Introducing chicks to my established hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChicksRFun, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. ChicksRFun

    ChicksRFun Out Of The Brooder

    20
    0
    22
    May 14, 2010
    Hello! I have 3 Barred Rock hens that will be 1 year old in March. I will be getting 4 Plymouth Rock chicks, of different colors, in Feb. I am concerned abouot when it comes time for me to put the chicks (which will be at least 2 months old or older) out with my hens if they will get along or is there something I should do first before just adding new chickens? My sister in law had 4 Rhode Island Reds and when they tried to add their new Barred Rock chicks, the Rhode Islands picked on them brutally so they had to seperate them until they were big enough to be able to defend themselves a little. I am in the understanding that Rhode Islands can be more territorial than Plymouth Rocks...so I am not sure my chickens will react the same way, but I don't want any of my chicks/chickens to be harmed either! Any advice or information would help a lot. Thank you [​IMG]
     
  2. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    30,361
    159
    446
    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I never add until they are at LEAST 16 weeks old... older is preferred and you put them on the roosts at night, better yet in a cage or run next to the older gang for a couple weeks previous.
     
  3. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,723
    13
    183
    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    I would wait until they can defend themselves and then introduce them while they were in a cage. That way they could interact without getting seriously injured.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Don't put them together until 4 months old.

    I have tried blending younger than that- and the result was - vicious deadly attack and I scooped them up and saved them.

    Here is a good one to look at: (scroll down for adding to flock):
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock

    The issue is that the younger chickens will simply hide their faces, and put their little tushies in the air when under attack (even when they LOOK like they would be big enough to join the flock).

    The older ones will go for blood.
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    34,028
    458
    448
    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I'm afraid it's not really a breed thing it's a chicken instinct thing. I agree, wait til the size matches, try to house them where they can see and hear each other for a while first, and either put them on the roost at dusk or (what's worked best for me) introduce while free ranging and offering treats.
     
  6. ChicksRFun

    ChicksRFun Out Of The Brooder

    20
    0
    22
    May 14, 2010
    Wow, thank you all so much!! I didn't know it could be so stressful. Now I know what steps I can take to lessen the amount of fighting and stress on my chickens! I do have another question, though. One idea is to let them free range together, and I would love to do this with my chickens, but I am afraid that if I let them out I won't be able to catch them to get them back into their coop...how do people get them back in after they are out?
     
  7. mrsbos

    mrsbos Chillin' With My Peeps

    222
    0
    99
    Aug 11, 2010
    Greenacres, WA
    Quote:I don't know what kind of relationship you have with your chickens....but I don't ever have to "chase" mine. They are always hanging around me when I'm outside, and I just pick them up at will whenever I want to cuddle one. I think they fight over who gets to be held sometimes. My 3 EEs were raised from day old chicks and are very tame. If for some reason, one was protesting being "put away", an offering of mealworms always warms them up to me again. They just can't resist!
     
  8. chickengrl

    chickengrl Chillin' With My Peeps

    710
    1
    121
    Sep 30, 2010
    Northern Virginia
    If your chickens have been using the coop for at least a couple weeks they will naturally return to it around dusk. It is a natural thing for them to go roost for the night. We have 25 that put themselves to bed every night after free ranging. Sometimes if you have newer birds you may have to push them into the coop, we use a stick and "herd" them in. Can be a little interesting but they should get the idea pretty quickly. You don't really need a cuddling relationship with your chickens, they have instincts that will be working in your favor. Good luck, it will probably be easier than you think! [​IMG]
     
  9. Pinky

    Pinky Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,723
    13
    183
    Nov 15, 2008
    South GA
    Quote:I worried with my first three chicks too but when I had to scoop them up, none tried to run and were happy I was there.
     
  10. ChicksRFun

    ChicksRFun Out Of The Brooder

    20
    0
    22
    May 14, 2010
    [​IMG] Lol! Everyone's advice is awesome! Thank you all so much. My hens are tame and I give them pets almost everyday and can usually pick them up without a problem, but sometimes they run from me when I try to pick them up so I was afraid to let them free roam. But I feel more at ease and I am excited to let my chickens free roam now, and not to mention that would be great for when the chicks I am getting are bigger to let them all out together to help them get used to each other. I will be getting or building a cage for the younger chickens to be next to the coop until they can all be together nicely [​IMG]
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by