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Introducing chicks to one older chicken

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by spbaz, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. spbaz

    spbaz New Egg

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    Jul 16, 2015
    I am not totally new to chickens, we moved into our house in the country 2 years ago, and it came with 6 2-3 year old chickens who had a large coop and run area. That summer we let our chickens free range from late June until the snow fell without one of them dying or getting hauled off, it was great. Since then we have lost a lot of chickens and had to introduce new chickens to our flock and everything has gone reasonably well until this year. At the beginning of this spring we had 3 of our original flock, one bird who I called Lucky who was about a year old, and 2 young hens who I had introduced to the flock last year as pullets.
    Now this is where the trouble started, one day the 2 old barred rock hens got plucked off by a fox, I actually saw him run across our yard, but by the time I could get out the door they were both gone. Then about a week later Lucky (who was a Silver Laced Whynotte) disappeared without a trace, no feathers just gone! I was quite upset and my solution to the problem was to get 4 new barred rocks pullets. At this point in our coop we had 1 Aruicana (still from our original flock), 1 Brown Leghorn, and 1 Black Sex Link (who are about a year old). We got the barred rocks pullets when they were already 10 weeks old and we just put them into the coop with the old birds at night. They lived in the coop huddled together on the ground for a few days without incident. Then one day one of the pullets got out of the coop into the fenced in run area and my husband saw the black sex link and the brown leg horn get on top of her and start plucking feathers off her head. He was able to get her out with just a little blood and we decided to separate them until they got bigger. A few weeks passed and her head healed up and one of her pullet sisters died in the coop of something or rather and we decided it was time again to try to introduce them to the older birds. We let the big birds out to free range and left the little ones in the coop. We were around for a few hours and we saw them all walking around the yard seeming to get along just fine. Then we left for a few hours and when we came back 2 of the pullets were gone and one of them was in the run area with all the feathers plucked off her head and neck bleeding pretty badly. We got her inside isolated her and put some medication on her head, and went looking for the other birds. We were able to find them in the pucker brush and got them back into the coop in a separate area. At this point I was going to wait until the 3 got full grown and try isolating the black and brown bird when I reintroduced the pullets when the ones head healed, but then yesterday the Aruicana and the Black Sex Link also disappeared without a trace! So at this point I am left with one Brown Leghorn who is about a year old, in the large coop area with access to the run by herself. Then I have the 3 pullets next to her in the coop separated by chicken wire. The bald headed chicken is still recovering but seems to be OK. I was not going to reintroduce the young chickens to the older ones again until she was all healed but now I am afraid the one brown leghorn might be lonely. She just paces back and forth in the run by herself all day [​IMG] So I guess with all this information I am just looking for suggestions on what others think I should do.
     
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I would add them when you can supervise, than separate when you can't. I might give the young ones the run of the coop and run and separate out the old one. You should expect introductions to take time, weeks for sure, and occasionally months depending on the birds and the dynamics. So never rush things. Penning side by side for a few days to weeks is the best way to start, than supervised mingling.

    It sounds like you have a predator problem, and may not have any chickens soon. I would keep them locked up until you can figure it out.
     
  3. spbaz

    spbaz New Egg

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    Jul 16, 2015
    Yes I agree we have a predator problem. I think it might be the fox that I saw and I am not really sure what to do about a fox. I think I am just going to leave them in their run and coop and not let them out for some time. I am very nervous about letting them free range, I do not want to lose anymore! I only have one egg layer at this point.
    As far as the introductions today I let the little chickens into the bigger part of the coop and the run, they were not brave enough to go outside yet, I think they thought the old chickens were waiting for them, but they seemed quite happy with more space. I think I am just going to wait until the bald chicken has grown most of her head fathers back and her wound has healed before I try putting them together again.
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Sits With Chickens Premium Member

    15,859
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    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    Sounds like you have a plan. Just take it slow, don't be afraid to separate them through a wire so you aren't constantly worried about them. Mine will be penned separately at night for a few months before I feel confident enough to leave them out.

    Fox are terrible to deal with, though sometimes just shutting off the food supply will make them move on. Hopefully you never see him again.
     
  5. Rock Home Isle

    Rock Home Isle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Before doing anything you should deal with your predator problem. Right now you have one lucky fox that is really living high on the hog and having wonderful chicken dinners at your expense.

    Quick and dirty...buy electric poultry fence. Not very expensive, but very effective.

    More drastic, trap the fox.
     

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