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5 & 6 weeks old chickens, new to this!!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

We just started our chicken adventure a month ago. We bought 6 hens from a local farmer and have had great success with them! Well my hubby wanted more, so he was going to get 2 more hens but came home with four (Rhode Island Reds), two 5 week old and two 6 week old. I have no idea what to do with them! They gave us a small bag of feed. Right now they are on their front porch in a big storage bin (with shavings, food and water). So, what in the world do I do? How long do they need to stay on the front porch? We live in AL and are having a mild winter. We have an open coop but it's currently covered. I have no idea of the actual temp in there though. How should we go about introducing them to the other hens? Any help will be greatly appreciated.
January 2012 056.jpg

 

post #2 of 13

Hmmm... I question the ages.  There should not be that much size difference if they are only a week apart.  How old are your original hens?  How big is the coop?  Is there a way to block off part of it for the babies?  What kind of hens are your original girls (temperament wise)?

 

If you can figure out a way to keep the babies and older girls seperate, you should be able to move them all outside together.  For a couple of weeks you want to keep the babies away from the big girls so they don't get pecked to pieces.  If they can see each other for a bit it is easier to integrate the two groups.  Once you start letting them mingle you'll want to rig up some place for the babies to be able to get away from the big hens.  Working out a pecking order can be brutal.  I've had smaller chicks pecked to the bone when they couldn't escape from the big ones.  I have found that a "playpen" made of chicken wire works fine (or a wire dog kennel).  You can put the playpen inside the coop/run so they all get used to each other.  As they acclimate you can raise the playpen up on bricks so the smaller babies can scoot underneath but the larger hens cannot. 

 

The smaller two of the new ones are not fully feathered yet.  You might plan on keeping them someplace warm until their heads feather in.  I'm not sure what the outside temps are like, but you don't want them getting chilled.  The bigger two look fully feathered.  They shouldn't have a problem with the temperature.  The weather in TN has shifted from the 60s to the 30s and back to the 60s again all winter.  My poor birds are confused!  Hopefully yours is more consistently warm!  :)

 

Of course, none of this is taking into account biosecurity.  New chickens can bring in disease to your flock.  It is always a good idea to keep them seperate for at least a month to make sure that they aren't sick or carrying something.  You'll also need to practice safe techniques for a while (wash hands well before interacting with either flock, spray your shoes down with lysol or bleach, etc). 

 

Do you have a bigger place to put them?  They are going to outgrow that tub really fast.  They will also figure out how to fly at some point and will be out and over the edges before you know it.  They are zippy little things when they are small.  Is your front porch enclosed?  How are you protecting them from predators?  A dog or possum or racoon would have no trouble getting to them in the tub.  A wire dog kennel makes an awesome brooder and is easy to keep clean.  It's also fairly secure.

 

If you haven't done so yet, I strongly recommend getting the book "Chickens for Dummies".  Our own fearless leader (Nifty) wrote it and it is a GREAT resource.  It covers all sorts of things that you need to know.  I have found it to be very helpful.

 

Welcome to the fun world of chickens and welcome to BYC!!  Your new babies are very pretty!

Breeder of B/B/S ameraucanas, easter eggers, olive eggers and buff silkies
NPIP
For more chicken pictures than you can stand, check out my blog- www.farmeranne.blogspot.com
Web page-  http://teacherhousefarm.webs.com/
Reply
Breeder of B/B/S ameraucanas, easter eggers, olive eggers and buff silkies
NPIP
For more chicken pictures than you can stand, check out my blog- www.farmeranne.blogspot.com
Web page-  http://teacherhousefarm.webs.com/
Reply
post #3 of 13

Quote:

Originally Posted by CityGirlintheCountry View Post

Hmmm... I question the ages.  There should not be that much size difference if they are only a week apart.  How old are your original hens?  How big is the coop?  Is there a way to block off part of it for the babies?  What kind of hens are your original girls (temperament wise)?

 

If you can figure out a way to keep the babies and older girls seperate, you should be able to move them all outside together.  For a couple of weeks you want to keep the babies away from the big girls so they don't get pecked to pieces.  If they can see each other for a bit it is easier to integrate the two groups.  Once you start letting them mingle you'll want to rig up some place for the babies to be able to get away from the big hens.  Working out a pecking order can be brutal.  I've had smaller chicks pecked to the bone when they couldn't escape from the big ones.  I have found that a "playpen" made of chicken wire works fine (or a wire dog kennel).  You can put the playpen inside the coop/run so they all get used to each other.  As they acclimate you can raise the playpen up on bricks so the smaller babies can scoot underneath but the larger hens cannot. 

 

The smaller two of the new ones are not fully feathered yet.  You might plan on keeping them someplace warm until their heads feather in.  I'm not sure what the outside temps are like, but you don't want them getting chilled.  The bigger two look fully feathered.  They shouldn't have a problem with the temperature.  The weather in TN has shifted from the 60s to the 30s and back to the 60s again all winter.  My poor birds are confused!  Hopefully yours is more consistently warm!  :)

 

Of course, none of this is taking into account biosecurity.  New chickens can bring in disease to your flock.  It is always a good idea to keep them seperate for at least a month to make sure that they aren't sick or carrying something.  You'll also need to practice safe techniques for a while (wash hands well before interacting with either flock, spray your shoes down with lysol or bleach, etc). 

 

Do you have a bigger place to put them?  They are going to outgrow that tub really fast.  They will also figure out how to fly at some point and will be out and over the edges before you know it.  They are zippy little things when they are small.  Is your front porch enclosed?  How are you protecting them from predators?  A dog or possum or racoon would have no trouble getting to them in the tub.  A wire dog kennel makes an awesome brooder and is easy to keep clean.  It's also fairly secure.

 

If you haven't done so yet, I strongly recommend getting the book "Chickens for Dummies".  Our own fearless leader (Nifty) wrote it and it is a GREAT resource.  It covers all sorts of things that you need to know.  I have found it to be very helpful.

 

Welcome to the fun world of chickens and welcome to BYC!!  Your new babies are very pretty!



X2 (I agree, CityGirl said it all)....    ---   I would only add that after the quarantine for disease spreading prevention..    when you want to introduce the new chicks into the flock..     I have had success with, and it has been recommended that you get a cage, or small dog kennel..     put the new ones into it.. (by the time they are heath cleared, all will be old enough to go outside with the flock) --  put their food and water on the same side as the "flocks" food and water (each up against the wall of the cage)..   let them eat and drink "together"..   "head to head"..   with the cage wall only separating them, keeping the younger/new ones safe... but close, visible, and eating "together"...   for a few days at least.  Also, be prepared for "the pecking order" adjustment..   the new will have to "find their place" in the pecking order and that means some picking on, bickering and pecking at each other -- until the new order is established.  It's hard, but you just have to let them sort it out, unless it gets really out of hand and bloody.

 

Also, watch for these two larger chicks picking on the two younger ones..   there is quite a difference in size, and age I think (too)...  & all will be out of that container by this time, probably flying out of it almost immediately, especially the larger two.

 

Good luck and welcome.

 

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much! I kind of questioned the age different as well. My husband said the man he got them from had several different ages, so it may be that he got that information mixed up. To answer some of your questions:

 

We have no idea how old our hens are. I asked my hubby when he brought them home but, well he didn't get that information. As far as their temperament, they are all great. I've only noticed one of my girls, Gerty, being aggressive and that isn't much at all. She just seems to be a little bossy! I'll post a photo of them below. 

 

We have a partially indoor coop, as I mentioned, and it is 13 by 12ft and it's 9 ft at it's lowest height. The outside run is 8x 12, we do have a latched door that we can lock at night to keep the hens inside the indoor coop. 

 

Our front porch is enclosed. We will definitely look into something bigger soon! Since we need to keep them separate, should we not put them in the coop for a month? Or should we put them in a wired cage inside the coop and then after a month or so, let them out (and raise it on blocks for them to be able to hide,  as you suggest?

 

December 2011 301.jpg

Thelma, Henrietta, Louise, Gerty, Olive Oyl and Lucy

December 2011 300.jpg

Thanks again for the help! We are really enjoying this new adventure but I was a little taken back when hubby brought home these little ones! 
 

post #5 of 13

smileyhug.gif Welcome2theBYC.gif

 

Well I wound no hesitate to put them on medicated chick feed right off the bat. Start putting liquid vitamins in their water like Vita-Sol and Organic Apple cider vinegar. 

integrate them with the other kids asap!! make sure you feed them regularly and keep feed down in a continuous supply. Make sure you buy or build a predator proof cage! For Sure No More Heat.gif and most important enjoy them and have a ton of fun!!

Steve
               
It goes to show you how simple it is to entertain the human mind ........ get a couple of chickens
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Steve
               
It goes to show you how simple it is to entertain the human mind ........ get a couple of chickens
Reply
post #6 of 13

  From watching mine grow I would guess the younger ones are 5 to 6 weeks. The larger ones are 16 to 18 weeks. One thing with mine is the chicks are being raised with all the hens as they grow. So that was the only pecking is the who's boss thing. If they're not raised together then you will have a mean chicken thing going on. That needs to be a slow thing.


Edited by Ole rooster - 1/22/12 at 11:44am
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 

Thanks! My hubby is out building them a cage right now to fit into our existing coop. We were given some of their feed to last a few days but I will be going out tomorrow to pick up some more and hopefully pick up the Chicken for Dummies book (and vitamins too!)! Thanks for your help. I'm going to be doing some research on the ACV, how much do you put in their water? Can I put it in my older girls water too? I've been wanting to buy some for our family anyways, so we'll just share! :) 

post #8 of 13

what is the apple cider vinegar for?

post #9 of 13

Oops!  I was stream of consciousness writing last night and not in order of what should be done.  hide.gif

 

They should be quarantined away from the others for a month.  That comes first.  By then all four will be big enough to integrate with the others if you take it slowly.  They do better when they are all close to the same size.  Perhaps you can take the cage hubby is building and put in on the front porch for a few weeks and then move it out to the coop.  Probably there is nothing wrong with the new chicks and they would be fine immediately going alongside the original hens.  Sadly though, you just never know.  One of my dear friends on here had to put down her entire flock of much loved birds because a single new bird was carrying a horrible disease.  It about broke her heart and her children's hearts.  It's just not worth it.  Biosecurity is a pain to practice, but it keeps things better in the long run.

 

When I add ACV to the water I generally just dump a goodly portion in.  I don't measure.  Truthfully, I have never seen a difference in mine whether I use it or not.  I have never tried using the organic REAL ACV that has the dregs at the bottom of the bottle.  I'm told it is very different from the ACV you get at the grocery store.  Dunno.  When I was using the big plastic waterers I used to dump some in to help keep the algae at bay in the summer.  I've quit using those waterers though, so it has been a while.  Some people swear by it though.

 

I got my copy of Chickens for Dummies off Amazon.  I think you can get it on here through the BYC store too.  It's possible the large bookstores would keep it in stock as well.  I just love Amazon.  smile.png

 

Your older girls are really pretty.  Do I see a production red, a welsummer and a couple of buff orps?  What is the black and white?  She's pretty!  Are you getting eggs out of the others already?  You have a nice looking flock.

Breeder of B/B/S ameraucanas, easter eggers, olive eggers and buff silkies
NPIP
For more chicken pictures than you can stand, check out my blog- www.farmeranne.blogspot.com
Web page-  http://teacherhousefarm.webs.com/
Reply
Breeder of B/B/S ameraucanas, easter eggers, olive eggers and buff silkies
NPIP
For more chicken pictures than you can stand, check out my blog- www.farmeranne.blogspot.com
Web page-  http://teacherhousefarm.webs.com/
Reply
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

I honestly have no clue what 'kind' they are. They all lay brown eggs but the white and black. She lays the prettiest pale green eggs. Just by looking at pictures I'm thinking she may be a Brahma? We've had our girls a month and today we got FIVE eggs! We've been getting about 2-3 a day. They are happy girls! I hope that means we're doing a good job! Thanks for your suggestions! I hope our four new ones do well with the older gals! Here is the picture I took of our first green egg, four days ago! We've gotten two more since then! I'm just a little excited! big_smile.png

 

January 2012 053.jpg


Edited by CrystalJ - 1/22/12 at 7:34pm
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