Hi, I'm totally new to the chicken world (I grew up with them on the farm but my job was just to feed them the scraps - my pop looked after the rest and I have no idea what happened!) but have been doing insane amounts of research in the last couple of months in preparation. The coop is about to be built and I have decided that we are going to have 4 layers (probably 1 sussex, 1 Marans coucou, 1 red and 1 grey (possibly Limousin depending where I get them from) - I'm in France so not sure if the breeds are called the same in English) plus 2 silkies - promised my 9 year old we would have these and also have a 16 month old baby who I think will appreciate them too :) . I was chatting to a new friend who has a purely silkie flock but is also new to chickens and she has some eggs that she thinks will be due to hatch pretty soon and she is happy to give me a couple of them. The only problem is neither she nor I know when the best time to take them from their mum and move them here would be. I'd like them to be young enough that we can do lots of handling to make them good pets for our family. Chances are they may be here before the rest of the flock. My questions are - when would be the best time age wise? Would it be better to have them installed in the coop before getting the big girls or will there still be issues? What would be the best age to integrate the 2 groups?
Thanks in advance for your advice. (and love the Chicken smilies!!)