Older Pullets Pecking at Youngsters

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JenniferK, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. JenniferK

    JenniferK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have three 9 or 10-month old pullets that are going after the two 8-week old "babies" we're trying to introduce. We moved the babies into the hen house in a small enclosure under a heat lamp, but ultimately they need to be able to roam in the hen house/run just like the rest of the bunch. The problem is that every time we let them out in the yard together for some "free range" time, the three older girls go straight for the little ones and peck at them. Is there anything we can do to discourage this? Will the little ones ever be safe?
     
  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    It is normal for them to peck and scare and harass untill a pecking order is established. However, 8 weeks with essentially adults is generally a no no as the 8 weeks are often not big enough or brave enough to defend themselves. Early intro's are good, but generally, it is recommended they are at least 4 months old or the same size before integration. Good luck.
     
  3. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    They are establishing the PECKING ORDER. Sorry for the pun but it is true. 8 week olds aren't mature enough to stand up to your older hens. Another 3 - 4 weeks and they will be. Keeping them in the coop was a good idea. Now it is just time and supervision.
     
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Obviously silkie types faster than I do!!!!
     
  5. JenniferK

    JenniferK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You were both very speedy [​IMG]

    Thanks for the input. We'll continue to keep them separate until there is not such a size advantage. I think one of the little ones may be a rooster, which opens a whole other can of worms, but maybe that will give him a little more of a chance against the older girls...
     
  6. hcammack

    hcammack Overrun With Chickens

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    will my 11 week old pullets be ok with my 16 week old pullets? I am going to try and intorduce them either this weekend of next weekend when I can provide supervision.
    henry
     
  7. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    I would never put chicks that young in with mature chickens. They aren't big enough to defend themselves until at least 16 weeks of age. Let them out at separate times, not together. When they are getting to be about the same size, and since they have been in contact with one another, then turn them out together. There will be some squabbles and upsets but they will work it out and the younger chicks have a chance to work it out on equal ground.
     

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