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When are chicks too old to add a newbie?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

We have 3 2-week-old chicks, a RIR, a Buff Orpington, and what we thought was a Barred Rock but I've learned today is actually an Australorp. 


I'm pretty concerned that the Australorp is also a roo (bought all sexed run chicks but since it's the wrong breed it seems likely it was put in the wrong bin) as it has hardly feathered at all in comparison with the other 2 (still no tail feathers at all, others have had them for a week already).


In anticipation of possibly having to rehome a roo, I'm thinking of getting a Barred Rock (and will know what to look for this time to make sure I'm getting the right thing), but is the age difference going to be too great at this point?


We want 4 max and I know getting 1 chick at a time doesn't work well since they like to exist in a flock.

post #2 of 14

From my own experience with day olds, I wouldn't stick a day old or multiple day olds in with 2wk olds. They require different temperatures. You can buy and brood in a separate brooder like I do, and then integrate after they're done with the heat lamp. I did that last year and I'm doing it again this year. Last year I had chicks that were almost 6wks apart in age. This year I have chicks that are 2wks apart in age. We're working toward integrating now since the younger don't need the heat lamp much at this point.


Right now my chicks are almost 7wks and almost 5wks.

post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 

They are in quite a large brooder right now, so I don't think the temperature would be as much of an issue as possible bullying? (We have room to set up different areas with 2 lights).


Is it ok to have one chick by itself in a brooder? I thought it wasn't recommend to keep them alone?

post #4 of 14

It's not really recommended to buy just one, they recommend at least a pair. I'm a softie and bought a pair of SLW when I really only wanted 1. I also bought 1 duckling and ended up going back and getting another (the same day, only about 1hr later) because I'm a softie and couldn't stand hearing the duckling cry (I tried a stuffie, didn't work). I don't really recommend buying just one either. I say get at least 2. You can always choose the "nicer" of the 2 and keep that one and sell/rehome the other if needed or you could just decide to keep both. :D


I have 14 chickens, a dog, 2 ducks, fish, and a gecko. I just keep adding to my crew.:lau

post #5 of 14
I have 2.5 weekers, 1.5 weekers, and .5 weekers all in the same brooder and they are just fine, the younger ones just spend more time in the heated area. My biggest one is an EE that actually covers and cuddles my little ones. I've didn't add just one at a time though... Just my personal experience
post #6 of 14

You can try it, and it may work out adding one chick to three existing two-week olds. You may even be able to find a Barred Rock pullet that's a week old already, thus closer in size and age.


Phone around and see if you can locate what you want. If you score, there are safe methods to introduce a stranger, usually with a see-through partition for the first few hours until they become acquainted.


There are no hard, written-in-stone-rules, but the closer in age you can get the new one, the better. Since there are only three two-week olds, the new one won't be all that out-numbered. It could work okay. You won't know until you try it.

post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks. I'm going to give it a shot with the oldest pullet I can find. If it's a mess I have a friend who just got a batch of chicks today and I can probably brood mine with hers.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Some more questions:

I brought home a BR today and for a time kept her separate with a divider that she could cross but not the older chicks. After a while, though, she just wanted to go where they were and was hanging out on their side all the time, so I took it out and have been closely supervising. All seems fine so far.

I have to leave for 1.5 hours this afternoon, should I separate them again?

Is a barrier that the chick can cross sufficient? Will she be smart enough to retreat to her side if the big ones get mean or should I use something she can't cross either while I'm gone?

She seems to want to spend her time with the other chicks but this means she's away from the light more than I remember my other newbies being. Think that's ok?

I added a separate food and water for the new chick and have left them in even with the barrier removed. How long should I keep 2 food/water sources?

Just as a reminder there are 3 big chicks and one small, and they are 2 weeks apart.
Edited by saraem - 4/20/16 at 9:42am
post #9 of 14

Go by the behavior of your chicks, both in integration progress and heat requirements.


Usually, if there are going to be conflicts with a new addition, it will happen within the first few minutes. If the other chicks act okay with the new one, chances are they're good. Aren't you glad now you tried this?


As for the heat, your new chick will hang out under the heat as she needs to. Chicks are self regulating and their needs differ from chick to chick. She knows where to warm up, and don't worry about her getting what she needs. Do you stay cold on purpose or do you warm up in front of the heater when you get cold? It's a survival instinct.


I think you can go away for a few hours and not worry about the chicks.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thank you! I am very glad I tried it and I haven't seen any aggressive behavior whatsoever, so I'll leave without worrying. At this point they've been together all morning without conflict so hopefully that means we're in the clear. They are actually all snuggling together now, it's pretty cute smile.png
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