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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have 9 chicks (probably splitting the batch 3/6 with my friend) that I want to integrate into a small flock of 3 hens. I built a small outdoor run for the chicks so they and the adults can observe each-other during the day. To encourage bonding, I put a platter of treats underneath the wire so they can both access it, which they did. After a few days of this, I tried putting the most submissive hen inside and they all react with varying amounts of aggression if not total disinterest (I.E the nicer one will warn the chick first before pecking.) This is mostly expected, but when is the aggression supposed to stop? Just looking at the them, it doesn't seem like they're going to share a head of broccoli at any point. The chicks just avoid the hen which makes me worried they're not integrating and learning to keep doing on their own.

I've read most of the things that every online article recommends, such as:
  • The more mature the birds are, the easier time they'll have. (I'm not keeping them in my house until they're adults, thank you.)
  • Provide chick-sized hiding spots (Did that. They also have space to avoid them entirely)
  • Sneak them inside the coop during the night (This sounds risky because i'm going to be asleep and could miss the opportunity to intervene if the hen wakes up and starts trying to kill the chicks)
  • Minimum of 3 (I have 9)

What would you recommend I do? One thought i had is that the submissive hen could be nicer, but may not be able to protect her adopted chicks from the others, making it more ideal long-term to put them in with the roostery hen that I have. What do you think?

· Administrator
25,039 Posts
There is a time to establish hierarchy. That's what you're seeing. Even the more docile hen will let the peeps know she's boss over them. Let her. If she's not drawing blood then things will settle.

She probably won't protect them. Again, it's the hierarchy thing that they go through. The others will also be letting them know they are bottom of the pecking order. Literally.

If no blood is shed. If the peeps have their own feeding station then they will work it out.

· Premium Member
3,799 Posts
I've added grown chicks (pullets) into a coop at night without any issues from the adult hens. When you let them out of the coop the next morning, the hens think the newbies were in the coop with them the whole time and are part of the flock.
However, the older hens will re-establish the pecking order when it comes to eating and drinking, and where to roost at night on the perches right around or just after sunset.
When you put the younguns in the coop at night, the grown birds wont pick on the newbies because they cant see in the dark, unless you have a light on inside the coop, which I dont recommend.
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