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Adding older chicks in with younger chicks. Advice please.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am fairly new to chickens and need some advice.
I have 24 4 1/2 week old chicks in a 12x10 coop with a heating pad cave. Their large run will be completed in the next 2wks.
I have the opportunity to acquire 5 8wk old chicks that are a breed I very much want to have. They are vaccinated and are living in very clean conditions currently, they appear to be very healthy chicks.
I can't see a way to properly section off my coop right now so that they couldn't fly over and get in with the younger chicks. I plan to eventually section an area off, but it's not in the $ or time budget right now.
I am thinking I'm probably just not set up to take these chicks now, but really don't know.
I don't want to risk the younger chicks being injured by the older ones, but I don't honestly know if at theses ages it is an issue or not.
Thank you!
post #2 of 3

Your youngsters have the home court advantage, and they have #'s on their side.  If you really want these other chicks, and feel that you have the room, go for it.  At their young ages, there will be some pecking order issues, but not like there would be if they were sexually mature.  You're not set up for quarantine, as most BYC folks are not.  So, I'd be very careful, inspect with an objective eye, and be very sure they look healthy, the seller's property doesn't have any glaring animal health hazards.  Ask lots of questions.  Write them down before you go.  Inspect the birds for mites, and bring them home.  When you integrate, toss out lots of treats for them to work on, be sure to have several feed and water stations.

Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

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Jesus Christ is my pilot.

My husband of 41 years is my best friend and co-pilot.

Enjoying my gardens.  My flock are my garden helpers.

Breeding a winter hearty flock with small combs and colored eggs.

Favorite breeds:  Dominique and EE.  Hatching addict.

 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1084432/egg-gender-selection-survey

http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/1013154/byc-member-interview-laz...

Reply
post #3 of 3

You are right to be concerned about the age spread. There's a world of difference between one-month olds and two-month olds.

 

Introducing any new chickens is a challenge. You can't simply put them all together and hope for the best. You need to let them adjust gradually to one another.

 

Keeping the two groups separated does far more than provide safety. While they are living side by side and viewing one another through a barrier, they are observing and learning the different temperaments and behaviors of the others so when you do put them together, there are few surprises, thus keeping conflict to a minimum.

 

You do not need a major partition. I like plastic deer netting for temporary partitions since it's easily stapled onto walls, and doesn't have sharp edges, and it's hard to land on and get over.

 

You will only need the barrier for a couple weeks. By then all of the chicks will know each other and they should be able to cope pretty well with any size difference without too much drama.

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