrier between them so they can't hurt each other. This will give them a chance to get used to one another.

    Once the birds are getting similar in size (I usually wait until about 3 months old), integrate the two flocks. There may still be some violence but just watch for blood and let them work it out. Adding a second feeder and waterer to your coop for the first week of integration is a good idea.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
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  3. JeepersCreepers

    JeepersCreepers Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Ok, Thanks for the info. This is very helpful.
     
  4. BantamFan4Life

    BantamFan4Life LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO. Premium Member

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  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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  7. JeepersCreepers

    JeepersCreepers Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Ok, thanks, checking out the articles now :)
     
  8. Cheryls

    Cheryls Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 19, 2013
    I'm in the process of doing that right now. I have 4 nine month red sex links and I added 4 thirteen week old ee's. They have been living side by side since a week before thanksgiving. On Friday I opened the door between them. The top three hens could care less. It's the one last in the pecking order that is being mean. If I sneak up on them and watch, everyone seems fine doing their own thing. As soon as the mean one sees me she stops whatever she's doing and runs to peck the newbies in the head. I since learned to stay out of sight. The first two nights, I had to put the newbies in the coop. Tonight they went in on their own. I'm not going to lie, I was scared to mix them. Scare of what might happen, but things seem to be better than expected. Oh, while they were living side by side, I would let them all out to free range for about an hour everyday.
     
  9. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. Introductions can go well or they can be disastrous depending upon the temperament of the birds involved. Some general rules of thumb: Big chickens pick on new/smaller/strange chickens. Never introduce chicks to adults. Bantams and large fowl raised together generally do fine. Introducing bantams to large hens can sometimes be a problem. Silkies or Polish with their topknots/crests and sometimes impaired vision frequently become targets. Good luck with your plans.
     
  10. JeepersCreepers

    JeepersCreepers Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 11, 2012
    Greenville, SC
    Oh Wow, thanks for the info. I may rethink the breeds. I'm confident about wanting to get an Americana but maybe I won't get the bantams. Are there other breeds that would introduce better?
     

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