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To be or not to be - introducing chicks to hens

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jamiebartlett, May 21, 2007.

  1. jamiebartlett

    jamiebartlett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 19, 2007
    So, THis is what my coop looks like now...
    [​IMG]


    The house is 4 feet by 8 feet and the run is 8 feet by 12 feet. Currently my 6 week old chicks are in the house, in a 2 by 4 space that is divided by a screen door made out of mesh wire. There are 8 chicks in there and they are outgrowing their space. I hear from people that they cant be with the hens until they are eating layers feed or the same size.

    My husband thinks they should al just be able to roam together now that they have lived in the coop for 2 weeks.

    I don't feel like setting up the brooder hospital again, we had a horrible ordeal a couple weeks ago with pecking.

    My hubby and I are contemplating closing off a 4 by 8 section of the run to the left side with wire so that the hens cant get to the chicks. What type of temporary housing should I build to ensure they (chicks) stay warm enough?

    Any thoughts, ideas? We want to keep it inexpensive because it's a temporary thing.. Thanks for any ideas you have!!
     
  2. Poison Ivy

    Poison Ivy Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 2, 2007
    Naples, Florida
    You could use a dog house. I use the lid section of a large kitty litter box for my silkies right now. I filled it with hay they are 4 weeks old and they go in it at night and sleep.
    [​IMG]
     
  3. jamiebartlett

    jamiebartlett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    HOw many fit in that lid section? We have 8. Do they stay warm enough? They have all feathered out except for my roo, he's still got quite a bit of fuzz, he's a late bloomer. :-D It's been averaging 40 degrees at night and 50-70 during the day here in Washington State.
     
  4. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    Jan 11, 2007
    San Marcos, TX
    How about a LARGE dog carrier for the chicks ? Six week old standard size chicks will stay cozy with some deep shavings on the floor. As they get older, it may be too small though.

    In case of rain, I would also raise off the ground anything you put in their run for shelter. If water runs through it and soaks the bedding and chicks, they could get sick or worse.
     
  5. chicksnducks

    chicksnducks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 16, 2007
    Durant OK
    When I introduced four -two week old chickies to the flock, I followed the advice of someone at backyard chicks. I put the chicks in a small cage in with the big guys first...then the next day, I removed everything from the pen and let the little guys in to visit with the big ones. Today when I went out to see them, Rosabella was in a nest with the babies! It was so cute to see her with them like a mommy!
     
  6. jamiebartlett

    jamiebartlett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I tried introducing them today, opening the door since they have been in the same building for three weeks with just a screen door seperating them. IT didnt go well. The hens looked at them like predators and just went for the kill. Ok, maybe Im exaggerating, but they wouldnt give the poor chick that came out to visit a break, I had to intervene. They're 7 weeks old now. I'm feeling hopeless! Am I overprotective? They're outgrowing their small space of division and I want them to be able to come out to the run and enjoy the sun and scratch around like normal chicks do! Any ideas? [​IMG]
     
  7. jamiebartlett

    jamiebartlett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Anybody? Any new insights? Tried introducing again, not successful today again. [​IMG]
     
  8. allen wranch

    allen wranch Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

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    San Marcos, TX
    Are you introducing them in a large enough area that the chicks can escape if attacked? You might try adding some hiding places where the chicks can go, but the hens can't.

    You said earlier you were going to divide the run. Have you done that? Maybe the hens think the babies belong in the coop. If in a divided run, it might help them adjust to the kids being outside.

    Is there one particular hen that goes after the chicks? Could she be removed for a while so the others can adjust to them?
     
  9. jamiebartlett

    jamiebartlett Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hmm, now that's a thought.. It was one hen, then the otehrs followed in doing the same thing. Funny thing is that hen is one of the two that's the lower pecking order. I can't figure out which one is which on the very bottom. Trying to figure out how to divide the run inexpensively with scrap around the yard, its come to no avail. Didn't anticiapte the big hens not liking the little ones, there's so many positive experiences on this site. But then again, this hasn't exactly been my"year'" for chicks and hens! Whew! 2 of them are speckled sussexes, they will do ANYTHING to get into small spaces, and are quite crafty at it, i'll have to think of a way to make a small enough space that the chicks can go in, 1/2 of the speckled sussexs size. HMMM.. back to the thinking board!
     
  10. annp

    annp Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 25, 2007
    Well I tried introducing my 11 chicks yesterday to one of my hens, with disasterous results. I brought the hen to where the baby chicks were and put her on the ground about 4 feet away. She flew in the air and landed on one of the chicks---my only speckled sussex. I grabbed the hen immediately and took her back up to the house, then went back, expecting to find a baby with a pecked head. Instead I found the chick with its skin torn off from its head down to its shoulders all the way around its neck. It lived through the night but it can't possibly survive. Tough little baby. Be careful introducing birds. The entire attack took no more than one second.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2007

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