Younger chicks aren't joining flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Jeremy J, May 19, 2017.

  1. Jeremy J

    Jeremy J Just Hatched

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    Hey all! I am hoping you have some advice. We have two flocks that need to become one. :)

    We have a group of 6 chicks that are about 14 weeks old. We added 3 more chicks 3 weeks after the first set. We kept all of them in dog crate brooders next to each other until the older ones went outside at 8 weeks. Then we started moving the younger chicks to an outside brooder during the day so the older chicks could get to know them. When the younger chicks were 8 weeks, we moved them to an outside brooder full time in the run with the others. We close them up at night but let them all interact all day. The older ones pick on the younger ones so they tend to hide under a rabbit hutch. They do come out some so they aren't terrified but they aren't joining the flock. We knew it would take some time but it isn't happening so far. Is there something we're missing here? Should we just start putting the little ones in the coop with the big ones at night or keep waiting for them to all get along better?

    I wanted to add that I am reading the topic of the week but often these discussions are about adding younger chicks to adult. I am wondering if there are differences.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017
  2. dpenning

    dpenning Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    As long as there is no blood drawn I would say go ahead and put them all in together. When I integrate new birds, they stay as separate flocks within the flock for up to six months. I have two roosts so one group would be on one roost, the other would stay together on the other roost. Eventually they all intermingle on the roosts and such but it takes quite a while. There will be some natural scuffling for pecking order.
     
  3. Jeremy J

    Jeremy J Just Hatched

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    Thanks for the reply. No blood just a lot of pecking. As I read that long thread about this, i see others had the same issue. It's good to know that they may take a long time to roost together. Our coop has two roosts that are about 8 feet long each. There's plenty of room in there.

    I am a little concerned about the younger ones getting in the coop. It is elevated. To keep our rabbits out of it, the ramp is off the ground. The older chicks just jump up but there is a roost in front so it is two short jumps. I have seen the younger cockeral go up there but not the other younger pullets. I know they could go up there if they wanted. I guess when I put them in it at night for a few nights, they'll get the hang of it.
    20170519_115035.jpg
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Beware of projecting your own human social expectations onto your chickens. Their social structures are quite different from our human ones.

    Your chicks, though separated by three weeks, should be on parity by now as far as size and other abilities. Separating themselves into two social units is normal chick behavior. They tend to bond to their brooding mates and this lasts for life.

    It's time to allow the two age groups to merge, and you will see they will sort things out. It's called the pecking order, as mean as it can appear to us at times. The younger ones will naturally defer to the older chicks and to adult chickens. This is how a flock organizes itself.

    The chicken social order is constantly in flux, so don't expect things to become stabilized by our human standards. You can expect pecking, chasing, occasional mean acts of bullying, and rarely, a physical altercation where feathers flare and fly as one individual challenges another for a change in rank. Try not to interfere. It will be over with in seconds as a rule.

    Your youngest chicks should have no trouble getting up that ramp and into the coop. Chicks as young as two or three weeks are able to achieve the necessary lift with their newly developing wing feathers to get onto increasingly higher surfaces.
     
  5. dpenning

    dpenning Chillin' With My Peeps Premium Member

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    You may have to put them to bed at night a few times and let them find their own way out in the morning. Eventually they will figure it out.

    So are the bunnies and chickens good roommates?
     
  6. Jeremy J

    Jeremy J Just Hatched

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    The bunnies and chickens get along fine. The chicks were a little scared at first but now they all just ignore each other. Every once in a while a bunny runs over a chick if it isn't paying attention but there haven't been any fighting.

    Thanks for the long reply azygous. One of the new chicks is a Silkie and she doesn't get as much lift as the others but she can easily get on that roost. It is a short hop to the ramp from there. :)

    As for size, the younger ones are starting to catch up. the Silkie is bigger than a few of the older ones and looks to fit in. The other two (a pullet and a cockeral) are d'uccle and are a little smaller. They are finally starting to chow signs of catching up to the smallest of the older flock.

    Here is a pic of the younger three for fun. You can see where they sleep in the background. One of the bunnies is in the trying to eat all the food.
    20170518_201124.png
     

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