Old Hen Dont Like New Chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by stevexxx, May 31, 2008.

  1. stevexxx

    stevexxx Hatching

    May 31, 2008
    I have had a single hen for about two years. This year I bought 3 new chicks and raised them for the last couple months. They are what I would say their lanky teenage stage. I let them out of the cage I raised them in out in the barn. My old hen attacked them so I put them back in the cage. She hangs around the cage and tries to get at them. My question is will she kill the younger chickens if I let them out on their own or is she just trying to let them know who is boss.
  2. miss_thenorth

    miss_thenorth Songster

    Dec 28, 2007
    SW Ont, Canada
    I wouldn't introduce them to each other until the young ones are old enough to defend themselves. If she has been a solitary hen up until now, she might not know what to think of them. Let them see each other to get used to each other, then when they are big enough- introduce them with supervision.
  3. SpottedCrow

    SpottedCrow Flock Goddess

    Here goes my story.

    Obelisk's buddy Slifer died...I figured that she might be lonely for chicken company so we got Penny...she pecked Penny, chased Penny, yanked her feathers etc. Obelisk is a Standard Leghorn and Penny was a Silkie/Cochin bantam. So it wasn't really a fair fight.

    Obelisk got used to her, but it took a very long time, like 6 months and when Penny went broody and came out of it, the stuff started all over again.

    We lost Penny at the beginning of May and Obelisk is fine being the only bird once again, except for the fact that she wants me to be out with her more...so we went out yesterday to the petshops and walked around looking at all the critters.

    I wouldn't put the chicks in for a while yet. Right now she thinks they're invaders or things to be chased out of the yard. And she could kill them.

    Good luck, Steve.
  4. jemagsy

    jemagsy Songster

    Mar 8, 2008
    Our Betty was a solitary free-ranger we inherited at ~3 yrs old. We were given a white-leghorn, Lucy, a couple months after we got Betty. Prior to getting Lucy, Betty was NOT a social chicken, she free-ranged and we pretty much didn't know where she was from day to day. However, about a week after we start keeping our Luce, Betty went everywhere with her.

    This March when Lucy was killed, we ordered six more chicks from MPC and at five weeks put them out in a run where Betty could not get to them (she was still free-ranging). At eight weeks we introduced the baby chicks to Betty Lou and they are now co-habitating very nicely in the run/coop (no more free-ranging due to current predator conditions).

    We have a total of three chickens right now setup in a 32 sq. ft coop & 272 sq. ft run (our original coop design had some fatal flaws thus the reduction from 6 chicks to 2). The chicks pretty much keep away from Betty but they will all sleep in the same coop as well as eat together; I have only seen Betty peck the roo ONCE. (He got a little too close the first day). It may be due to the ample space but we have had *no* problems with the babies and adult living together.
  5. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    I have chicks and chickens and ducks and ducklings of all ages cohabitating without any fighting or pecking or killing of one another. In fact two days ago someone dropped off 5 "Easter Chicks" they no longer wanted. After leaving them in a cage for one day inside coop I let them out and while a few of my RIRs of same age initially chased them they could get away. After a day everyone's hanging out just fine. HOWEVER I believe the reason I have no real pecking order or problems that others have is that I let mine free range. I mean true free range - no fences - just open farm. If they have lots of room and aren't locked in coop or pen together or small run - they don't exhibit the kind of behavior that caged chickens do. So if you have them in a barn I'm betting they will be fine. The little ones are a lot faster than the older ones and learn quickly when to get out of old wet hen's way. A good time to introduce them is at feeding time in the evenings. The older ones come back to coop ready to eat and go to bed and don't really seem to pay any attention to young ones running around. By morning everyone is one big family.
  6. Red

    Red Songster

    Mar 17, 2007
    When we released both our new chickens to a pre-existing flock it wasn't pretty. The first one was only 10 weeks old (we were still fairly new to chickens and didn't know what we were doing [​IMG] ). Well, the chick coped pretty well, she had plenty of room in the garden and would fly up high to escape from the others when it got too much. It took maybe a few weeks to get her integrated into the flock.

    Our second hen was an escaped battery hen who we found in a friend's garden. We kept her in a small cage beside the other chickens so they would get used to her, then put her in with the others but still kept them seperated with mesh. We made sure they were sharing the same water dispenser, but they still couldn't get to each other.

    When we finally put them in together, there was a few days of nasty fighting and she was constantly being attacked. Sometimes i went in to help her out, but after a few days everything was back to normal and she had been accepted.

    I would wait until the 10 week olds are more or less the same size as the other hen, letting her see the chicks in their cage every day, and then try introducing them together again. There will be some fighting, just be on hand to help the chicks out if it seems necessary...and if there's any blood seperate them! Hope this helps [​IMG]
  7. Cetawin

    Cetawin Chicken Beader

    Mar 20, 2008
    NW Kentucky
    I know my 10 week old girls were not at all happy in seeing 5 one weeks old show up today. The low rumbles were heard, the glares and nasty looks were tossed around and the little ones are in a separate brooder in the same room beside the big girls. They can hear each other but now see each other right now. It is going to be interesting because these 10 week olds are spoiled rotten.

    And I have 21 more coming in late July. Oh it will get interesting I am sure. I would say leave them separated until the youngs ones are about the same size and able to defend themselves.

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