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Mixing Chicks of Different Ages

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have seen several posts about mixing chicks/chickens of different ages, and that the older ones tend to pick on the younger ones.  I have some chicks that are 6 weeks old and some that are 2 weeks old.  I won't be able to put the 2-week old ones out in the coop/run for another 2-3 weeks anyway, but at that time my older ones will be 8-9 weeks old, and the newbies will be 4-5 weeks old. 

What's the best way to introduce them to minimize the damage?  I understand that this will disrupt their pecking order, but I have heard/read that if I keep the newbies in a cage within the coop, the others will have time to get used to their presence before I actually "mix" them freely, and they might not really get violent.  Is this true, and how long  of a time frame do they probably need to get used to each other?

Question Part 2:  I have a friend with some fully grown hens, and some 6 week old chicks.  They are about ready to start mixing them.  Will the fully-grown hens really "pick on" the chicks?  Or will the pecking order be pretty automatic considering the size/age differential?  roll

post #2 of 18

I just recently put two 8 month old laying hens in our 15 (six week) old chicks. There was no problems at all.

post #3 of 18

One suggestion I would make is to put everyone in a neutral space and offer them scratch grains or other feed so they don't really notice each other.  Then bring them into the coop/chicken yard together after spending the day getting to know each other.  This helps put everyone on a little more equal level.  A few days of this, and they ought to get along fine.

Or, you can also put your most dominant older chick in with all the younger chicks for a brief supervised visit - this way the young ones out number the older one and it seems to baffle them a bit.  Then, before anyone starts asserting dominance take the older chick out and then do the same thing for the next few days.  Then turn them all(old and young alike)out in a neutral area and see how it goes.  Chances are, things will be fine. smile


Edited by Sequin - 4/27/09 at 12:50pm
post #4 of 18

I always place newbies in a cage in the general area for the day so everyone sees each other in the same space....then when it is time to roost for the night- I put the newbies oin the roost below the older hens- they all sleep together, and act like they have been together for years the next day...

post #5 of 18

farmgirljen--

I want to try your method, but I'm wondering if it's too soon to put my five two-month olds in with my eleven one-year olds. What do you think?

I'm getting antsy because I've had the young ones in my garden where they can see the big girls, but not get into trouble. The thing is, up until now they've been too small to cause damage in the garden. But soon I think they're going to start wreaking havoc on my seedlings!!!! sickbyc

Help!!

Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy!
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Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy!
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post #6 of 18

I have 6 week old, 5 week old and 3 weel old chicks together.  The all seem to stay with their own age group, with the exception of a few of the larger 5 wk olds and one 3 week old that thinks they belong with the oldest group.  I've observed one of the 6 week old chasing the others away from her flock and the occassional peck to a younger one, otherwise, no problems!  I didn't intend on putting the babes with the others, however, the flew out of the brooder and insist on staying there.  They have a 10'x20' coop with an attached 20'x30' run.  Plenty of places to hide and room to run or fly away.


If I'm off on their ages, which  i feel that I am on the two older groups, I appologize.  I need to get my calendar out to check.  I think they might be a week older cause all are feathered out and look like mini hens!

Barnyard assortment of chickens, and lots of animals! 

My first Mille Fleurs, and golden sebrights ! One lone Silkie hen.

Bottle raising 4 pot belly piglets. 

Loving every minute of it!!   

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Barnyard assortment of chickens, and lots of animals! 

My first Mille Fleurs, and golden sebrights ! One lone Silkie hen.

Bottle raising 4 pot belly piglets. 

Loving every minute of it!!   

Reply
post #7 of 18

I have two 6-week olds, one 4.5 week old, 2 three week olds, and three 1 week olds all in the same 30 gallon tank.  Noone is picking anyone.  YAE!!wee  My friend has 2 ages of chickens. Three 1 year olds and three eight week olds.  The older ones chase them constantly and are really mean to them.  barnie They are terrrified.  It seems to me that if they are all close in age they get along better.

      sandyj

1 husband, 4 children, 2 grandchildren, 2 german shepards, 1 little mutt, 2 cockatiels, 1 canary, 2 button quail, 2 coturnix quail, 2 EE chicks, 1 buff orpington chick, 20 large, pond gold fish.   
"Live life to its fullest, with no regrets"!!!
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1 husband, 4 children, 2 grandchildren, 2 german shepards, 1 little mutt, 2 cockatiels, 1 canary, 2 button quail, 2 coturnix quail, 2 EE chicks, 1 buff orpington chick, 20 large, pond gold fish.   
"Live life to its fullest, with no regrets"!!!
Reply
post #8 of 18

I have one 4 day old BCM chick. She is the only one that hatched out of 14 shipped eggs. I thought she was so lonely. Then yesterday I had 2 Dorking chicks hatch out. They are so cute and tiny. I put the 4 day old in with the 1 day old chickens and 4 day old constantly pecks their toes and then she started pecking at their eyes. I was so afraid she would blind one of them I took her back out. Now I have to keep 2 areas clean. Any suggests? HELP!

post #9 of 18

Well thats the kind of thing I had.  My broody chicken tried to hatch some eggs, but they never hatched.  She is a light sussex.  We went to a shop, bought her 3 chicks, and put them in with her.  She began pecking at their legs, and they at her eyes.  They soon stopped, once they understood what she was (they had been incubated and had no idea what she was!).  They are all fine now big_smile  hope this helps thumbsup

post #10 of 18

It is best to make sure the chicks are big enough to fend for themselves and you also must keep in mind they have to reistablish peeking order all over again. I like to place seperate feeding pans and waterpans on opposite sides of the room. and on one feed place Place some hog wire or 5 inch fencing so the smaller birds have a place to retreat to if picking is exessive. and they dont get picked out of being able to eat.

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