Mixing my flock.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by christa7032, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. christa7032

    christa7032 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    Hi Everyone,
    I have 2 Buff orpingtons who are about six months old and just started to lay. I also have 6 chicks who are a little over a month old. Due to a sudden rise in the opposum population on my property, the only safe place to keep them all is in my coop because they are somehow getting into the part of the house where I was keeping the chicks. So right now, the chicks are in a large dog crate inside the coop (which is 10x10 so there is plenty of room). I let them all into the coop together to see how they would react since they have seen each other almost every day since the chicks were born. One of the big girls didn't care at all, but the other was chasing the little ones and attacking them. She even went so far as to pick up one chick by her wing for a second. So my question is when can I just let them all live together without the dog crate? It would be much easier on everyone if they could all just get along. Please help.
  2. mamawolf544

    mamawolf544 Unbreakable Heart

    Apr 29, 2009
    alvarado, Tx
    She is throwing her weight around to show she is boss. But she will more than likely kill the chick or chicks. Some hens dont like anyone's baby but their own. I would keep them in the crate and only let them out together when you can supervise.
  3. jerseygirl1

    jerseygirl1 Overrun With Chickens

    Jun 20, 2009
    Orange County, NY
    Maybe you can keep them in the dog crate until they are a little bigger (and smarter)
  4. NellaBean

    NellaBean Graceland Farms

    Mar 4, 2009
    Broodyland, TN
    My Coop
    I wonder if it might help to keep the more aggressive girl in a crate for a few days while the chicks are out? I would only do that if I was positive the other older girl would not act too aggressively towards them. The first few days are always the worst. Or maybe swap them back and forth a few days? Chicks out one day while hens are in crate, hens out the next day when chicks are in crate. etc etc.

    However that is a pretty big age difference. I have started letting my 3 x 11 week olds out with the "big kids" (17 chickens mixed 5-8 months old) and after a few days the chasing has really gone down. Of course, they are in a half acre yard so there is plenty of room to run away from each other and just hang out in different places. But it has been a week now and 2 of the chicks have been at the feeder with the older girls without any problems. The 3rd was removed for a few days to be a buddy to an injured chick and that messed up her integration a bit.

    What works in your favor is having way more chicks than older girls. I have a group of 6-7 week olds that will be moving out into the yard as well....they are way younger than I would normally integrate, but there are 11 of them...and since my yard is alreay in an "uproar" over the other new additions, timing is perfect.
  5. juliawitt

    juliawitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2009
    We also mixed 8 week olds with 2 full grown hens. One hen didn't care at all, the other...."Hated it!" (2 snaps and a thumbs up). So, my husband took chicken wire and built a segregation area within the coop itself. Now they are totally integrated and we keep one side of the little are open but we have it if we ever have a sick or broody hen.[​IMG]
    That is the segregation are looking in from the actual coop. I have a "big" girl sitting next to me, looking in as I'm taking the picture. This let the babies have a safe, warm area and the big girls could see, get used to them, but not peck. This worked great, and since they had almost a month of looking and not touching, the actual integration went really, really well.
  6. cactus-hen

    cactus-hen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 21, 2008
    I put the chicks out when they are about 1 month old. I give them plenty of places to hide from the hens. The main hiding place is a pallet with plywood on top. I removed the boards on one side and prop it up on bricks. I can raise the height of the pallet as needed. I also prop plywood against the sides of the coop. The chicks learn quickly to hide when needed. I haven't lost a chick in 2 years.
  7. christa7032

    christa7032 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    Thanks for all the replies. The babies are actually only locked up at night and for the first part of the morning, then I let the big girls out into the yard (where it is fenced in) and the little ones are let into the 10x10 run to run around. So my question is, how long do they have to see each other before the hen will not try to kill the girls? One post said a month, is this about average? Also, should I let them all out together (after some time goes by) for short supervised periods each day, or just let them all out with a place for the little ones to escape? I really want to protect my babies but the one hen is pretty aggressive so I am worried about leaving them alone.
  8. juliawitt

    juliawitt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 9, 2009
    When we started to "mix" them, we actually sat outside with them so we could watch. We keep a water squirter next to us to squirt anyone showing too much aggresion. It took us 3 days of vigilence. We would still seperate at night. On the 4 day, we did not watch from the yard but kept an eye on them from the house. That night, after everyone went to the coop, we turned out the lights and opened the door to the segregation area......The next morning they were all together, and I had no more problems.[​IMG]That is me, sitting outside "watching".
  9. Germaine_11.20

    Germaine_11.20 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    Quote:Yes that is pretty much what I do too. But I made a bottomless brooder and put it on cement blocks. As the chicks grew and got bigger I raised the blocks higher. I also put feed and water in there so they didn't have to fight the big birds for it. They would run out and explore and if a hen or roo started chasing them, they dive back under.

    Pretty soon everybody is used to everybody and the chicks stay out except to eat. They liked the safety of the brooder.

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