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Help with integrating chicks to old flock

post #1 of 3
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I'm getting 5-10 day olds from the local feed store this weekend and currently have 4 1.5 year old hens (all are and will be standards). My plan is to have the chicks in the brooder for seven weeks, then in a pen or wired off section of the run for 2-3 weeks with the adults in the rest of the run. After that time I'm still lost as to how to integrate the babies (even after reading many fantastic threads!).

 

Should I let the babies into the full area of the run and lock the older hens out while they free range for a few hours every day for a week of so before letting them interact, or (with close supervision) can I just let them all the chicks out of their pen into the full run one morning. I don't really want to let the youngsters free range until couple weeks of being in the run happily. Any other pro tips and thoughts about my plan are appreciated.

 

Also, one of the breeds I really want is a week older than the others, do I have to worry about introducing them at first in the brooder? Should I get two chicks that are a week older than the others? as I'm sure you can tell, its my first time integrating chickens.

post #2 of 3
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Originally Posted by Toosocs4 View Post
 

I'm getting 5-10 day olds from the local feed store this weekend and currently have 4 1.5 year old hens (all are and will be standards). My plan is to have the chicks in the brooder for seven weeks, then in a pen or wired off section of the run for 2-3 weeks with the adults in the rest of the run. After that time I'm still lost as to how to integrate the babies (even after reading many fantastic threads!). - 

 

Should I let the babies into the full area of the run and lock the older hens out while they free range for a few hours every day for a week of so before letting them interact, or (with close supervision) can I just let them all the chicks out of their pen into the full run one morning. I don't really want to let the youngsters free range until couple weeks of being in the run happily. Any other pro tips and thoughts about my plan are appreciated. ​I'd suggest cutting small holes in the chicken wire that will allow the chicks to enter the main run, but get back to their "place of refuge" (i.e. sectioned-off run) when they wish. The holes should be sufficiently small NOT to allow the adult birds entry. Food and water should be provided in the sectioned-off run. At the same time, try and put a number of feeding stations in the main run and place objects in the run that can act as temporary protection for the chicks (e.g. tree branches, wood leant against the run etc) should they feel threatened.

 

Also, one of the breeds I really want is a week older than the others, do I have to worry about introducing them at first in the brooder? Should I get two chicks that are a week older than the others? as I'm sure you can tell, its my first time integrating chickens. From what i have read here on BYC it should be ok, but keep an eye on the behaviour of the older chick for potential bullying. 

 

 

I am sure you are aware, theres lots of info on integrating chicks, but one that i have found very useful is written by @azygous and @aart. Heres what i have just found...

 

reintegration-by-supervised-visits#post_15742910

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/aggressive-baby-chicks-and-how-to-stop-the-behavior

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/introducing-a-single-hen-to-an-existing-flock

 

You may have already read them, so apologies if thats the case.

 

Good luck

CT


Edited by CTKen - 4/1/16 at 8:50pm
Nairobi, Kenya
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Nairobi, Kenya
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post #3 of 3
I always start my mingling either under supervision, the first few time can last minutes before I round them up and return them to the safety of their own pen. If I have time I will let them out multiple times. After a while the adults should mostly ignore them with an occasional peck. They don't initially range too far, it can take a few weeks before they start getting out there. I always lock my chicks separately at night for a month or two, just so I don't have to worry about them. Eventually I just let them go. They will form their own group and mostly stay away from the older ones.

Otherwise your plans are sound. I haven't integrated separate ages yet, so I can't help you there. I would get the ones I wanted and if there's trouble you might have to separate the older one or two for a day or so in a small wire jail. You will just have to see how it goes and hope there's no troubles.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
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