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Merging Chicks with Hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Bell124, May 6, 2013.

  1. Bell124

    Bell124 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 5, 2013
    I have two two year old hens and six 1 1/2 month old chicks and I want to move them into the coop together soon. The hens have never shown any interest in the chicks and have never shown anything other then curiosity, no aggression, and the chicks seem to be afraid of the hens. What should I expect if I put them together in the coop?
     
  2. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted

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    Quite possibly dead chicks, sorry. When I've tried to put chicks under 4 months in with mature hens, I've had casualties. I'd wait until 3, 3 1/2 months at least. Then, put them in at night, on the roosts. Pick a day when you can keep a good eye on them and pull out any chick who is getting pecked on too much. It's totally normal for the hens to harass the chicks and make life hard on them for a few days, but there shouldn't be (much) blood and things should settle down. Depending on your space and set up, you might want to add another feeder/waterer. And have something in the coop or run to break up line of sight, give those babies something to hide behind but not a corner where they can get trapped.
     
  3. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree with donrae, don't do it. I never try to integrate young birds into an existing adult flock until the younger birds are physically the same size as the adults, somewhere around 18 weeks of age. The only exception to this is if they are chicks with their mother--in that case, the mother will do the integration at around a week or so of age.

    donrae gives good advice on how to integrate, too. Especially adding another location for food and water, and making sure the youngsters can get away from the older hens if chased.
     
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I raise my chicks in a separate room with a screen door between until they are about 4 months old, then take down the door. Never have had a problem as they seem to "know" each other by then. After that they use both rooms until I'm ready to add new chicks. On the other hand, if the chicks are being raise by an brooding hen, they blend in easily--mom seems to protect them.
     
  5. allison finch

    allison finch Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I never even try to merge until the chicks stop cheeping and get their adult voices.
     
  6. jcwaterside

    jcwaterside Out Of The Brooder

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    I am having a similar issue, but the hens in the coop are just about six Weeks older and a larger breed. The younger chicks I'd like to integrate will never be as big, even full grown. I don't mind keeping the younger ones out for another couple months, but inevitably, I will have to combine this diverse group. Any suggestions! I can fence off a small area and let the younger girls out during the day, but the sexlink chick flies right over the fence like it's nothing! Thanks for your help!
     
  7. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    One thing that works very well for us is a barrier that smaller birds can get through/over but larger birds cannot. In our case, our main chicken pasture is fenced with woven wire that has 4" square holes. Pullets can pop right through but full-grown birds cannot. This works really well because we can put the pullets in a coop with a tiny door too small for adult hens right inside the chicken pasture, and they all share. If the pullets are getting too picked on, they just pop out of the pasture or go into their own coop. About the time the pullets are 18 weeks old and should be integrated any way, they become too big to fit through the holes, so it all works out.

    For this reason, I don't think it's a bad thing that your chick flies over. If she gets picked on, she can just fly back. But since your two flocks will always be different sizes, perhaps a permanent barrier between areas that the smaller birds can go through but large birds cannot will mean peace and harmony for all. [​IMG]
     
  8. jcwaterside

    jcwaterside Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for your insight! I am going to check out fencing and create a temp small coop today. I just love these feathered gals:)
     
  9. cluckone

    cluckone New Egg

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    May 18, 2013
    Any chance you could post a picture of that. I think that is exactly what I shall do. Currently we let all our chickens free range together to start the merging. I notice baby roosters taking on all hens now. Something to watch and mama hen fights for them when the others don't like it.
     

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