BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Managing Your Flock › How/when to integrate new chicks to existing flock
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How/when to integrate new chicks to existing flock

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I currently have (7) year-old hens and (9) 11-week-old chicks (1 of which is very likely a roo). We brooded the chicks in the coop from day one (minus a few too-cold days when we brought them inside). Their pen is directly beneath the roosting bars/poop board, so I'm assuming the big hens are already used to and familiar with the babies.

 

The chicks are starting to outgrow their pen and I'd like to give them more room as soon as possible. I have been waiting for the hens to finish laying for the day, then closing off the coop and letting the babies have free roam in there without the worry of the big girls messing with them, but I'd love to be able to let them out in the run/yard with the big girls too.

 

Our big girls are very docile and sweet, they never fight with each other, even when they're bored.

 

Is it too soon? The babies obviously aren't the same size as the big girls yet, so I'm not sure if they're still too small at 11 weeks to hold their own. Thoughts? Anyone with a similar situation that had success with integration at this age?

post #2 of 6
I started by keeping the coops close to eachother but separate at 6 weeks I let them free range together. Yes an occational peck but nothing dangerous. I did this twice a day for 2 weeks. At 8 weeks I through them all into the same run and coop. It made me nervous. But just occational pecks chest bumps and I have salmon faverolles very docile breed but it took some getting used to. I have scattered areas in the run with food and water using milk jugs so there is no way for the little ones to be bullied out of food and water. It has worked out great. It has been a bit over a week and they all dust bathe together and hang out together like best buds. The so 11 weeks sounds old enough to me. I'd try free ranging together for a week supervised before putting them together.
post #3 of 6

I know Fresh Eggs Daily has a very in depth way of integrating new chicks to an existing flock

post #4 of 6

I brooded in the coop this year, behind a wire wall with their own run.

Small doors to let chicks in and out of their 'safe' area starting around 4 weeks then took wall down at about 5-6 weeks.

I learned younger is better, not so much a threat.

Now at 8 weeks they are totally integrated, tho not loving buddies.

 

Might as well bite the bullet and let the chicks out to roam, see what happens....their area under the boards could still be their safe zone.

Lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, places to hide 'out of line of sight' (but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from aggressors can all help ease the inevitable clashes.

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 

Well, I let the big girls out into the yard, shut the door, and let the littles out into the run. They are connected by a fence. The big girls were very curious about the babies finally being out. After about 20-ish minutes, I let the big girls in the run with the babies. All was well for a bit until one of the RIR decided to go all ballistic and start chasing and attacking the babies with a vengeance. This was no ordinary pecking order stuff. So she got sent to chicken jail to chill out. Now it's all good, everyone seems to be getting along well enough. The babies mostly stay by themselves in a corner and the big girls just ignore them. Fingers crossed it continues to be this easy.

post #6 of 6

I'm glad the majority of your hens responded so well! And good luck with the RIR

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Managing Your Flock
BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Managing Your Flock › How/when to integrate new chicks to existing flock