Putting a single 1yr old hen in with four 8 week old chicks? *UPDATE*

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Nonny, Feb 12, 2012.

  1. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have two adult hens and four chicks but one of the adults is very ill and I expect she won't survive beyond today.

    My question is, what can I do with the remaining adult? Is it too soon to do an intensive "getting to know you" session to try and integrate her into the coop with the babies in the next couple of weeks so she has company, or will she just have to tough it out by herself for another couple of months until they're closer to her size?

    So far I've been letting the big girls and babies eat treats (vege and fruit scraps) together once a day for about 15 minutes each time in the enclosed run while I'm there doing my chores and supervising, and there's a bit of pecking going on but nothing major. I had planned on continuing this every day as a way to get the little girls trained up to my "chook chook chook" treat call (so they'll be easier to catch once they get to free ranging in my yard), and also to get the girls all used to each other over a long time without opportunity to start sorting out the pecking order while the little ones were still too small.

    Is there a way I can safely fast track this now that I'm facing having a single bigger hen on her lonesome, or is it a dumb idea?
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2012
  2. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Well as predicted Tuppence didn't make it through the day so now Penny is all on her own in the small coop, and the four little girls are in the big coop.

    Does anyone have any tips on integrating them sooner rather than later?
     
  3. chookhead

    chookhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    the pecking wont be too bad because of the size difference because theres only one older female so i think u can do it if there are any major problems separted them and adding vinegar into their water sometimes helps because it makes them all smell the same
     
  4. cmfarm

    cmfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Birds can't smell very well.
     
  5. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Give it a try, but be prepared to intercede if necessary. Move the adult hen to the coop where the young birds are maintained - more neutral territory to her.
     
  6. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks. :) I guess I'll head in there today with a cuppa and a good book and sit myself down on a straw bale to keep an eye on things while they figure it out.

    Wish me luck!
     
  7. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Good luck, and give us an update.
     
  8. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So far, so good.


    I'm not intervening unless I see blood, so for now it's going well aside from a few lost feathers.

    I've set up the coop so there is an extra roost outside (it's an enclosed coop/run combination), put a bale of straw in there in such a way that the little chicks can hide behind it but the big girl can't get to them, and made sure there are two sets of food and water in there.

    So far Penny (the older one) is going out of her way to peck the littlies, but they are quite vocal when she does and they get out of her way pretty quickly. I also saw one of the chicks grab some food out form under Penny's beak and run off with it. LOL

    Oh, and here's a few pics :)
    [​IMG]



    [​IMG]

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    Last edited: Feb 14, 2012
  9. Nonny

    Nonny Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmmm.... it looks like Penny isn't letting them near the roost!

    This was taken as they were settling in for the night:


    [​IMG][​IMG]



    So I blocked off the nests, put the littlies on the roost, and checked on them later after dark, and here's what I saw:

    [​IMG]


    Some progress at least. :)
     
  10. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    From a distance it looks as if things are going rather well. [​IMG]
     

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