Mature hens mixed with young ones

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by sixshooter, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. sixshooter

    sixshooter New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 17, 2010
    I inherited 2 SLW's from my mother-in-law and then picked up 4 young hens (4 month old range) about 5 days later. The older hens are attacking the young hens and I'm afraid have intimidated them to the point they are hunkered down in the corner of the run. It's been 4 days - should I seperate them or is this fairly common and they just need some extra time? I even considered getting rid of the 2 older hens and allowing the 4 to grow and mature together. I would like to make a decision today on this matter as it seems one of the young buff's is very distressed.
     
  2. emys

    emys Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 19, 2008
    Idaho
    Create a simple chicken wire barrier between the two groups. If they can see each other, but not peck, they will be far less aggressive when put together after a week or two.
     
  3. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    8,688
    222
    316
    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hello-

    Four days seems a bit long in establishing a pecking order. I would definitely separate them so that you know the younger ones can get food water, and just relax without being attacked by the older hens.

    If you can, put the two larger hens in an enclosed area, where they can see the younger ones but not touch them. Truthfully, I wouldn't put them all together until the smaller ones were about the same size as the larger ones.

    Good luck to you!
     
  4. sixshooter

    sixshooter New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 17, 2010
    Great advice! Thank you... Need to go do some modifications now [​IMG]
     
  5. Indy acres

    Indy acres Out Of The Brooder

    63
    0
    28
    Jul 27, 2010
    Lebanon In.
    We have 3 older chickens and a rooster that we keep seperated from the younger ones however during the day they all free range together and seem to get along just fine. If the smaller ones go in the bigger chickens pen because I leave the doors open during the day the big ones run them right out of there, and then they are all happy campers.[​IMG]
     
  6. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I keep a "Meet & Greet" coop, or a "grow out" coop for juveniles to join the flock. It's not very big, but it serves as housing until everyone merges into the flock. I put up temporary fencing - just that green plastic poultry fencing or chicken wire supported by garden stakes - to keep the new members separate. They get their own feed and water, too. They live there, segregated but everybody's able to see each other, hear each other, and even bump chests through the fence without anybody getting hurt. After about two weeks, I remove the temporary fencing. When the Big Chickens encounter the Little Ones, they aren't so apt to smack 'em down; it's almost as if they think, "Oh, you're not strangers, you're those other chickens Mom takes care of....." and there's very little actual conflict at that stage. Maybe some chest bumping, maybe a mild peck or two, to remind the newcomers they can't step in front of a higher ranking hen at treat time, but that's about it.
     
  7. sixshooter

    sixshooter New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Aug 17, 2010
    My husband is out of town until tomorrow so for the time being I caught up the 4 young ones and locked them in the chicken house. They seem much more secure and content in there. I was not ready for the chickens so was poorly prepared for all the hiccups along the way. I went to my inlaws (about 100 miles away) and they insisted I bring the coop and 2 chickens home. So I came rolling into the driveway with a coop in the back of the pickup and husband was [​IMG]. We put together what we could in a short period of time with plans on improving it.

    First chance we get I will do something more permanent that works best for all of them.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by