Old chickens mixed with young
Old chickens mixed with young: I have 2 full grown 3 year old laying hens. My wife and daughter don't want to get rid of them.
I am getting 12 new chicks.
Question : After the chicks are taken from the incubator and are fully feathered , ..........will the 2 older hens attack them ?Answer
I never like to mix the old and the very young. It can be an accident waiting to happen. Sometimes an older hen will adopt young ones and be kind, but there are no guarantees.
I make it a rule not to introduce young birds to older ones until the younger are nearly full grown.
You haven’t said what kind of set up you have, but the more area you have, the better the introduction might go. Chickens are territorial and can see new comers as intruders and try to run them off.
If in a confined area, the new comers may be assaulted mercilessly. Additional feeding stations may help and cut down on protection of the food source. Throwing lots of scratch and treats can distract.
If you have room, you might consider introducing the new group in a large cage or protected pen within the existing set up.
This would allow the older hens to get used to the presence of the new ones while not being able to bully them.
The social structure of a chicken flock (even 2) requires a certain amount of posturing for dominance and good pecking order.
Some chickens get carried away with the pecking. In a natural setting chicks would be introduced to the flock by their mother, be protected by her, and given her status in the group.
One thing you might try is removing the 2 mature hens for at least a week and allowing the new group to “own” your chicken area.
Then introduce the older birds one at a time and see how it goes. With the new group feeling confident in their area, this may persuade better acceptance.
I would introduce the least dominant mature hen first and let her bond with the group (hopefully). When returning the more dominant hen, she may just assume that these young birds belong to the other and leave them be.
How ever you do it, I highly recommend face to face introductions be done when you have hours to keep an eye on them. Hope this helps!Return to Raising Chickens Home Page