Introducing new chicks to just one hen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ChickensInSF, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. ChickensInSF

    ChickensInSF Hatching

    Feb 4, 2013
    Hey there,

    I am a newish chicken owner. I had three chicks. One was taken by a raccoon, one turned out to be a (very nice) rooster that we had to rehome, and so we ended up with one sweet lonely Rhode Island Red. She has been laying for one month and I decided to get some chick friends for her. With our awful luck I got 5 chicks, all 8 weeks old, assuming that some may not make it or will be roos.

    We have had the chicks for 10 days now and I am looking for some advice from those who have gone through this with success. My main question is...when will they be friends!?

    Background: our RIR hen is 6 months old. I have a coop that accomodates 6 hens comfortably with a fully enclosed run (after the raccoon incident) that is 12 x 17 or something like that surrounding it. For the last couple of weeks I let her roam our garden for several hours a day so during this time I let the now 9 week old chicks explore the chicken run when she is out of it. When she is inside the run the chicks are in a fairly large portable dog kennel with their own food/water and I cover them with a large tarp at night for protection until they join the hen in the coop. So the chicks and hen saw each other close up without having access to each other for 8 days until I let them greet each other in the coop. She immediately rushed at the Australorp chick and tried to pluck out a wing feather until I clapped my hands together to make noise and then brought her out so I could usher the chicks back into their kennel. I am scared to try again because she was so swiftly mean.

    In addition she seems obsessed with their chick crumbles, which I do not want to let her eat because (until I buy organic ones next week) these are the medicated kind. She paces around the kennel with the chicks in it. Finally, after a 12 days-in-a-row laying stint she has not layed for 3 days. Is she stressed or could it be that she is still such a new layer that it is still kicking in?

    Thanks for all advice!

  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Generally, chickens do not mix well until they are all about the same size. Meanwhile, your arrangement so that they see and hear each other is a good way for them to get used to each other. The medicated chick feed is fine for the hen and you can still eat the eggs, at least according to Purina. Of course if she is laying, she may need extra calcium. You should be able to put oyster shell out for her to take as she wants. and the young chicks shouldn't be interested in it.

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