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When to put new babies in with the grown birds?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I know this question has probably been asked already but I couldn't find it in the thread. When should I put our new pullets in the big coop with the grown birds? They've been separated outside by wire and there hasn't been any commotion. They are about 5 weeks old now and will soon out grow the brooder they are in now.
post #2 of 8

Have you heard of the panic room method of integration? If you already have the chicks in the same run with the older chickens, separated by a wire fence, all you need to do is open some holes in the fence, about 5 x 7 inches, and let the chicks come and go as they wish. They quickly understand that safety is inside their pen, and there shouldn't be any problems since they've been growing up within sight of the flock all along.

 

Just make sure there's plenty of space and perches so the chicks have things to jump up onto and run behind if they need to evade a bully.

 

As far as introducing them into the coop with the adults, that requires teaching them to go in at night. Where are they currently sleeping?

post #3 of 8

^^^ X2. Nothing  I can add. Spot on. Sometimes it's hard to find old threads. You've got this. Shout out in  http://www.backyardchickens.com/f/18/chicken-behaviors-and-egglaying if you have future integration issues. 

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have them in a portable cage that isn't very secure so we are putting them in our shop every night where nothing can get them.
post #5 of 8

Then they need to move into the coop soon.

 

The way I do it, my chicks begin to mingle with the rest of the flock at around three weeks old. They run around the entire run, and in and out of their safe pen, and after about one to two weeks of mingling with the adults, I move them into the coop, usually around five weeks old.

 

This is the most ticklish stage of raising chicks in my opinion. People usually do it wrong, ending up traumatizing not just the chicks, but themselves in the process. They chase down the chicks and snatch them up and stuff them into the coop. Do not do that! The first step to doing it right involves teaching your chicks to come to you when you call to them.

 

Using treats, say a key word every time you offer them. This way, you will always be able to summon your chickens when you need to. Using the same container each time provides a visual cue along with the verbal cue. This training is easy. It doesn't take long for the chicks to catch on.

 

About a week or two after the chicks have been mingling with the adults, during which you've been training them to come to you, it's time for the chicks to spend their first night in the coop. Wait until all the adults have roosted. Then when you hear your chicks making their bedtime trilling noises, gently gather them up and place them inside the coop. If you can place their brooder inside the coop also, it will help the chicks make the transition more easily, having something familiar to sleep in.

 

You will need to make the brooder easy for them to get in and out of, though, so they can go out when morning comes. If it's a cage, take the door off of it or wire it open. If it's a box, turn it on its side.

 

The second night, you will need to get inside the coop first, and call to the chicks, using treats to lure them in. Again, wait until the adults have roosted and you hear the chicks begin to make their bedtime trilling noises, indicating they want to go in to go to sleep.

 

It helps to have the coop lighted up so it's lighter inside than outside and the chicks can see where they're going. I use a small flash light to light the area where the chicks need to go. Be patient, this takes a while for them all to want to go in. Usually, if one or two go in, the rest usually follow pretty soon.

 

The next night, repeat this exercise. You may not even need to use treats by this third night. Just be patient and understand that the urge to go inside to sleep is very powerful and you don't need to force them. Just out-wait them. By the third or fourth night, you should remove the brooder cage and begin to place the chicks on a perch to roost.

 

Again, the urge to roost is very powerful. They are driven by instinct to want to find a safe perch as high up as they can get. Don't be surprised if they've already discovered that the 2 x 4 braces between the wall studs make dandy roosting spots. If they've chosen those places, let them, since it won't last long. They will quickly become too big to sleep there.

 

The importance of waiting until the adult chickens have already roosted is crucial to your success. You don't want any interference and confusion while you're training the chicks to go into the coop and roosting chickens rarely feel like causing trouble.

 

It doesn't usually take long for the chicks to get the idea that the coop is where they will be sleeping, especially if you remove their brooder from the run. Don't let them settle into sleeping in the brooder cage for more than the first few nights or it will become one more habit to break them of.

 

It won't be long and they'll be going into the coop all by themselves and roosting like big kids. And your work will be done!

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by azygous View Post
 

Then they need to move into the coop soon.

 

The way I do it, my chicks begin to mingle with the rest of the flock at around three weeks old. They run around the entire run, and in and out of their safe pen, and after about one to two weeks of mingling with the adults, I move them into the coop, usually around five weeks old.

 

This is the most ticklish stage of raising chicks in my opinion. People usually do it wrong, ending up traumatizing not just the chicks, but themselves in the process. They chase down the chicks and snatch them up and stuff them into the coop. Do not do that! The first step to doing it right involves teaching your chicks to come to you when you call to them.

 

Using treats, say a key word every time you offer them. This way, you will always be able to summon your chickens when you need to. Using the same container each time provides a visual cue along with the verbal cue. This training is easy. It doesn't take long for the chicks to catch on.

 

About a week or two after the chicks have been mingling with the adults, during which you've been training them to come to you, it's time for the chicks to spend their first night in the coop. Wait until all the adults have roosted. Then when you hear your chicks making their bedtime trilling noises, gently gather them up and place them inside the coop. If you can place their brooder inside the coop also, it will help the chicks make the transition more easily, having something familiar to sleep in.

 

You will need to make the brooder easy for them to get in and out of, though, so they can go out when morning comes. If it's a cage, take the door off of it or wire it open. If it's a box, turn it on its side.

 

The second night, you will need to get inside the coop first, and call to the chicks, using treats to lure them in. Again, wait until the adults have roosted and you hear the chicks begin to make their bedtime trilling noises, indicating they want to go in to go to sleep.

 

It helps to have the coop lighted up so it's lighter inside than outside and the chicks can see where they're going. I use a small flash light to light the area where the chicks need to go. Be patient, this takes a while for them all to want to go in. Usually, if one or two go in, the rest usually follow pretty soon.

 

The next night, repeat this exercise. You may not even need to use treats by this third night. Just be patient and understand that the urge to go inside to sleep is very powerful and you don't need to force them. Just out-wait them. By the third or fourth night, you should remove the brooder cage and begin to place the chicks on a perch to roost.

 

Again, the urge to roost is very powerful. They are driven by instinct to want to find a safe perch as high up as they can get. Don't be surprised if they've already discovered that the 2 x 4 braces between the wall studs make dandy roosting spots. If they've chosen those places, let them, since it won't last long. They will quickly become too big to sleep there.

 

The importance of waiting until the adult chickens have already roosted is crucial to your success. You don't want any interference and confusion while you're training the chicks to go into the coop and roosting chickens rarely feel like causing trouble.

 

It doesn't usually take long for the chicks to get the idea that the coop is where they will be sleeping, especially if you remove their brooder from the run. Don't let them settle into sleeping in the brooder cage for more than the first few nights or it will become one more habit to break them of.

 

It won't be long and they'll be going into the coop all by themselves and roosting like big kids. And your work will be done!


Comprehensive advice i'd say! I raise chicks with their mothers, so she makes the decision when to go and roost with the adults (seems to be around 5-6 weeks in my experience). As has been said, the urge to roost is strong. I leave the door open of the mini-coop (where the chicks and mum stay at night) and so they have a choice of where to sleep. Once mum decides the roosting bars with the adults is good, then i remove the mini-coop from the main coop (a garden shed in my case). Prior to mum deciding that its time to roost with the flock, i simply close the mini-coop if thats where mum decides to take her chicks. 

 

Maybe in future, if its possible you may wish to consider having one of your hens incubate the eggs - makes life so much easier as mum does all the work and makes all the decisions regarding what is good for the chicks (you are more likely to get a higher hatch rate also).

 

Good luck!

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CTKen View Post


Comprehensive advice i'd say! I raise chicks with their mothers, so she makes the decision when to go and roost with the adults (seems to be around 5-6 weeks in my experience). As has been said, the urge to roost is strong. I leave the door open of the mini-coop (where the chicks and mum stay at night) and so they have a choice of where to sleep. Once mum decides the roosting bars with the adults is good, then i remove the mini-coop from the main coop (a garden shed in my case). Prior to mum deciding that its time to roost with the flock, i simply close the mini-coop if thats where mum decides to take her chicks. 

Maybe in future, if its possible you may wish to consider having one of your hens incubate the eggs - makes life so much easier as mum does all the work and makes all the decisions regarding what is good for the chicks (you are more likely to get a higher hatch rate also).

Good luck!

CT

I'd love to do that but the girls I have right now are production breeds and don't tend to go broody. Whenever I get my hands on a broody girl, through, that's what I plan to do.
post #8 of 8


Good stuff!! I keep one hen for the purpose of being mother as she's the only one that goes broody AND she's the alpha chicken so its a double benefit!

 

Good luck in the future 

 

CT

Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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