Letting my bantam free range with the big girls. I'm scared!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickadeeNMe, Sep 28, 2015.

  1. ChickadeeNMe

    ChickadeeNMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello! I am new to this forum. I've had my chickens for about 5-6 months. I have 2 bantams (silkie rooster and little hen) and 4 full size hens. The bantams have a small tractor to their selves. I have a larger tractor for my 4 full sized hens. I usually free range the bantams in the morning as they will easily go back into their coop. Then I free range the big girls. I can never get them to go back in till the suns going down...

    I've been really wanting to let them all out together, but I'm afraid to. The one time I tried a while back, one of the bigger hens and a rooster that I used to have attacked Cleo (my bantam) and she flew away and I couldn't find her for a long time. I thought I had lost her. I haven't tried again since that happened. The hen didn't really attack her as badly as the rooster I had did. I got rid of him, but I'm still afraid she will get hurt. She seems like she wants to be let out even when the other girls are out..

    I let the silkie roo out with them once and he was fine. They had a little scuffle, but he is a rooster and he let them know it. The thing is the bantam is so TINY. If there's any chance she will get really hurt, I'd rather just keep her separated, but any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. ChristieB

    ChristieB Chillin' With My Peeps

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    How close are their tractors to each other? They should be able to see each other but not touch for at least a couple days before being loose together.
    I don't know anything about silkies but maybe cut their wings first so she can't fly away again.
    I have 2 Pekins in my flock and aside from the usual pecking order issues they've all gotten on fine, they came first though then the Sussex were added later at around 12 weeks old so before they were too much bigger than the bantams
     
  3. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    I agree. Since they are free ranging, just ensure that you have more than one feeding / watering station in order to reduce excessive competition. Free ranging lets the subordinate chickens get out of the way of the dominant chickens, so as long as no blood is being drawn, i think it should be ok (following the advice above).

    Good luck

    CT
     
  4. ChickadeeNMe

    ChickadeeNMe Out Of The Brooder

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    The coops are pretty close together, plus they each get their own free range time, and they do go up to the other coops to visit with the other chickens through the wire. They've had plenty of time to get to know each other. I was just afraid because Cleo is so small. I will try it tomorrow and see how it goes. Thanks!!!
     
  5. tj74roberts

    tj74roberts Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 6 pretty good size girls including an Orpington and Australorp, and I have two lil tiny we are talking tiny Old English Game Bantams pullets and they all free range together. Sometimes I hear the lil's squawk but they just run away, they are not housed together yet as the current housing situation is not safe for the bantams (not enough hiding spots, just in-case). The first time they were all together I was very nervous, but I was there to break-up any squabbles and surprisingly there weren't to many mostly just chasing a lil. Good luck and I would suggest to stay with them the first few times and watch to see who the trouble makers will be and nip those in the bud[​IMG]
     
  6. ChickadeeNMe

    ChickadeeNMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much!! That's exactly what I needed to hear. Cleo is my first and only bantam hen and she's also an Old English Game Bantam (or at least I think she is). She is my favorite as she is the sweetest and most friendly to me. I would feel terrible if she were to get really hurt, but I think she would be happier if she could hang with the other girls. I just attempted it and as soon as the bigger girls started coming over, I of course chickened out (pun intended) and scooped her up and back into her coop she went, but I'm going to give it another try in a little bit and I'll be brave this time. [​IMG]
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    [​IMG]

    To ease your concern, try this...

    Let the bantams out, and only one larger bird. One bird isn't near as likely to attack another bird, she doesn't have her whole gang at her back. She's going to be way less interested in the little girl than in being out alone. Do that for a while, maybe a few days depending on how things go. The let her and another big girl out. Repeat as necessary until everyone's out together. It's kind of a pain do to it this way, but it's a pretty safe way to go.
     
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  8. ChickadeeNMe

    ChickadeeNMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks everyone. I let them all out and there was not even one squabble. Cleo seems to be really pleased to be with other hens. She also laid her egg in the big coop today. I just went out and opened the nesting box lid and there she was with 3 big eggs and one tiny egg. Yay, now I can raise more chicks!!
     
  9. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Monkey Business Premium Member

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    Thats great and her laying an egg means she's a happy camper!
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. ChickadeeNMe

    ChickadeeNMe Out Of The Brooder

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    Wishing I hadn't free ranged her after all. A hawk got her. This has been a few weeks ago and I'm still really sad about it. I just loved her to pieces. Sweetest and most adorable little hen I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.
     

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