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Babies to coop

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I need your thoughts on my plan for integrating my babies to the coop with the big girls. I have seven hens and a roo in my coop. The coop is 10x10 and the run is 30x20 plus they free range 75% of the time.

I have 16 pullets that are 5 weeks old and fully feathered. No heat light now but they are still in the house in their brooder. I have been raking them outside several times per week and they seem to love being outside.

Hubby has separated the coop with chicken wire to allow a barrier between the babies and full grown chickens. I am planning to keep the 16 in the coop ( separated) for two weeks before allowing them to free range with the grown chickens. I am hoping this allows them time to get use to one another.

I am hoping to put the pullets out this week. Temperatures will be mid 50's during the day and mid 30's during the night. Coop is an Amish built shed, no drafts and pretty dang secure. I still have the deep litter from winter in the coop. The pullets will have their own roosts, food and water for the two weeks they are only in the coop. I do not want to use a heat lamp- terrified of fires.

Any thoughts on what I'm missing would be very appreciated....
post #2 of 6

You're off to a splendid start by partitioning your coop to create a safe zone. I came up with the term, "panic room" for this concept. I have been brooding my chicks directly in the run in such a pen, and I open 5 x 7" portals from this pen into the rest of the run when the chicks reach age three weeks.

 

The thing that makes it possible to integrate my chicks at such a young age is that they've been raised in proximity to the adult flock from day one, and they've been accepted into the flock already.

 

In your case, you can expect the "getting acquainted" process to be well underway in about a week of the chicks taking up residence in the coop. Keep food and water in there pen so they don't need to compete for essentials. Then let the chicks begin to explore the coop and run.

 

To be safe, you need to create another "panic room" in your run and make certain there are no dead ends where a chick could get trapped without a means of escape.

 

Provide a lot of perches so the chicks can escape vertically, also. Chicks are very fast, and learn quickly how to evade adult chickens. With a panic room, they always have a safe retreat, and it makes integration quicker and safer.

 

I have photos of my setup in the article linked below on brooding outdoors.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I read the article, what is a mama heating pad?
post #4 of 6

I can answer that...it's exactly what it sounds like - it's a heating pad that acts just like a mother hen.  It warms the chicks from the top, it's soft and they love to climb all over it and even sleep on top of it, and it's draped over a frame so the chicks settle down underneath. It's simple, inexpensive, and the chicks learn about day/night cycles and regulating their own comfort right away.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

 

 

Like @azygous I brood my chicks outdoors from the start right alongside the adults using the Mama Heating Pad system.  We have almost full integration by the time they are 4 weeks old.  

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/yes-you-certainly-can-brood-chicks-outdoors

 

as @azygous said, partitioning off your coop was exactly the best thing to do!   When you actually put them to together, be sure you have multiple feeders and water sources since that seems to be where the older girls become the most territorial.  Good luck!

post #5 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raisingpeeps View Post

I need your thoughts on my plan for integrating my babies to the coop with the big girls. I have seven hens and a roo in my coop. The coop is 10x10 and the run is 30x20 plus they free range 75% of the time.

I have 16 pullets that are 5 weeks old and fully feathered. No heat light now but they are still in the house in their brooder. I have been raking them outside several times per week and they seem to love being outside.

Hubby has separated the coop with chicken wire to allow a barrier between the babies and full grown chickens. I am planning to keep the 16 in the coop ( separated) for two weeks before allowing them to free range with the grown chickens. I am hoping this allows them time to get use to one another.

I am hoping to put the pullets out this week. Temperatures will be mid 50's during the day and mid 30's during the night. Coop is an Amish built shed, no drafts and pretty dang secure. I still have the deep litter from winter in the coop. The pullets will have their own roosts, food and water for the two weeks they are only in the coop. I do not want to use a heat lamp- terrified of fires.

Any thoughts on what I'm missing would be very appreciated....

 

This all sounds good. It always helps when the young birds outnumber the older ones. The young ones will flock together and their united front will likely minimize problems. (My worst experiences always came from adding small numbers of chickens to a large flock.)

 

Extra credit if you evict the old chickens from their accustomed space and give it to the new ones during the period when they're separated. At least the feeders and waterers. I'm told this messes up the territoriality of the existing flock.

 

Robert

Robert Plamondon * Norton Creek Press, Blodgett Oregon * Latest Reprint: Turkey Management by Marsden & Martin * Most Popular: Fresh-Air Poultry Houses by Dr. Woods. See my Chicken FAQ, too.
Reply
Robert Plamondon * Norton Creek Press, Blodgett Oregon * Latest Reprint: Turkey Management by Marsden & Martin * Most Popular: Fresh-Air Poultry Houses by Dr. Woods. See my Chicken FAQ, too.
Reply
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Wow- so I have been watching videos and riding posts on MHP and I am so doing this in the future. Right now i have the 16 going out next week but I have 8 more two week olds in another brooder and we are getting Keets in June. The Keets will be raised outside, in the coop, using the MHP METHOD. Thank you all for your thoughts and ideas! I will add "doors" to the panic room after two weeks and hubby will add a panic room outside- sooooo excited!
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