Pecking order when introducing new chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ChickMandy, Jul 10, 2011.

  1. ChickMandy

    ChickMandy Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 7, 2011
    Amaranth Ontario
    We have three hens about 32wks old as well as eight chicks that are almost 11wks. About two weeks ago, we put the chicks in the coop, secured in a brooder box so they were safe and the hens could see and hear them. When the hens are out in the yard, the chicks have the run of the coop. We don't have an outdoor run just yet, so the chicks don't get out much (they run like mad and are so hard to catch!).

    The chicks are getting too big for the brooder box, and we think it's time to integrate them with the other three. The few times we've left them out in the coop with the older girls, they hide away on top of the box (or in the box) as the older ones will go after them. I realize there is a pecking order to be established between the lot, but how much is too much? The last thing we want is for it to get out of control while we're not around.

    There is one hen in particular who is the lowest of the three hens, and she seems to be the one most determined to peck at the chicks. When we got the hens from the hatchery at 19wks, this particular hen had her beak trimmed quite low. I now think she was debeaked, perhaps for continuous pecking.

    In addition to this, we have one chick who is lame. We're not quite sure what happened to her (though my DH suspect he may have hit her with something accidentally) but she limps and isn't growing as well as the others. She is a prime target for the older ones.

    Is it safe to just take the box away and let things happen as they will?
     
  2. ericnash

    ericnash Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 13, 2011
    I read that they need 3 weeks. It sounds like you are doing a GREAT job and being patient. I would give it more time and leave them in the brooder if there is sufficient room for another week.
     
  3. ChickMandy

    ChickMandy Out Of The Brooder

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    39
    Jun 7, 2011
    Amaranth Ontario
    I just counted the weeks on the calendar, and it will be three this Wednesday. I think they can wait a few more days. Where did you read it was three weeks to get used to each other?
     

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