chicks with big hens?

lady_nikki(z6OK)June 15, 2009

I have two grown black orp hens that live very nicely together. I bought three heavy chicks, supposed to be pullets, who are now about 2 months old. I was also given a 3-month old orp roo. The four immature birds live together pretty well.

I have been giving them their daily "afternoon stroll" (being out of the pen for an hour or so) at the same time and the hens pretty much ignore the young ones.

The plan is to have the whole gang live together in the 8 x 12 pen the two hens are currently in.

I don't want anyone getting pecked to death but wonder when they can safely be integrated.



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johanna_h(Z5 SW MI)

I recently incorporated my 8 week old chicks into the pen with my adult hens. For a few days I would only let them run together while I was there to oversee things, but then I just left the babies' door open. I think it's important that the babies have somewhere to escape to if they need to get out of the way -- the adults won't necessarily peck them, but will kind of ignore them to the point that they walk right through them!

The babies have not yet ventured outside with the adults, they seem to view the hatch door with great awe and respect! I'm waiting for that next step to happen.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 1:39PM
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velvet_sparrow(Zone 5b, Gardnerville, NV)

They are certainly old enough to run all together. Here is the 'Meet & Greet' technique I use, it works for me:

Velvet ~:>

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 4:40PM
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I hope you can upload some photos.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 1:08PM
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Dear Gardenlover -
No, as a matter of fact, I can't. I use a public computer and there are things we are not allowed to do.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2009 at 3:55PM
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zootjs(zone 5 MA)

The trick is food, though. Ideally, the older ones would be on layer pellets and the younger ones on starter/grower.

And I've actually been wondering about this, as my 3-month old chicks moved in with the grown-ups, by begin persistent about jumping a fence, and lately I've given in, letting them all eat the same thing, which I know isn't supposed to be a good idea. They get along nicely, though.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:31PM
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When I introduce chicks to the henhouse, I put them in a cage with wire wide enough to let the chicks go in and out, but keep the mature fowl out. The chicks know pretty quickly if they run back into the cage, they're safe. I keep the tiny waterer in the cage and chick feed and it keeps the old gals out of the baby ration. I do not use antibiotic chick feed, but if you do then it's also a good way to keep your layers out of the drugs, so the eggs aren't tainted.

Usually I'll have one or two broody hens who 'adopt' the new chicks anyhow, and sometimes a rooster will literally take them under wing. The babies end up abandoning their safety cage and I'll find them all stuffed around a hen or roo in the morning. LOL. They will, as teenager chicks, get an occasional peck and learn they are at the very bottom of the pecking order. Funny thing is, roos seem to know that the chicks are to be protected. I get more grief from the hens than the roos when I put chicks in.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2009 at 10:29PM
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