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Introducing Baby Chickens to an older Flock

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

Hey everyone. I have a question about how to introduce baby chickens to a flock of adult chickens. The older flock is a mixture of Buff Opringtons (10) and Speckled Sussex (2). The babies a Rhode Island Reds (3). We are on our second attempt with Rhode Islands because the last time we tried to introduce them the older Chickens ate them. Literally Ate them. Any advice would help. These babies are about 5-6 months old btw.

post #2 of 5
It is best to start by putting them in the coop but keeping them seperate, so they can see each other but cannot touch and leave them like this for a week. This gets the chickens used to the others, without allowing them to attack. Then once you do put them togeather you keep 2 water sources and 2 food sources, ideally out of site of each other. Most introduction problems come due to fights over food and water.
Hopefully this will limit the fighting, but be aware that you will still have hen pecking while they try to get a pecking order established.
post #3 of 5

At five or six months old, they aren't babies. They are full grown as far as your adult chickens look at them.


It is unfortunate that you had your adult flock eat your previous chicks. I gather that's the reason why you waited until now to try to introduce them. However, it's much harder to integrate fully grown chickens into the flock than baby chicks because baby chicks pose no challenge to the adults, whereas these large ones will.


With any new additions, you want to keep them segregated until they all become acquainted. They need to be able to see each other but still remain safe. If you had done that with your previous baby chicks, they wouldn't have been killed. Baby chicks can be offered access to the adult portion of the coop and run at around three weeks as long as you provide a safe pen for them to run back into for safety with chick size openings that the larger chickens can't fit.


After a period of time, when it appears the adults are mostly ignoring the youngsters, then let them have access to the adult areas, but you need to provide plenty of perches and escapes for them if the pecking order gets too wild. Several food and water stations also help.

post #4 of 5
If your flock free range things are a lot easier in terms of integration and I feel that you already have some good advice.

Good luck

Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
post #5 of 5

All good advice.  Separation but proximity is key.  One thing I read on here somewhere, and it made so much sense to me, is to put the "newer" birds in an enclosure within the coop or run so that they can see each other all the time.  Then a few days after you do that, start spreading a line of scratch on the line between the ground on the run and the ground on the enclosure.  Some on both sides of the fencing.  They'll be gobbling and scratching at that scratch head to head, but unable to peck each other over it.  Fast way to get them used to eating from the same location without safety concerns, and territorial disputes over food and water access are always a big deal to them.  

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