Introducing new chicks to bantam hen

burt4750

Chirping
Apr 14, 2020
46
40
61
Lexington, KY
Have a question.....hoping someone can help. I introduced my year old bantam hen to the 8 new two month old chicks yesterday. Three of the chicks are silkies and will be her new roommates. Within an hour of putting them all together, there were some of her feathers floating around in the pen. By the time I took her back to her coop that evening, it looked like a pillow fight had been happening. Now, this morning, the coop she resides in with 9 other chickens also looks like the pillow fight had continued through the night.

She went from losing no feathers to this. Can this be to stress? I need to get her acclimated to the new silkies because the four of them are going to be together in a smaller coop/run in the next few weeks.

Any suggestions?
 

JustAChickenLoverOverHere

💙 JACLOH 💜
Jan 30, 2021
3,816
8,593
506
Houston, Texas
It’s incredibly difficult for chicks to coexist with a full grown hen, even a bantam one, if the hen hasn’t been accustomed to chicks in the past.
Who’s losing feathers? The hen?

Have you tried the “see no touch” method? By placing the newcomer(s) in a cage or pen that the outsider(s) can coexist with them without harming each other.
 

burt4750

Chirping
Apr 14, 2020
46
40
61
Lexington, KY
I did for several hours and there was no problem. When I did put the hen with the bantams she was not aggressive, but made it clear she did not like them in her space. I have seen no aggression from any of the birds, just the hen all of a sudden losing her feathers.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
100,776
144,244
1,867
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I did for several hours and there was no problem.
It takes several weeks not several hours.

Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom