Introducing new chicks to the flock-not working.....?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 77horses, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    OK so we have a coop in our garage that we built to put our Buff Orpingtons and their rooster, a Splash Cochin, in. We have had and still have two young pullets in a brooder box in our house, since it's too cold outside for them(right now). One is a black EE(with possible Bantam in her), named Raven. The other is a Bantam/Buff Cochin, named Pumpkin. They are both very small for their age. Raven=about 6 months, and Pumpkin=5 months.
    We plan on putting them in the garage coop with the two Buffs and their rooster when it gets warmer out and when they get more mature(their voices haven't even changed completely yet, even at their age!). So one day we took them out to their future coop to meet the flock; now I used to think that Buff Orpingtons were melow and gentle and friendly....they are, but boy do they get mad and aggressive with new chickens on their coop! [​IMG] Caramel, one of the BOs, tried to attack Pumpkin while I was holding her, by jumping up and trying to peck at her! And when Raven or Pumpkin get near either of them, they both start puffing up! It could be caused from their broodiness....They have both been acting broody, just not serious about maybe they either: (1. want to sit on Raven and Pumpkin, like they are their own(puffing up...etc.) or (2. they are grumpy because of the broodiness, and they are protective of their space. Or it could be something else?
    We decided not to put them even near each other, to see how they acted it! And the rooster kept dancing around; I knew he would try and mount them at the first chance he got...even though he is soooo big compared to them! [​IMG]
    What can we do to get them used to each other easily??? We want them to be friends, and not to peck at each other all the time! Pumpkin and Raven don't know anything about getting pecked at. They are a little scared of the BOs and the rooster, too. I'm afraid that they will get hurt badly if left alone with those older chickens. [​IMG]
  2. Crazy4cochins

    Crazy4cochins Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 5, 2008
    NW MO
    Hi,I have 2 new mixed chicks I need to add to my flock to.
    I take mine out to the pen and I have to sit there and watch because my little Gerty's mean and chases them.She's a cochin and I think that's why she's so small.
    When they are out there I have a few that purposely go and pick on them,so I am going to keep bringing them out there so I can get them use to the others.
    My friends flock finally excepted the new babies she got when they got bigger. I think the older ones want to be the boss over the babies.
    I am going to keep on until they accept the newbies.
    You could always try putting them in a cage in your coop.That's my next step but it's been too cold and I have a baby turken so I do it on warm days.
    Hope I helped:)
  3. Barn Maid Ann

    Barn Maid Ann Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 28, 2008
    Punta Gorda, FL
    I have only introduced new chickens twice so far, in my 20 months of chicken ownership. We started out with three Comets. They were alone, and queens of their territory for a year. They tolerated a flock of Guineas that first year, but went after them if in close proximity. Guineas are now gone.
    Following year we raised a bunch of new chicks. We were going to keep only a few, and put them with the older girls. Yea right!!! NOT!
    They wanted to kill those babies (introduced at 4 months). We free ranged them during the day and kept the babies roosting in an extra barn stall instead of the chicken coop. They are still in the barn as we kept too many to put in the coop anyway. They all gather together during the day, and the new roosters even cover the older hens now. But it took a looong time for them to get used to each other. We also got two older EE hens (as a trade). We thought we could at least put those two with the older girls. Everyone told us to do it at night. I didn't have the heart to leave them alone as the older hens continued to terrorize the newbies. The youngsters were way more tolerant of allowing the two new ones to roost with them, so we put them all together.
    I find it kind of traumatic trying to introduce new birds. I wonder if they all just finally get used to it year after year?
  4. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    Quote:Yea that's what our older girls keep trying to do around the small babies; they act like they want to kill them or something! [​IMG] [​IMG]
    I hope they get used to each other soon! [​IMG]
  5. NancyDz

    NancyDz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 9, 2008
    Dutch Flat, CA
    Every time I have introduced new chickens to the flock, I' have kept them in a separate cage next to the run or inside the run, and let them get used to them without having access to them. After a week or so , I put them in the coop at night, when the chickens wake up, there may be a little chasing or pecking order establishment but nothing major and sometimes nothing at all.

    It's gotta be gradual though, just throwing them in doesnt work as you've seen.

    Good Luck

  6. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    Quote:Yea that's a good idea! We are planning on building a small cage-like thing, so we can easily put baby chicks/younger chicks in it. It will be right near the other coop. [​IMG] We need something, like a brooder cage, for new chicks that we hatch this summer. [​IMG]
  7. ThePolishPrincess

    ThePolishPrincess Chillin' With My Peeps

    We, sadly, don't have any extra space or fencing to keep two flocks seperate for a long period of time. Last year, I hatched these two with a broody, and took them away to raise in my own brooder.


    When they were old enough to let the flock meet, I was VERY cautious. 9 angry hens and 3 mature roos are a strain to any little one. You have to first understand your chickens before you try to get everyone to make 'nice-nice'. Your hens don't want the chicks. They are basically saying, "Those don't belong here, we want them out." Any hen will act this way towards a chick that is not their own. They aren't even interested in making new flock members. They only want them dead.

    The roos, also, don't want them in the flock. Roosters will attack anything that they can handle and is bothering their girls. Both hen and roo are equally as dangerous to your babies.

    So, with our two I put them down on the ground in out run, my hands close by. The hens and roosters just looked at them. Eventually, my dominant hen, Roxy, went to check out the newcomers, the fresh meat. I let her have a good look, but after she had enough I gave her a small shove to tell her off. The chicks need to know you are there to protect them, like their mother. It's not just, "Okay, you're not babies anymore. Bye." Make sure you let your small flock understand that you aren't throwing them into the lion's den yet.

    After a few minutes of meeting them, I took the two away and put them back in the brooder. The next day I did that same thing, and the next, but longer every day. Soon, it was time to get everyone together again. I took out a small dog crate, and put it in the coop. The chicks stayed in the crate every day and night until I'd take them out for some more one-on-one time with the flock. When everything had gone smoothly and the chicks weren't seen as play-toys anymore, I decided it was time to take the safety away and give it a go.

    I took away the crate and placed in several LARGE, COLORFUL, child plastic toys in the run. (Toy truck, toddler bike, even a potted fake plant.) Let's face it, chickens aren't very bright. Put in new distracting toys and all of a sudden, the chicks being able to wander about just isn't as interesting. The flock checked out the toys while the chicks could hide behind them and get to know their family.

    Took the toys away the nxt week without hesitation.

    Now, almost a year later, the two are grown up and are better than ever. It's a lengthy experience, but worth it in the end.

    Hopes this helps!
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2009
  8. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:No, they aren't wanting to adopt and brood pullets that old. I've never seen a hen want to adopt a 4 or 5 month old chicken. That's way past adopting age. Depending on the breed, those girls may be about to start laying eggs themselves. But even new-hatched chicks would most likely be rejected or attacked by hens just beginning to brood. At that stage, they want eggs, not chicks.

    Quote:Yes, very likely. They may have done better before the older girls started thinking about brooding. But if you can put them where there's a barrier to protect the new ones, but where they can all see and hear each other, you might be able to add the young ones once the big girls get broody in earnest. They won't be paying attention to the newcomers them, except once a day when they take a break to eat, drink, and poop. Roos would be more likely to welcome them at that point as well, because the broody girls will be unavailable for mating.

    If you wait too long, you may have to keep them separate until after the older ones brood, hatch, and raise the chicks. If you try to add them when there are actually new chicks around, there will most likely be trouble.

    A 5 month old pullet can usually stand up for herself pretty well. It not like they're tiny chicks. There will always be a bit of pecking at first, until it's established who's where in the pecking order.

    Bantam and bantam crosses will be small, but that doesn't make them defenseless. Bantams are tough, even though they are little and cute. At 5 and 6 months old these are not chicks.
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2009
  9. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:Isn't that a little high on the roo/hen ratio? Any time I have more than 1 roo per 12-15 hens, there's trouble. Even with only 2 roos with 30 hens, I have several hens getting bare-backed. They must be the sexiest hens in the flock.

    That's an interesting idea, using toys and whatnot as distractions for the rest of the flock. Chickens are extremely curious about new things, so I can see how that worked! A stroke of genius, I may try that if I ever have a problem introducing new birds. So far, mine have always been easy, maybe because I free range, so they have lots of room to scatter.
  10. 77horses

    77horses ◊The Spontaneous Pullet!◊

    Aug 19, 2008
    Thanks, ThePolishPrincess and dancingbear! That's a lot of helpful info.

    Bantam and bantam crosses will be small, but that doesn't make them defenseless. Bantams are tough, even though they are little and cute. At 5 and 6 months old these are not chicks.

    It's very hard for me to think of Pumpkin "tough". [​IMG] [​IMG] She's so small and gentle! But I guess you're right; one time, instead of bringing the younger ones into the older one's coop, I brought one of the older pullets inside to the younger one's brooder box. This way, she would be too distracted by curiosity about the house than worrying about being a boss. Sure enough, it actually worked; the older pullet walked around and little Pumpkin followed her; oh and after remembering how Pumpkin reacted to the older pullet, I'm starting to believe you, dancingbear, about how Bantams are tough; When Pumpkin saw the older BO pullet, she actually ran up to her and pecked at her, as if to try and show her who's boss! [​IMG] The BO pullet just stood there like nothing happened. Silly Pumpkin. [​IMG] [​IMG] I guess she is pretty tough, despite her small size and cuteness! [​IMG] I don't know about Raven, who is really clumsy, because she's so tall and her neck is so long! It would be hard for her to stand up for herself.​

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