Need help with integration

HappyClucker7

Bantam Queen
7 Years
Apr 28, 2016
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New York
I've been having some trouble integrating two new chicks into my LF flock. So to start, the flock consists of 1 rooster and 5 hens. All of them are between 1-6 years old. The chicks I'm trying to integrate are 10 weeks old.
I hatched these chicks myself, and I've been introducing them to the older chickens since they were little. I brought them outside and had them in a pen while the other chickens were out in the garden. So they've all known each other for weeks. Plus, I bring the rooster inside at night (so he doesn't wake the neighbors), along with one of his favorite hens, so they've been sleeping right next the babies every night for weeks too.

At this point, it's safe enough for me to let them all be in the garden together without the chicks being in a pen, but this is where my trouble starts. Even though none of the hens are especially mean, and the rooster seems to have already accepted them into the flock, the chicks are too scared to go anywhere near the older chickens. If one of the older hens even just walks by them, they start flinging themselves at the garden netting, or they jump onto my lap for protection. Seeing the chicks panic, the older hens get attracted to the scene and start chasing them. So basically, the babies get scared and panic for no reason, then they get chased, and then they panic even more the next time, which makes them get chased even more. It's a whole vicious circle, and I'm not quite sure how to break out of it. Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can help these babies get over their fear and join the flock?
 
Where do they go when they panic?

Can you post a picture of your set up, your bidding places, and maybe a video of the behavior?
When they panic they usually jump into the garden netting, or they run to me to protect them. They're quite imprinted on me, which unfortunately is making this harder. I don't think they quite realize that chickens make good friends too.
I can get some pictures tomorrow.
 
It's actually normal that they don't want to get within 6' of the hens, that's about the distance that might set off a chase so they're being smart in staying away. As long as they have enough space to stay away from the hens, they should be able to move around while keeping enough distance to make them feel safe and slowly gain confidence.
 
Jumping into this thread b/c I'm having a similar issue. I have 3 13 week old chicks in the run with 4 older hens. 2 of the hens started out being pretty awful in the beginning - chasing them around, feather pulling, just generally tormenting the chicks. That has settled down for the most part, but the chicks are still terrified of those 2. They completely PANIC when one of the mean girls even looks at them. So much so that one ripped her toe nail off the other day trying to get away. So the hens aren't injuring them directly - the chicks are injuring themselves in their panicky behavior. It's been like this for weeks now. It's over 100 degrees here so I've still been keeping them in a separate area of the run so that they stay calmer during the heat of the day and no one is too scared to come out of the corner to drink. They also still sleep in their own coop. How long should I wait this out? Should I be doing anything more? Will the chicks calm down when they start laying?
 
They completely PANIC when one of the mean girls even looks at them. So much so that one ripped her toe nail off the other day trying to get away. So the hens aren't injuring them directly - the chicks are injuring themselves in their panicky behavior. It's been like this for weeks now.
Any photos of your run? A lot of clutter to break up line of sight in the space would probably help the chicks feel safer - if they can't see the hens, they won't panic.
 
Any photos of your run? A lot of clutter to break up line of sight in the space would probably help the chicks feel safer - if they can't see the hens, they won't panic.
It's certainly cluttered and they have some "out of sight" spaces that allow them to settle down... until the hens want to scratch nearby. The covered area is 9x9 + several shaded "enclaves" off the sides of the main run. But they can't just stay in their "safe places" forever. The problem is when a mean hen walks by or even looks their way. Or when they have to pass by a mean hen to get to food, water, or just to join a braver chick who managed to run by the mean hen. It's intermittent chaos. I'm worried they'll end up with worse than just a ripped toenail.
 

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