Anyone who has chickens will tell you that mature hens will not always accept babies and that you should never put fuzzy peeps in with them because the chances that they'll kill them are pretty high. Introducing new chickens of any age into an established flock is a touchy matter. Such is the nature of chickens.
The peeps are a month old now and have been exposed to the hens for over 2 weeks. The hens have been able to get very close to the peeps and check them out. I've kept them penned safely during the day in an enclosure made of a circle of chicken wire - very cheap and portable! At night they slept in a cage in the chicken coop where both peeps and hens could see and hear each other. I've been watching the two generations interact, waiting for the time when both parties tell me they're ready to be put together. Yesterday was that day. I put the peeps on the floor of the coop in the evening with their heat lamp. The hens came in and got a good look at the peeps in "their" coop but no one attacked. The peeps ventured out into the run (Miss Prissy was first-that's her eyeballing the camera in the first photo) and had a blast running around, flapping their wings and scratching in the dirt. The hens were a bit put off by all their silly shenanigans but no one attacked. Lily did have to establish some boundaries but it only took a few seconds for the peeps to understand what she was not willing to tolerate.
The day has gone very well for the chickens. I kept the gate shut on the run so that they were forced to spend the day together. It's a bit cool today so the peeps stayed inside the coop. Each time I went out to check for eggs they were busy doing something: napping, dust bathing, eating or staring out the hen door.
Dorothy, a Speckled Sussex, watching the hens scratch in the fresh grass clippings.
Peeps dust bathing in the corner. (Two Barred Plymouth Rocks, one Speckled Sussex, one Delaware, one golden Campine and one Welsummer.)
Go ahead, stick your hand in there and check for eggs. I dare ya! What you're missing is the horrible dinosaur-like screech she's making.
Don't let Ollie fool ya. She's just very hormonal right now. She even puffs up and screeches if you walk too closely to her in the yard. I'm expecting her to go broody any day now. Currently she sits on the nest half the day just to lay an egg, which is definitely not normal for her.
When I check under her for eggs I always stroke her back first, then put my hand under her. She never pecks. I don't think Ollie has ever pecked me, as a matter of fact.