Hey y'all, I am new to BYC, but wanted to get some wisdom about introducing new birds to each other. I have a 4 week old Buff Orpington chick that has been living in my shower stall ever since she hatched. I had 24 eggs and after a very rough delivery where 15 of them broke, she was the only one that made it. Maybe it was my incubator skills (1st timer), but that is the result. I also purchased 12 buff orpington chicks and they are about 4 weeks ahead of my little baby chick, much bigger by about 3x and very hen-pecky when I put them together. A lady at TSC said that I can introduce them when she is about 4 weeks old. I would like to do this asap as I know chicks really don't do great alone and I have no time to molly coddle the little thing however much I would like to. I am afraid that if I just leave her there with them, she will be killed, they are very aggressive towards her. What is the simplest way to fold her into the flock? I need clean and simple folks, I am not one that is going to go through hoops and lots of bologna b/c I don't do that with anything, not even my own kids. If I HAVE to coax them to get used to each other by slowly introducing them, that's fine, but I just want to know what is necessary and not necessary. Thanks for the good advice, and very happy to finally join BYC.
Introduce New Chick to Not to much older flock
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I'd suggest searching "introducing new flock members" in here at BYC - theres lots of info that should point you in the right direction.
For your situation I would suggest a couple of steps. You can identify the nicest bird (or two) of the older birds and house them with the littler bird so that they can bond and form a small sub-flock. This will mean you are not introducing just the one bird back into the main group, but multiple birds and a group that has formed a relationship with one another. I would also use the "look but don't touch" approach to making the introductions by housing the bird (and her friend/s) in a cage within the coop so that both groups of birds are able to see each other and adjust to the presence of the "newbies" in the established flocks territory - once the "stranger danger" part of the introduction has passed (any new/unknown bird is an intruder on the flock's territory and resources - and is to be driven out) you can start allowing them to mingle - the more space you can allow for that initial mingling the better, and be sure to provide lots of places that anyone feeling too picked on can use to escape such as things they can get under, go over, put between them and a bully. Have more than one feed/water station available as well so that no one bird can control all access to feed and water at any given time.