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Older Hens attacking chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Mdacta, May 5, 2016.

  1. Mdacta

    Mdacta New Egg

    May 5, 2016
    I have 2 adult leghorns and 1 Rhode island red. I have 2 Rhode Island chick and 2 red sexlinks. They leghorns keep pecking at the chicks. They don't share food or water. I'm not sure what to do. They have a large enclosure they share.
    Thanks for helping. [​IMG]
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    It is often not safe for chicks to be in with older, larger birds. Best to wait until the chicks are closer in size to your adult hens, maybe as long as 10-12 weeks.
  3. TheTwoRoos

    TheTwoRoos Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 25, 2015
    Just make sure thy have many water stations and feed areas.this is all part of the pecking order.How old are the chicks?
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    How did you introduce the new chicks?
    How much space(feet by feet) do they have?

    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    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. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    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 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.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders. If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  5. azygous

    azygous Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I had the same problem way back when I got my very first chicks and had just two adult adopted hens. The hens kept eating the chick food and the chicks couldn't get enough to eat. That's when I came up with the "panic room" idea.

    I rigged a small enclosure in a corner of the run with a couple of 5 x 7 openings and placed the chicks' food and water inside. They not only had a safe place to eat without being bullied by the adults, but they had a refuge where the hens couldn't reach them where they could go whenever they felt bullied.

    Over the years I refined the panic room and now have a special safe pen in the run for the chicks with access portals all over the run so the chicks can always quickly find their way back to safety. See my second link below this post for pictures of my run with these portals.

    A panic room means being able safely to integrate chicks as young as three weeks without having to wait months until they become the same size as the adults.
  6. Mdacta

    Mdacta New Egg

    May 5, 2016
    I think their about 10 weeks old maybe 8 no less. They have a baby pool of water and then another of chick feed and scratch feed. The chicks were in another area and the white ones seemed interested so once they got big enough and they all seemed interested we put them together but now there is a problem. The run their in is probably 15x18 and 12ft tall. There is plenty of space and running plus flying room. I put the chicks good and water stations in with but the adults take over and attack reguardless. I have to go stand out with the babies at least 5 times per day so they can eat. And even when I'm in there the adults just won't give up..
  7. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    It sounds like they would be better off separated, until the young birds are closer in size to your adults.
  8. Mdacta

    Mdacta New Egg

    May 5, 2016
    Once around the same size will they stop?
  9. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Overrun With Chickens

    The younger birds will be better able to either defend themselves or run away. When you do try again, have several sources of food and water spread around to allow the youngsters to eat and drink.

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