4 Week old Silkie Integration into Flock

Katniss_Everdeen

Songster
Nov 24, 2020
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So first of all, we bought 3 unsexed Silkie chicks at 1 week old. They are now 5 weeks old. We raised them by hand in a brooder and they are very friendly and don't mind getting picked up.

We also have 7 existing hens, 3 langshan bantams, 2 Red sex-links and 2 Black sex-links. Our bantams are our oldest and original chickens and although being almost half the size of the sex-links they are still way higher in the pecking order. They are very friendly chickens, but if the others do something they don't like the others will know. We got the 4 sex-links as 5-week old chicks, and they got put in their place in the pecking order pretty quickly.

4 days ago we put the chicks in a pen inside our chicken coop, everyone was very interested in the new arrivals and the babies didn't seem too scared. So yesterday I cut a door in the brooder/pen thing big enough for the chicks but not for the others. I let them wander around the run every now and then when the flock free ranges.

When should I be letting the chicks and flock be in contact? Is there a certain way I should introduce? Any tips would be appreciated.
 

CluckNDoodle

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Jan 12, 2019
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It's sounds like you're already taking the appropriate slow integration steps. Allowing them to grow up side by side where the older flock can see but not touch is very helpful when integrating. I tend to introduce my chicks much younger than many people do but I have an especially docile flock.
The general rule is to introduce them when they're closer in size so they don't get terribly bullied (I don't usually do this personally). With Silkies I would wait longer than with any other breed because they're the only breed I've ever had an incident with where the little ones were getting bullied more than your average dominant pecks and to be honest the little fluff balls aren't very bright about getting out of the way, lol.
With all of that said, once you think they're ready, I would just monitor closely while they're mingling to make sure there isn't any bullying and if there is, just continue to do the "see but don't touch" method until they're ready. Good luck!
 

MysteryChicken

Unique minded, open minded Chicken Lover
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May 31, 2018
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I never integrate chicks that young into a flock. I always wait until they're 3½ - 4 months old before introducing to the older birds due to safety concerns.
 

rosemarythyme

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4 days ago we put the chicks in a pen inside our chicken coop, everyone was very interested in the new arrivals and the babies didn't seem too scared. So yesterday I cut a door in the brooder/pen thing big enough for the chicks but not for the others. I let them wander around the run every now and then when the flock free ranges.

When should I be letting the chicks and flock be in contact? Is there a certain way I should introduce? Any tips would be appreciated.

Since you already have panic openings good to go (and I assume the chicks are using them reliably?) you can plan on letting the adults meet the chicks in a couple of days, when you have time to supervise. Take the time to clutter up the run if it's not already cluttered up, in case chicks need a hiding spot when they're not close to the brooder.

I'd keep the first meetings short, maybe an hour or two. Expect some pecking/bullying, but don't step in if you don't have to. If there's no real issues with harassment, you can pretty much just leave them to figure things out from there.
 

CluckNDoodle

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Should I integrate them with the whole flock at once or just a few hens at a time? I have 7 chickens - 3 bantams, 4 standard

Typically you wouldn't change the flock dynamic when you start the introductions but as already mentioned, giving plenty of room and hiding spaces can help. Good luck and if the older hens are too aggressive just wait until the Silkies are older. For me I had to wait longer to integrate my Silkies than any other breed. They're a little slow.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Should I integrate them with the whole flock at once or just a few hens at a time? I have 7 chickens - 3 bantams, 4 standard

I would do all at once, numbers don't seem to change the fact that some hens will just ignore them, while others will be more aggressively curious.
 

Abriana

Spicy Sugar Cookie
Apr 26, 2017
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To introduce new or younger chickens I have them in a see but don’t touch situation in both the coop and outside. I use a run outside, and you can use a crate in the coop or build a small space for them. After a few weeks I let them interact with supervision, and then once I’m confident all is well they go out for good. I’ve never had any issues doing it this way! Just letting them out with the flock can be dangerous because usually (not always though) chickens in the existing flock will attack or peck at new arrivals or young babies.

Also I love your username! The Hunger Games are my absolute favorite book/movie series!
 

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