WE HAVE BABY CHICS AROUND 4 OR 5 WEEKS OLD..CAN YOU PUT IN A OLDER CHICKEN THAT IS ALREADY LAYING EGGS, INTO THE COOP? WILL IT KILL BABYS?
MIXING YOUNG AND OLD CHICKS
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Adult hens will for sure chase and probably peck at chicks this size. We keep checks separated until they are pullets and at least one or two have started laying. Meanwhile I suggest that you put the chicks into a enclosed area where the hens can see them but not get at them. So hens will be interested others will not so I encourage the (free ranging) hens to the penned area a few times a day with some treats.
Once you chicks are a good size (for us that has been ~ 16 weeks old) take advantage of a chickens having extraordinary sense of smell and being deep sleepers by putting the new pullets on the roost at night after they are sleeping. Just make sure to do it on a day when you are there to open the coop and monitor the mixed flock in the morning. This assures that the new chicks will be able to escape and/or hide if your older birds become aggressive. Also if you usually feed them in one spot you should keep at least two feeders and waterers available for a while.
So far this has worked for us with only minor skirmishes usually when they are getting back on the roost at night. How many established hens do you have and dhow many new chicks are you adding? This could be folklore but I have been told that this method is working for us because we add more birds to the flock that there are in the existing flock. For example, last year we only had to hens and added six chicks. This year we are adding five to our existing flock of four.
Edited by aggiemae - 4/9/13 at 1:57pm
Putting one older chicken in with the younger ones might be ok. Depends on her disposition. She will sort out the pecking order with the younger ones. Might keep them seperated so they can see each other for a week or so and them give them a trial period under supervision.The five week olds are big enough that the older one isnt likely going to kill any of them before you could intervene.