New chick being picked on - should I be worried??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by OffGridFish, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. OffGridFish

    OffGridFish Just Hatched

    Hello, I'm very new to all this and just introduced a new 7 week old chick to my existing 5 chicks just before bedtime. The existing 5 are about 10 weeks old and from the same mixed bantam flock (so they have met before!). I expected some pecking but it seemed pretty brutal and the new chick was just sitting away from the others and didn't fight back at all. They've gone to sleep now and seems to be peaceful although the 5 are together in a nest box and the new one is outside the nest box alone. It's summer here now so I'm not worried about the new one getting cold. Should I be worried? Should I separate the little one overnight and reintroduce tomorrow? Any advice would be great, thanks!
     
  2. Dmontgomery

    Dmontgomery Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    Try to introduce new chicks after dark, not at bedtime, but after bed time. After it's completely dark and all the birds are asleep, put her on the roost near them, but don't wake anybody up if possible. When they wake up together in the morning, they are more likely to accept the newcomer.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC!

    Yeah, they've met before.... but....once a bird is gone for a time(can be as little as a few days) they become 'strangers'.
    Integration is all about territory.
    Once birds become acclimated to a space, and the feed/water in that space, they will vigorously defend it from anyone new.

    Putting it in at night might work, but ike bobbie-j sez: "chickens aren't the brightest animals on this planet, but they're not that stupid."

    Here's some tips:
    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.



    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

    Here is an interesting story about integrating a single hen into a flock that might offer you some ideas and info too:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2016
  4. chickens really

    chickens really Overrun With Chickens

    Put the new Chick in a look no touch pen for a week.....Then let it out during the morning so they have time to get to know each other...........


    Cheers!
     
  5. OffGridFish

    OffGridFish Just Hatched

    Thanks for the replies, I've got her in a seperate cage within the run this morning so will slow down the intro. I naively thought because they were still only chicks that they would be fine straight in together! Thanks for the resources aart, will have a look today.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That instinct kicks in real early...within 2-3 weeks if not before.
     

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