I have a good size coop with some hens and a rooster inside. I also let them "free range" in the afternoon for 2 or 3 hours whenever I can. I have some chicks that are currently living in my basement with a heat lamp. My hens and roostrer inside the coop are pecking CONSTANTLY! (I recently got new hens). I was wondering when I should move the chicks into the coop with the other chickens. They would be with them at night and during the day. They would also be eating the same food. So, when should I be able to move my chicks into the coop with the other chickens where they would not get hurt by the other chickens and be able to survive off the heat lamp and eat adult food?
How early is to early?
By the time they have fully feathered out (roughly 4 weeks) they can go without the heat lamp totally. I would NOT mix them with the older chickens until they are at least 8 weeks of age and then I would do it slowly. Put them in a wire enclosure next to the larger chcikens and yet protected from them. Once the older chickens don't seem to care about the newbies I would add them to the coop at night while the older chickens are roosting. The first morning you will want to observe the behavior and remove the younger animals if a battle develops. Simply tossing them all together will not work without casualty. Hope this helps.