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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I heard a racket in the utility room where I raise the baby chicks, so the dog and I went to check on them and walked in to find this:

Sink Dog Plumbing fixture Tap Floor


Bird Dog Phasianidae Galliformes Beak


They've been jumping out for a few days now, but usually they're aren't quite so bold to stand up to the dog or fly up to the chest freezer. I do suspect the one facing off with the dog is a rooster, or she's going to be a particularly assertive hen. We'll see, I guess, but she's the leader of the group. I think she's one of the Speckled Sussex, or a Prairie Bluebell Egger. The black one on the freezer is either one of the Midnight Majesty Marans or a Barred Rock, probably. Yes, the dog is licking his lips and likely wondering if he can get away with chewing on one. Though he is trustworthy with the adults, the chicks he does not have access to unsupervised, haha!

These guys are three weeks old on Tuesday, and usually when they start escaping I move them outside to the little grow out coop with their heat plate. They're nice and secure from the adult chickens and predators, but get to enjoy more space and the outdoors. Unfortunately, we're having a late snow storm and it's been well below our average temps for April. Usually we're in the 60s with dropping to the 30s at night, but we're in the 30s and dropping into the teens overnight, and it looks to be that way for the next week and a half. And, the lid for the tank was left outside last fall for whatever reason and is frozen under a snow bank, haha! Poor planning on my part, I suppose.

I just hope the weather improves. There are 14 of them and they're getting too big and athletic for the tank!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The temps have finally returned to somewhat normal, but it appears that it's going to be a wet year. I was able to move the babies outside to their grower coop, though they haven't been enjoying it very much because it's been raining.

Mesh Wood Road surface Wire fencing Plant


Usually when they're moved outside the chicks stay inside the coop for at least a day and don't dare venture outside, but these chicks started exploring the outdoors almost immediately. They are a week older than when I usually send them out, though.

Wood Plant Door Wall Rectangle




























In about another week when they destroy the grass here I'll attached another pen to this little coop so they can do some more exploring. This area is unfortunately a bit soggy with all the water, too, so hopefully it dries out a bit. It's one of those things about raising chicks in the spring, but I want them self-sufficient by summer so we can leave for a weekend and not worry about them!


Bird Phasianidae Chicken Beak Galliformes


They're shaping up to be a pretty good new group of chickens. They will be 5 weeks old on Tuesday. The older girls don't seem impressed, but they never are, haha! When they're between 8 and 12 weeks old (depending on their size) I open a small gap in the pen so the littles can start free ranging with the older girls but can escape back into their enclosure if the bigs are being too nasty. After a few days of this the littles are usually ready to go to the big coop with the bigs, and after another few days of teaching them to roost and making sure they go to the correct coop at night they'll be pretty self-sufficient! The goal is to have them integrated with the existing flock by 12 weeks, but usually I've been able to do it by 8 weeks. This is the largest group I've done, so I don't anticipate the bigs being incredibly horrible bullies and having to go far beyond that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, I've found transitioning them into the big coop goes pretty smoothly when the bigs have been seeing them every day for four or more weeks, and being together outside the enclosed coop/run first where everyone has space to retreat makes the pecking order business less brutal. Then when I think they're all pretty used to each other I slip the littles into the coop after dark. No bloodshed or serious problems thus far!

But, I'm also fortunate to have the space and extra coop to do it, not to mention the insane amount of lumber and chicken wire the previous owners of our property left behind. I built most of this stuff for free, other than the cost of the screws and staples and things. The extra coop is a cheap Tractor Supply thing that we purchased from a neighbor who tried chickens and didn't like it. It's a little beat up, so I imagine I'll have to build a replacement in the next few years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Baby chicks got their big pen about a week ago. They're enjoying the extra space and growing quickly.

Plant Plant community Bird Vertebrate Vegetation


All of this nice fresh grass was mowed down in about 2 days, so now it's just bare earth, haha.

Bird Phasianidae Plant Chicken Comb


Here's the older hens checking them out. The ISA Brown in the front there is one of the meanest hens, so she was trying to peck the babies through the wire when they got too close.

Plant Phasianidae Chicken Beak Comb


Oh, and here's the grass almost mowed down about a day later. The rooster is already talking to them and seems interested in his new ladies. I had suspicions one was a rooster, but I think they're all hens this time. I'm pretty sure the roos would be pretty apparent by now.

Bird Plant Beak Phasianidae Fence


They were 7 weeks old on Tuesday, so I'm guessing maybe another week or two in this pen until they're of a size with the older ladies. I'm always amazed with how quickly they grow. This picture was taken maybe 3 days ago, and they've already put on more height and weight since then!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Integration has begun! I don't think it's going to go quite as smoothly as I was hoping, unfortunately. The older hens have barely flapped a wing at the new littles in their midst...barely even bothered to chase them...but Kyle the rooster, on the other hand....he's being a bit of a turd. Nothing horrific, just chasing, pecking, and then a blood curdling scream from the littles. No blood, no injuries, but watching it all unfold is always a bit difficult. Their "pain" is mostly noise...they make the same horrible sound when I pick them up as gently as I can :ROFLMAO:

Kyle mostly lets them be, at least. He'll only get after them when they wander too close, and they quickly learned to steer clear. They had plenty of time to do some exploring and scratching at the ground.

Bird Plant Beak Grass Groundcover


Kyle never seems to bother the two Buff Orpington girls, but they're pretty good at hiding in the first place.

Plant Bird Phasianidae Beak Galliformes


Bird Beak Fence Phasianidae Accipitridae


This one is kind of brat and consequently gets chased a lot...I have spotted her giving the rooster some side eye.

Bird Plant Branch Beak Tree


Bird Beak Galliformes Wood Feather


Flower Plant Bird Botany Beak


I hope Kyle settles down over the next few days...I was hoping to get them into the big coop before Memorial Day weekend is over, but if they need another week they need another week.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
She is one of the Prairie Bluebell Eggers, a mix of Araucana and White Leghorn. I have two, and the other one is a very pretty cream color. I'll have to snag a picture of her, she's a little shy.

I wasn't expecting Kyle to be very interested! It didn't seem to his personality type...he's very laid back.This is the first time I've had an adult rooster for new flock member integrations (aside from his own), and my understanding was they don't usually care overly much. But this time its the hens who don't really care, and Kyle doing all the pecking order crap! The most the hens have done is chasing a curious chick for two steps, and a bit of side eye.

They'll be mostly together for the rest of the weekend, so we'll see how it goes. They're free ranging where I can keep an eye on them and where the littles have plenty of hiding places. Kyle doesn't seem interested in chasing them when there is food to be had and stuff to scratch.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, good idea. I'll have to do that if he doesn't want to play nice.

Today, it seems the hens have become a little more assertive, though still quite mild, and Kyle has taken a step back. He does appear to be warming up to them and accepting them as part of the flock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I did end up separating Kyle for two days. He was still being rather a big turd, and though he wasn't drawing blood, he was being too much of a bully for my taste. It seems to have done the trick! The entire flock is now under "Coop Arrest" and limited to just the coop and run so the littles get used to their new digs and learn to go inside at night. Though the pecking order business is still in full swing, it's what I consider a normal amount of bullying and nasty hens. Kyle is mostly ignoring the littles, squawking in indignation when they're being too loud. Though they haven't been too nasty about chasing away from food and water, I've set up extra feeding and watering stations, as well as moved some things around so the littles can hide if needed.

So, now it's probably going to be a few days of making sure all the littles get into the coop and up in the roosts on time, and then they won't need quite so much help from me all the time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Just a bit of a funny story, last night I was checking on the chickens before bed/getting the littles to roost, and I noticed one of the littles was missing. Determined it was this one:
Bird Beak Galliformes Wood Feather

Went out looking for her. Checked all the spots she likes to hang out. Looked around for feathers thinking maybe she got taken in the last hour since I last saw her...nothing. I gave up, thinking she was either whisked away by a predator or had found her way into the trees where I would never find her in the dying light.

I went to close up the coop, and on a whim, looked up...and there she was. Looking down at me from the rafters which are ten feet up (the coop is an old granary) like "What doin'?" I had no idea she could get that high, but I guess the thought should have occurred to me in the first place!
 

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Yes, I've found transitioning them into the big coop goes pretty smoothly when the bigs have been seeing them every day for four or more weeks, and being together outside the enclosed coop/run first where everyone has space to retreat makes the pecking order business less brutal. Then when I think they're all pretty used to each other I slip the littles into the coop after dark. No bloodshed or serious problems thus far!

But, I'm also fortunate to have the space and extra coop to do it, not to mention the insane amount of lumber and chicken wire the previous owners of our property left behind. I built most of this stuff for free, other than the cost of the screws and staples and things. The extra coop is a cheap Tractor Supply thing that we purchased from a neighbor who tried chickens and didn't like it. It's a little beat up, so I imagine I'll have to build a replacement in the next few years.
Can you help me regarding my new 8 weeks chicks?
Brought them home last Monday. Due to heat, I put them out in the enclosure with my 8 mos ladies. The ladies chewed me out for bringing them in but left them alone for the most part. I did see Yolko chase and peck the babies but thought it was normal. The 1st night they slept in the run. The next few days, I had them separated but a makeshift blockade that allowed them to roam but yet provided security. I then started putting them to sleep in their coop hoping that they would recognize it as home. Today, was a storm day. I put all the ladies together only to find my babies eating in the run. I brought them in and dried them off and will keep them in for the night.
My plan was to take them out daily and let them free range in a enclosed area. Would it be ok to continue to put them in the coop? Should I wait until they become more acclimated?
 
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