Introduction of chicks (I have read it all, but I'm still unsure)

ecwetzel

Chirping
5 Years
Oct 16, 2014
31
46
99
We have 3 hens and 5 10week old chicks. About a month ago, we moved the chicks out of our garage into an enclosed crate my husband made which is in the enclosed coop. This has acted as the chicks "safe house". I'm really ready to have them in the coop at night, though, because of predators.

They all free range in close proximity every day while we are out there, but the hens still peck every once and while. If there is a chick within a two foot radius of any hen, it basically chases them off.

So, surely they are old enough. And surely they have had plenty of face time. But the pecking! Due to the placement of door, roosts, etc in the coop, I can't see how I can separate them inside the coop.

What do I do? Do I just stick them in the coop and it will work itself out? We just don't want to go out in the morning to find a dead chick. We already lost one to a hawk and that was dramatic enough for now.
 
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Choco Maran

Songster
10 Years
Jul 25, 2009
730
51
153
Ribera New Mexico
The hens are pecking to assert their ranking in the flock. If they have been outside together and in a crate where they can see each other turn them lose and let them work it out. At 10 weeks they can defend themselves from the hens so there should not be any blood shed a few feather pulling and some squeaking but that is bout it.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
22,920
32,497
1,102
Colorado Rockies
The pecking is likely to keep up for another six weeks or more. It seems harsh to us, but it's a necessary part of the "education" of chicks. The adults are schooling them in flock behavior and establishing the social order.

Your chicks are plenty big enough now that there's little likelihood of injuries. You will know soon enough if you have a sadistic bully or not. This is rare with older hens, more likely with hens under a year old.

You shouldn't worry about the well being of the chicks when they go to the coop for the night. Most of the time, chickens are more intent on settling in for the night than causing trouble for the young newcomers.

I happen to have chicks the same age as yours, and they have their own section of a coop in which to roost, but the sadistic bully in my flock managed to get in there this week anyway. When I discovered the bully, she was snug in a nest box, minding her own business while the chicks were huddled, like normal, in a corner. She wasn't interested in causing trouble for the chicks, but she got removed anyway.

So don't worry about the chicks in the coop. They'll be just fine.
 

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