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5 week old chicks. combining with flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CheekyMare, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. CheekyMare

    CheekyMare Songster

    We're moving to a new coop and I was thinking it might be a good time to put the chicks(the ones that are fully feathered) in with the big chickens? Or is that too early? I've had them out with the big chickens under supervision and they've all seemed to pretty much ignore the chicks except for a few pecks if they get in the way at the feeder. No chasing or anything.

  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    That would be a bad thing. The adults will injure or even kill those much smaller chicks......Maybe you could fence off an area of you new coop and put them in it, so the hens can see them, but not touch them.
  3. CheekyMare

    CheekyMare Songster

    Even though they've been interacting for 3 weeks? The chickens have been wandering in and out of the brooder area for three weeks and the chicks have been going outside for two weeks.

    I don't have a run, just a sleeping coop.

    Old Coop on the left and new coop on the right.


    I have 30 adults and juveniles (incl Guineas) and about 40 chicks but only about 20 are Fully feathered.
  4. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    If they've spent some time together and had very few incidents - it' probably going to be fine to move them over. You don't say what the weather conditions are where you live - but as long as it's warm enough at 5 weeks old you can move them out. Here we're getting into the 30s at night so I would put a lamp on them in the evening until they are fully feathered at 6-8 weeks old depending on the breed.

    Here's what I did last time and I had success with it. I let the bigs & littles observe each other for a few weeks in close proximity and then let the littles out to play with the bigs a few times. There was some hiding and pecking, but nothing dramatic or bloody. I encouraged the babies to explore the bigs coop and to play in there when the bigs were not inside. Everyone was getting along fairly well and I was putting the babies back in their own coop for awhile at night, but then I decided on a date and when that date came I simply moved the babies over at night into their new coop location and closed off their old location to them. That night the babies slept on the floor of the bigs coop. There wasn't too much fuss in the morning - no one was injured or bullying. Of course there was the occassional pecking to establish order or reestablish it. But within a few days the littles were up on the roost with the bigs and it's been chicken bliss every since. [​IMG]

    So moving them over after they've had time to "get to know" one another sounds fine - just keep an eye out for excessive bullying and remove any injured ones right away to treat. It's good to move them at night under cover of darkness because that's when the flock will be least likely to pitch a fit about it happening. In the a.m. check to make sure there isn't anything dramatic happening and then leave them to establish their own pecking order. Make sure there are "hiding" places like boxes or buckets or bushes for the babies to get behind in case one of the bigs goes a little too aggressively for them. And mostly use your best judgment - you know your flock better then anyone else right.

    Oh and changing the coop location for everyone will change the chicken dynamics as well - so be prepared for alot of pecking and pushing for a time while they settle into their new environment. But a "change" situation is a good time to introduce new chicks because no one will be the established leader at first - until they reestablish the order in the new location. My babies stick together like a smaller flock within the bigs flock - so you may find that to be the case in your situation as well.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2011
  5. CheekyMare

    CheekyMare Songster

    Well the coop's not ready yet, and looks like at least a week. They can stay in the hurricane stall till it's ready and I'll assess their readiness then. I did bring half grown chicks home twice and released them without too much trouble both times. My yard is so huge plus there's the two horse paddocks for them to run through as well that I think the're lots of room to get away.

    The other two releases were a little older though. I think one set was around 11 weeks and the other was around 9ish. Of them one has formed its own little sub flock of Bantams and the other a small sub flock of normals. They all eat slop together though.

    They've been without heat for 4 days now and seem fine. It's tropical here so 80-90 during the day and tonight it's in the 80s. With nearly 40 chicks I think they generate their own heat pretty good.
  6. themenagerie

    themenagerie Songster

    Jun 8, 2011
    I moved mine outside at five weeks. For the first two weeks they were in a pen within the pen, where the older birds (24 weeks) could see and hear them but couldn't get to them. I put them in the coop at night with their own enclosure. After two weeks I let them out with the big birds, but made sure they had a safe place they could hide that only the chicks could get into. They still get pecked by the big birds if they happen to be close to them, but they've learned pretty quickly to give them a wide berth and run to their safe place if they feel threatened.
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    If they totally free range, the odds are much better that things will go well, especially since they've already been around your birds with success. I would definitely make sure there are various feeders around so they can get plenty to eat without being chased away. And I would be sure to closely supervise during roosting time, to make sure the little ones are being allowed inside. With free ranging, the main concern would probably be predators - not sure what predators you have in Belize (my SIL vacations there 2X a year and has talked about moving there - though I doubt she'll bite the bullet and do it).

  8. CheekyMare

    CheekyMare Songster

    We have all sorts of predators!

    Foxes, possums, hawks, falcons, vultures, boas. They don't actually get to free range but my yard is pretty big. If I free ranged them in the pastures I would likely lose a LOT. My biggest worry is going to be boas. they don't really care about my dogs and will come in the yard anyway. The way we've done the bus it *should* be nearly predator proof except I may lose the occasional bird to a vampire bat or a bird eating bat.
  9. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    Since they have been together with only minor squabbles, I think you can put them together. I did some of mine and they all get along now.
  10. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Mine have been combined since Saturday with the five older chickens - 4 pullets and a rooster. All 13 are getting along fine. The babies tend to rush around together to get away from the bigs when the bigs get pecky.

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