Too soon to introduce? VIDEO

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by equinelyn, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 5 young chickens I want to introduce to my 4 older hens. Is 7-8 weeks too young? They have been in pens next to each other for 2 weeks now.

    The other day I put them together, closely monitored and there wasn't any chasing down and abusing but they certainly did peck(mainly the big hen at the bottom of the totem pole did, I think she was trying to seize the opportunity to gain some pecking order)

    They were only together for about 20 min before the babies went back into their safe pen. What should I do? Keep them apart for a while longer? I just worry because 2 of the babies are silky's and they are pretty small.

    I have a video too I can post. It was a hot day so could they have been calmer than normal? Also we put the babies in a guinea pig cage at night, and set the cage in the coop with the hens so they sleep together.

    Babies on left and 2 adults on right
    [​IMG]



    Here is the link to the video

     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2011
  2. BantamoftheOpera

    BantamoftheOpera Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would like to know people's thoughts on this. I originally needed a rooster to do crowd control, but didn't want one that would scrape up my girls so I decided on a silkie. Then I got worried about introducing him alone to the flock when he gets to be 7-10 weeks or so. Naturally chicken math has set in and I'm getting two hens to add with him when the time comes. Anxious to see what people tell you. Nice flock by the way
     
  3. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thank you. See how small the silky's look? They hold their own amongst the babies. I'm just worried about my bottom hen. I will post a vid.
     
  4. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    ok I got the video. Is this too aggressive on the americauna's part? Or is she just being a bully?

    Here is the link again
     
  5. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What age is the average to introduce the babies to the adults?
     
  6. maggiegigs

    maggiegigs Out Of The Brooder

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    They should be the same size...or laying. Your's are still too young. Your introducing trouble.
     
  7. lebentier

    lebentier Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i started introducing my babies at 6 weeks...
    week 1-babies' cage in the big girls' pen all afternoon
    week 2-babies out in pen with big girls 15 mins day 1 and 2, 30 mins day 3, etc...
    week 3-babies "cooped up" with big girls 15 mins day 1 and 2, 30 mins day 3, etc..
    each day my "large and in charge" hen got a little more used to the babies and there was less chasing and pecking. by week 4 i was ready to let them all live together. my best friend (much more experienced with chickens than i am) thinks i am silly. she just cages the babies off for a couple of weeks then thows them in at about 8 weeks old and makes them fend for themselves. my method is more to relieve my own anxiety than that of the chicks, i guess...but i am happy i do it.
     
  8. equinelyn

    equinelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I brought the Americauna's in at 4 months old, and that was 2 months ago. They settled in well. But these guys are younger so I wasn't sure. They are in their own pen but can still see each other again. I think I'm going to wait several more weeks. Will the silky's ever grow to be the same size as them?
     
  9. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's kind of a judgment call, but I usually introduce my babies into the flock when they are about six weeks old-- a lot smaller than yours. (Sometimes younger if they have a mother hen to look out for them.) They are going to be low ranking until they reach full size. that's a given. The silkies may always be the lowest ranked in your flock because of their size. It looks to me like Emerald is just being territorial and establishing rank. Is she your dominant hen? Most of the conflict is food related, so if you;re concerned, you might isolate them for feeding times and let them mingle the rest of the time, if that's feasible. Introducing them at night is said to help, as is putting the new chicks into the main pen FIRST for a while before letting the big chickens back in (gives the the little ones a chance to get comfortable, and a home-territory edge in the ranking system). But in a nutshell I think they should be plenty old enough to be mixed. Good luck!
     
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    This is a long write-up I did on this subject. It might help you understand what is probably going on. I think your integration is going great, but it is a judgment call on your part. Nice idea to show the video.

    Good luck!


    You'll get different opinions on here because many of us do it different ways. To me, a lot depends on how much room they have and how you manage them. I know it does not help you any, but this is mainly why I am always glad for a hen to go broody. She takes care of this for me. It can be a dangerous time. But yours are not broody raised chicks.

    I'll go through a long explanation of the behavior, then tell you some about what I do, but if my circumstances are different from yours, you probably cannot do it like I do it. Hopefully you can pick up something beneficial from my post though.

    Part of it depends on your chicken's personality. They are living animals with their own personality. No one can truly predict what an individual chicken will do, but we can tell you what we have observed. Some flocks have a chicken that seeks out to destroy any new weaker chicken. Young chicks certainly quality, but it could be any aged chicken you add to the flock. Usually this is a hen, not a rooster. My roosters have always protected or ignored the young members of the flock, but that does not mean yours will. Sometimes a rooster may see them as a threat to his flock instead of an addition, but usually it is a hen with the dangerous attitude.

    Many flocks do not have chickens that will seek out and destroy a weaker chicken. That does not mean you are safe. There are still the pecking order issues. Maturity has a whole lot to do with the pecking order until they all reach maturity. Mature chickens will dominate immature chickens. Think about it as chicken etiquette. It is bad manners for a chicken lower in the pecking order to invade the personal space of a more dominant chicken. In chicken society, the more dominant chicken has the right and the expectation that they will enforce their dominant rights or lose them. If dominance is clear, the dominant chicken will peck, the less dominant is intimidated and runs away, and everything is again calm and peaceful. If dominance is not settled, they can fight to decide which one is dominant. Sometimes you have the seek out and destroy types who chase the weaker ones, but if the weaker has room to run away, this usually does not happen. But if the weaker one does not have room to run away or gets trapped against a fence or in a corner, the dominant one gets indignant and is determined to teach this challenger a lesson, even if the challenger is trying to run away. That is why having enough room is important.

    Food, and to a lesser extent water, is another way for a dominant chicken to enforce its dominance. The dominant chickens will often keep the less dominant away from the food, sometimes to the point that the weaker chicken can suffer from malnutrition. I keep two separate feeding stations available anyway, but when I integrate brooder raised chicks, I add a third and make sure they are well separated.

    Bedtime is the time that I have seen mine be the most vicious about enforcing their pecking order, personal space, rights. This is not during integration but after they are fully integrated. Pecking order is something different.

    I keep my brooder in the coop from day 1. I have a 3' x 5' brooder mainly made out of wire but with a good draft guard and I keep one area in the recommended temperature range. I let the far corners cool off as they will, usually around 20 to 30 degrees cooler than the heated spot. They normally spend most of the first two days under the heat, but after that they play all over, only going back to the heat when they need to. They do sleep under the heat. After they fully feather out, usually around 4 to 5 weeks, I take away the supplemental heat and take them out of the brooder. I then have a space for the adults and the chicks that is separate but where they can see each other. I let the adults free range (no fences so they have a lot of room) but keep the chicks in an enclosure until they are about 8 weeks old. At this time, I figure they are big enough to not be such hawk magnets and start letting them free range. I alternate it, the adults free range one day and the chicks the next day. They have separate sleeping areas and do not sleep together.

    After about a week of them alternating, I let them out at the same time. The chicks very quickly learn to stay away from the adults, but my adults do not go after the chicks. If their personal space if invaded, my hens will peck to enforce their pecking order rights. I've never seen my rooster do that, but he also does not get involved unless an actual fight breaks out. Then he breaks it up. These fights are when the chicks are old enough to try to establish pecking order rights, usually around 15 weeks old. My younger chicks just try to run away. I let them decide where they will sleep at night. Usually around 11 to 12 weeks, the chicks move in with the adults and start roosting. Until then they sleep in a pile on the floor. When they first start sleeping together, I make it a point to open the pop door as soon as they wake up so the younger ones are not trapped in the coop with the older ones. After about a week, I can stop worrying so much about that. They can normally stay in the coop with the adults without too much danger. The younger ones stay on the roost out of the way and the older ones roam the floor where the food and water is. I have a large coop so the young ones can get away from the older ones, at least to a point.

    I think I can do it this way because I have a large coop, a large run, and I let them free range a lot. If your space is tighter, then you might have a real problem doing it this way. I'm also around during the day to watch them, but in reality after I let them out, I don't do much. It just makes me feel better if I am here. I have a fairly laidback flock with a rooster that helps broody hens raise their chicks and hens that ignore the chicks unless personal space is invaded. My circumstances are probably different yours, but hopefully you can pick something useful from all this.

    Sometimes it is so easy you wonder why you were worried and sometimes it is a disaster. Good luck!!!
     

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