Let the little ones into the run?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by thewhyblockl, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. thewhyblockl

    thewhyblockl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2011
    Hi. I have an adult RIRxBR and 6 8 1/2 week old BR's in a large run (30'x23'), and inside the run I have a brooder and mini-run with 6 4 week old BR's in it. The babies are very feisty...little bandits actually. They are well feathered and already ganging up and regularly mugging the hand that feeds them. The run is only 1.5' high with a top opening. When I fill the H2O and crumble feeders they fly out, or try to. They are like little feather bombs. My question is how much longer should I keep the little monsters enclosed in the mini run? I'm in New Zealand, so the temperatures here are mild with highs around 70F and lows around 62F, maybe 60F at night. Do they need a bit more size before they have to deal with the 8 week-olds? One has curled toes that I couldn't fix. Her peers don't pick on her. How likely is it that the older chicks will? Should I just make an observed try? They are becoming more pesky about their confinement by the day.
    Also, is 30'x23' comfortable for 13 (soon to be) large birds?
    Coop: 4'x6', 4 boxes, 14' of top height perch. (hoping warm climate means they will usually only use the smallish house for roosting)
    Thanks!!
     
  2. shabbyfarm

    shabbyfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2008
    South central Iowa
    Yes i would make an observed try !!!
     
  3. thewhyblockl

    thewhyblockl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2011
    I'm a little nervous about this....the 8 1/2 week olds look more like flesh-eating dinosaurs than birds...but here goes. Thanks for the advice. I won't forget who gave it![​IMG]
     
  4. thewhyblockl

    thewhyblockl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2011
    They seemed very panicky. Three wouldn't go out and freaked out when two 8 week-olds went into their run to raid their feeder. This is probably all normal? I put them all back in anyway. It's only 2:15 pm here. I could try again a little later. When I let them into the run, should I also start housing them in the coop, or should I get them back into the brooder box at night? It really doesn't get that cold, I just don't want them getting pecked on by the big kids.
     
  5. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    they sound so cute! i have 3 the same age, they're driving their poor chooky mother insane! i'll be letting them into the other chooks area soon for some supervised play time, if they take to it like a duck to water i'll make it a permanent thing, if not i'll try try again untill they're old enough to hold their own. (6 weeks is what i read somewhere, but i think mumma hen would top go crazy before then!).

    edit: i'd give them some supervised play time daily until they chill a bit about the whole thing. Sleeping in the brooder is probably for the best until they're up to it. poor little darlings, must be like the first day of school!
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  6. thewhyblockl

    thewhyblockl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2011
    Helena,
    I will try what you are trying now. I'll pull out the lawn chairs, mix up some iced tea, and watch an hour of chook TV in the early evening for a few nights to see how they fare:pop. I think if I do this in the evening they will be a bit easier to round up...they'll probably even start looking for a roosting place in the run by the end of the day. 4 weeks might be young, but they seem so big and feisty already.
    About the first day of school...when I first put them into the mini-run out there with the teenagers running all around them I felt terrible all day. I kept going out to see how they were, maybe every 15 minutes. I woke up three times a night for the first 2 nights to make sure that their heat lamp hadn't gotten disconnected or burnt out! I laugh now. I mean, what was going to happen? Was a stoat going to come and unplug the light so he could get to the chooks unseen?
     
  7. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    woohoo! let me know how your little bandits go! it's soo hot here right now, that i'm going to put off supervised play time until the days are cooler, it would just break my heart if i stressed them to death (heat + running from big girls). Also, i don't think i'd go so well myself having to sit out in this and watch them ;P
     
  8. thewhyblockl

    thewhyblockl Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 23, 2011
    Oh. Bad. I tried again. Not in the evening, but now, just about 20 minutes ago. The 8 1/2 week olds attacked them! I threw soaked wheat out to get them away from the babies then sat in a lawn chair with a long bamboo pole that I used to steer the teens away when they tried to attack again. Even the adult RIRxBR (supposedly a calm type of bird)had to be kept away from them. The babies loved being out and spent the 20 minutes flying up and crash landing, scratching, and eating clover leaves. They stayed in one corner for the most part, so they were fairly easy to protect once I got the pole. Are chicken teens notorious for bad behavior? Will they mellow out? Should I try to get the babies out once a day despite the teens? It was really nasty to watch the way they ran to them and pecked their heads and necks. Quite aggressive solid pecking and chasing.[​IMG]

    Helena, you live in Australia. Cool. You are almost a neighbor. You are not too far removed from the flooding either? I hope all is well there, and that you and yours are safe and sound!
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2011
  9. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    i'm in the middle of NSW, an area called the Riverina, so i'm not near the flood; though i have an auntie and some counsins being evacuated from Swan Hill in Victoria. Thank you for your well wishes, i hope you're safe too. Where are you from?

    well, a pecking order needs to be established (which is silly, since clearly the babies aren't a threat to a full-sized bird). A way of making it easier, might be to get a roll of chicken wire and give them a little protected circle in the middle of all the action so the big girls get used to them; that way it mightn't be such a surprise for them when they're big enough to mingle freely. A bit of pecking is normal, though they are known to go crazy if they find blood from a hard peck, so watch out for that.

    If you notice that one hen in particular is doing most of the bullying (usually the dominat one) the best thing you can do it remove her while they're out. Removing the victim of the attacks re-enforces the bad behaviour, showing them that they're in charge and being agressive will remove the unwanted threat. Whilst removing the leader of the gang, throws the pecking order out a bit, so the others don't follow her lead.

    I'd try to chicken wire circle thing and watch to see if one is being particularly agressive, if you think she's showing the others that attacking is a good thing, pop her in a cage, the pen or a carboard box for half an hour.

    I think i'm going to try my babies (though they do have a mummy hen to protect them as well as a human one) out with the big girls in the evening, i think some of them have a different dad, so one is huge (named Jesus because he was born of december 25th! lol) and another is still pretty little; i hope the size doesn't make the little one vulnerable!
     
  10. HelenaJean

    HelenaJean Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 22, 2011
    outback Australia
    i did it [​IMG] they went great. Mostly all the other chooks came into the nursery to check things out rather than them go out, but for the most part the babies were ignored!
    one girl had a go at pecking a baby (not malicious, just curious i think) but mumma hen wouldn't have a bar of it and sorted her out.
    they used to be so small they'd fit through a hole in the wire, so from a young age they could dart out, have a look and retreat if they were pecked at. Besides, my girls are getting on in age, they don't seem to particularly care, they just wanted the starter crumble in there! [​IMG]
     

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