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Combining chicks: who goes where?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I have 3 flocks right now and my 5 week old chicks have quickly outgrown their brooder. I'm torn about what to do. I have my coop/run split for two flocks. So do I move my 13 week old chicks (8) in with my 1-3 year old flock (14), then move my feathered out 5 week chicks (15) into the empty coop space, or do I put the 5 weekers in with the 13 weekers, who are already occupying that second space? 

 

This was really not in my plan, but a friend hatched some chicks for a class and was planning on raising them, but had a change of heart. That's when I got the middle flock. :/ 

post #2 of 7
Put them where you have enough room for them, either integration will need a separation pen and some supervision when initially mingling. So pick the coop that has the room for the birds and to section off part of it for a few weeks.
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
post #3 of 7

Do you want a how-to? You could read the article I wrote on brooding chicks outdoors, which also includes how a "panic room" works to make integration easier. It's the second link below under "Articles". Pictures included.

 

I suggest you not try to do all three age groups at once. It would likely drive you to drink.

 

Your first challenge will be to integrate the two chick groups. Remember for the future, if you get more babies a few weeks after getting the first chicks, it helps tremendously to raise them side-by side. That's the first step in integration - introducing them to each other.

 

After a week of being alongside each other, try letting them mingle. There will likely be some pecking and minor conflict, but generally it ought to proceed fairly well. If you notice one or two older chicks being persistent bullies, I have an article in that bunch below on how to deal with that, too.

 

Meanwhile, if you rig the chick pen in the run to accommodate chick-size openings, approximately 5 x 7 inches, it will provide a safe refuge for all the chicks when you let them mingle with the adults. Those size openings will accommodate chicks to age three months.

 

Place the chicks' food and water inside the safe enclosure so they will be assured of not being chased away from essentials.

 

In addition to the panic room, try to have as many perches in the run as possible, as well as horizontal and vertical surfaces for evading large bullies.

post #4 of 7

If your 13 week olds have been living within sight of the adult flock for a few weeks, you can go ahead and move them in with the adults. There will be pecking order fights, but they are big enough to handle it. Multiple feeders and ample room help to make things go more smoothly.

Then move your little ones out to the empty coop space. 

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the feedback! My 13 weekers and older flock have lived separated by chicken wire for over a month now, so they're pretty familiar with each other. Some of my older birds just seem very big (a large rooster, big brahmas, a large EE), compared to a flock of 13 week red stars/production chickens. 

post #6 of 7

I agree with Junebuggena. And it sounds like that's actually your perfect answer. Who knew it could work out so well? 

 

Good luck!

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

I appreciate the advice! This morning, after I put out feed for both flocks, I opened up about a 2 foot space of chicken wire. We had several ballgames/practices today, so I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Come home and all the 13 weekers are over in the run w/ the big boys and girls and no one looks distressed or injured. Just threw out some fruit scraps and seeds for them and everyone seems to be eating in harmony. :D Now to just get them roosting in the big coop at night and out of their little make-shift house at the other end of the run. 

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