Traumatized chicks?


5 Years
Apr 2, 2017
My Coop
My Coop
I have a brooder full of 9, 7/8 week old chicks ameraucanas/silkies/Maran/polish that have been together now for 3 weeks and every one is happy and healthy. Today, I picked up 3 chicks that are maybe 3/4 weeks old just 15 mins down the road. The are about half the size of the older ones but I was told they should be fine, my brooder is big. So when I got them home from just a short car ride they all went limp and scared and they are lying down and haven't moved since. The older chicks didn't really know what to make of them and just peeped at them and a few pokes just to investigate. But these new chicks look so scared. So I separated them, and put the heat lamp on them and they are still able to see the older chicks.

New to chickens but when I brought home the older chicks in 2 separate batches, everything was fine with them when they got in the brooder. Am
I traumatizing my new chicks with larger chicks? Yikes. Not sure what to do here.

I should also add one shot out some watery poo. :(
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Personally I wouldn't be mixing new chicks and old ones as you never know if new ones could be sick. Can you isolate the new ones? I've even gone so far as to go to walmart and get a huge tote to separate chicks. Maybe add a little sugar water to the new chicks. are they eating and drinking?
It's too late now to quarantine. If the new chicks have brought any diseases into the flock, it's already been passed to the older chicks. Forget about it and hope for the best.

You may be new to chickens but you seem to have the right instincts. Your previous group tolerated age mixing because they were under the four-week threshold where chicks don't give a fig about newcomers. Now those older chicks are old enough to begin forming a social structure, and the new chicks are strangers, not yet accepted.

As for how the four-week olds feel, yes, they are terribly intimidated by the older chicks. Terrified, even. You handled it right by separating them with a see-no touch arrangement. Give the babies about a week of this and they will settle in and get to know the older chicks. You will see them interacting through the fencing and you will know when to try putting them together.

The younger ones will catch up in a few weeks, and they will gain self confidence in the meantime. You can help everyone get along by providing places of escape such as perches and old furniture to climb on. Even a tree branch with leaves on tossed into the run will provide cover for the wee ones. Don't forget multiple feeding and watering stations so everyone has a shot.
It's too late now to quarantine. If the new chicks have brought any diseases into the flock, it's already been passed to the older chicks. Forget about it and hope for the best.

Wouldn't it be "mostly" too late? I mean, if a chick or two in a single batch started acting sick, I'd separate them in hopes of maybe slowing down any transmission of disease.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to separate them. Might even be worth splitting up all the chicks into multiple brand new fresh brooders.

Granted, it may also be more practical to cross your fingers and see how things turn out. I'm just thinking through the possible ways one could choose to minimize harm if the new chicks have brought a disease into the flock.

Ok, so I wasn't giving you the full story... I know the chicks aren't sick because I saw them 2 days in a row at the breeders running around like chicks do acting totally normal. They were limp right out of the box after the drive, I think the car ride for whatever reason shook them up a lot. Coupled with the larger chicks they were probably like ummmm no lady, this is too much. I think their diarrhea is due to stress, they looked amazing when at the breeders and in a brooder with at least 15 others.

Anyways, they had maybe 3 mins tops together with the larger chicks before I knew the stress was too much and separated them. The still are sharing one side of their food bowl with the others so they can see and have access to smells etc.

Now, this morning when I went down to see them they were better. Not perfect. They were up(kind of squatty) and pecking at their crumbles. So I'm hopeful.

I'm at work but today I plan on separating the cockerels (that I'm trying to rehome anyways, anyone want some beautiful black ameraucanas? Lol) and putting the new chicks and the 2 older pullets, ones I will actually be keeping in together in a totally new brooder. How does this plan sound? Should I still keep the 2 larger ones that I'll be keeping separated?

Also, for the diarrhea should I do probiotics and electrolytes in their water?

Many thanks :)

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