Newly-Integrated Chicks Aren't Happy

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenGirl555, Nov 28, 2017.

  1. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Songster

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    Some people had followed my Integration Panick threads (Aart, Mrs.K, chickens really, etc.) and I'm glad they were able to help, and the chicks are alive and living in somewhat peace with my 5 month pullets. The chicks are about a month and a half.

    If you'd like to really help and hear what I have done, click here!

    Now I say somewhat because the pullets haven't drawn blood or tried to kill the chicks, but the chicks have been pretty scared to death and only eat and drink when the pullets go into the run. They also sleep in (only) the nesting box which isn't really a nesting box yet since none of our chickens will lay eggs for at least another month. I tried more feeders and water containers but the chicks are a little frightened to eat or drink anywhere NEAR the pullets. I also don't know if they don't know HOW to use the ladder to get into the run, or if they are scared of leaving the safety of the coop. I've let them free range with the pullets but the chicks try to stay as far as possible away from the pullets while sticking close to the coop or my house. The chicks also act like they will die if not next to each other at ALL times.

    Since the pullets were my first chickens and all came together, this was my first integration and I'm confused on why they are STILL living in complete fear. They've been living in the coop with the pullets for almost a month. I get they aren't that old but these being my second chicks I've had, I'm very protective of them and don't want them to be too scared to EAT from something less than two feet from them! I'm worried they'll always be like this and never live happily with me. But I'd also like to mention that the pecking order wasn't/isn't established yet between my pullets, though I'm pretty sure they are making it right now, but they almost completely ignore the chicks unless the chicks get in the way or they see them and think, "Oh look, forgot they were here!".

    I just want what's best for my babies and would NEVER EVER want an animal to feel pain and sadness because of me or what I'm not doing. Please help, I'm a desperate chicken mama! :confused::(
     

  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Chicken tender Premium Member

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    Your problem is you are integrating teenagers and children, it doesn't go easy. If you were integrating adults and chicks it would go easier because that's a natural progression. You will probably continue to see problems until all your birds are mature. It definitely will take more than a few months before you have a more cohesive flock.
     
  3. If you are a chicken, life is neither fun or fair
     
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  4. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Free Ranging Premium Member

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    I've recently integrated chicks with older pullets from a week or two old. When they get a little older they'll brave the big girls. My chicks were hatched in August and they're just to the point that the big girls aren't quite so terrifying. They still get chased from treats and food, but they always come back for treats and food.

    Keep food and water in the places they like to hang out and let it work itself out without interference unless someone is bleeding. They'll be fine.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Ditto Dat^^^

    What you are seeing is totally normal for the age of birds and especially the size of your coop. That 2 feet is barely enough of a 'stay away from me' distance.
     
  6. ChickenGirl555

    ChickenGirl555 Songster

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    So once they age they won't be in so much fear? I just want anything better than this.
     
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  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Chicken 'society' is rarely kind and cuddly...
    ...and not for the faint of heart, or the anthropomorphic.

    They can be vicious.
    The smaller birds being 'afraid', and the older ones pecking at them
    is completely normal.

    If we give them the space and nutrition they need,
    things are much more harmonious.
    But there will always be one bird chasing another away from feed, treats, etc.
    The pecking order can change frequently.

    Post some new pics here of the entire coop and run, and some of just the run, showing things clearly and completely, so we can see the setup and offer suggestions to help the chicks navigate the space.
     
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  8. igorsMistress

    igorsMistress Free Ranging Premium Member

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    Yes, they just need time. It'll get better.
     
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    They are successfully integrated because the older ones are not going out of their way to try to kill or run away the younger ones. What you are now seeing is pecking order. Until the birds all reach the same stage of maturity the more mature will be likely to peck any less mature bird that invades its personal space. How much that actually happens depends a lot on the individual personality of the birds but it is a really common occurrence. The younger ones will probably stay afraid of the older until the younger get to laying age. That’s usually when they mature. Sometimes there are exceptions but generally the less mature form a separate sub-flock until they reach maturity. They will not go to the main roosts with the adults until they mature more. They do all they can to avoid the more mature chickens day and night because they are smart enough to not enjoy being pecked and beat up. Often older teenagers are worse about this than adults, some of that is personality, but it is really normal.

    I can’t tell how much room you really have in that other post. Maybe you have that in another thread, I don’t know. The more room you have the easier it is for them to form separate flocks and avoid the older bullies. I’m not talking about any 4 square feet type of measurement, can they get away from the older ones is the real question. Often that takes a lot more than 4 square feet per chicken. A two feet separation is not much.

    As long as the chicks are not getting hurt they are doing OK. They are not going to develop any personality disorders or need counseling. When they mature enough they will become one flock. Until then the young ones will probably be afraid of the older ones, they are not dummies. That is just how chicken society works. As they grow they will get bigger and take up more room, if your space is really tight that might lead to issues later. That could be space in the coop by itself if they are locked in there. If the pop door is open you are looking at the space in the coop plus run.

    What you are seeing is normal and natural. From what you have said I’m a bit concerned that your space may be pretty tight, but so far you are doing great.
     
  10. Chickassan

    Chickassan Free Ranging

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    Chicks are always terrified of bigger birds that's the healthy thing to be if they don't want to get pecked. They keep together in same age groups, totally normal. You will probably have two different groups for months, don't worry about their happiness they're happy and they're just behaving like smart littles should act.
     

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