Hi everyone! I'm brand new to this group and to raising backyard chickens, but I'm very excited! I know only what I have read here in the last several weeks and what I have learned from friends with chickens, so I truly appreciate any information, suggestions or corrections you have to offer. I really want to be certain I'm doing this the right way, as to no screw up the whole process on integration. So hopefully a few of you with experience can help me out.
I bought my first 4 chicks on March 18th, I believe 3 were a week (possibly 5 days) old when purchased, 1 was approximately 3 days old. I decided to get 1 more a few days later because there was more than enough room in the coop that my husband built. So I have 5 chicks that are approximately a month old, 1 a bit younger. 2 have larger/pinkish combs, slight wattle development and behaviors that seem to indicate that they might be roosters. If that is the case, I cannot keep them due to the laws in my county. I have a great home that is willing to take them, but I would prefer to be left with more than 3 hens for laying.
Soooo......I bought 2 more chicks yesterday. I believe they are only 2 days old.
I very carefully placed them in to the brooder while supervising. The one suspected rooster started urgently chirping for a few seconds, and the 2nd suspected rooster immediately charged and pecked. While I know pecking is expected, I couldn't let it happen...they're WAY too young. So I had my husband make a divider in the brooder (pic below) so that they could observe each other and get used to one another, while keeping them safe. Both groups are very curious of one another.
So these are my main questions:
1. At what age are the newer chicks old enough to put (while supervised) into the brooder to see how they're behaving?
2. Should I wait until I decided if I'm getting rid of the suspected roosters before trying to integrate the new chicks at all? Or is it fine to integrate and then re-home the "roosters" if necessary?
3. What should be the expected timeframe of complete integration?
4. I was originally planning on moving them into the coop in about 2 weeks. Being that there are 2 babies, should I delay putting all of them outside? Or move the older ones and then re-integrate the younger ones again in the coop in 6 weeks?
I realize that I made this difficult for myself. But I thought it would be easier to integrate at this young of an age, rather than down the road since I don't easily have the means to do this next year.
I look forward to hearing your advice!