Making new friends...not! Any advice?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ragschickens, Sep 20, 2016.

  1. ragschickens

    ragschickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2016
    Our chicks are finally moved into the coop! The coop is divided and the big girls can't get to the littles. The littles are in the run during the day and the big girls free range. It's been about a week, so I thought we were ready for group time. Not so! The older girls chased and pecked the babies relentlessly. Wouldn't let them go near the feeder/water even though I spread meal worms and treats all over, and had multiple water options spread out.

    How long does it usually take before they will be accepted? Should I keep them separated all the time, or is it ok for the big girls to be so bossy?

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    Pepper is the only nice one to the babies.

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    My fav, Ginny the BO.

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    Our Barred Rock and Silver Wyandotte are really looking different now.

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    Funny looking little Buckeye. I hope she gets prettier! Also, she seems to get picked on the most. Why would that be?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    It's a feature, not a bug, as they say in computer world. Translated into Chicken World, the ritual of picking on those younger is part of the social order. Rank is everything. Be prepared for it to last for months, at least until after the new chicks are adult size and laying.

    It helps to have a "panic room" setup so the chicks can find food and water in a safe enclosure only they are small enough to fit into. It also helps them to have a refuge where they can rest up from the pecking order stresses. You'll have peace of mind knowing your chicks are getting enough food to eat and aren't being deprived.

    A panic room can be a permanent safe pen or a quick, temporary refuge in a corner of the run or even out in the yard. Entrances are around 5 x 7 inches and will accommodate the chicks until they're three months old.

    Another thing you can do is to place a card table in the run and let the chicks eat from the top of the table. I did this with my last batch of four chicks and the bigger chickens never were interested in jumping up there, and the chicks had a "higher place" on which to eat and relax.
     
  3. ragschickens

    ragschickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 12, 2016
    Thank you so much your your input. It's a good reminder that it's natural! I have my coop divided right now with some plastic fencing. The little chicken door is on the chicks side and it leads to a fenced in run. The people door is on the big girls side, and they free range. So the chicks can eat and explore in peace. Should I make a way for the little ones to get into the bigger part of the coop if they want? Keeping them separate and happy is easy right now, but wondering if I should be forcing them together more to get used to one another?
     
  4. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    My chicks start mingling with the adults when they reach two to three weeks old. This is after they've had a couple weeks living side by side the rest of the flock during which time they've had the opportunity to observe and learn the behavior of the various flock members.

    If your chicks have been in a place during waking hours where they have been able to watch the adults for a week or two, then they are probably ready to mingle. It just involves opening up small portals into the rest of the coop and run. If you are going to make it accessible to the chicks to go outside the run to free-range, do not expect them to explore any farther than the run for a few weeks. Chicks are very reserved about exploring beyond the familiar.

    To successfully integrate very young chicks with the adult flock, it's highly advisable to use the panic room method for the safety and well being of the chicks since they will be so much smaller than the rest of the flock.
     
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