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Adding 2 week olds to 5 week olds!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by slickchick, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. slickchick

    slickchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Mertztown, Pa
    I am new to raising chickens. I have 6 5-week old Orpingtons that have most of their feathers, definately one is a rooster. They are outside during the day and in their brooder at night with a light on a small section. I also just got 3 EE's that are now about 2 weeks old. They are in their brooder full time. When can I merge them with the older flock? I would like to put them all in a brooder together and just put the older one's outside during the day but I'm not sure how to merge them together. Any suggestions? Thanks.
     
  2. 4H kids and mom

    4H kids and mom Cooped Up

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    Mar 10, 2007
    Southern Wisconsin
    I always answer these when I see them because I have had such sucess merging all of mine. To give you an idea, right now I have a coop that happily houses my 9 pullets that are 16 weeks old, 3 roos of the same age, 19 chicks that are 6-7 weeks old, my 7 guineas who are 4 weeks old, and now several of my fancy chick babies who are just 3 weeks old. Everyone gets along just fine, because I dont daudle with intros, I just do it. Here's what I have done:

    Make a place where your little chicks can run for safety if they need to, like a little box with a hole cut just big enough for them to fit through. Take them out to your coop (or wherever you have the older chicks) and one at a time stand them in front of the box and show them the hole and put them in. Then take them all out again. Show them where the food and water are since these will be in new places most likely. Again, dip their beaks like you'd do with new babies.

    Once you are sure they understand where the food and water are, take them and show them their "safety box" again, but do not put them in it. Then, just step away. Let the older chicks come see them. Keep in mind there WILL be some chasing, squawking, and even pecking. The little ones are NOT being hurt unless you see blood, let it be! DO NOT INTERVENE! Use the "No Blood, No Foul" rule of thumb. Obviously, if someone is actually hurt (bleeding) you would remove them and wait until they are a little older to try again, but I have honestly never had that happen with all my chickens.

    If the little ones are really being picked on, and have 'forgotten' where the box is, show them it again. Repeat until they run into the box when they are chased. Then LEAVE. Once they know they can hide in the box for safety, they are FINE. Come check on them periodically, but for the most part go about things as business as usual. Do not make a big deal out of it, because your older birds will pick up on the fact that YOU are nervous, which makes THEM nervous, and can make things worse. Just act like its normal and nothing big, and it will go over just fine.

    I have done this with all of mine, and I can honestly tell you its easier to do the closer they are in age (like yours). I got my little chicks (2nd batch) when my older birds were already 9-10 weeks old and had been in their coop for 5 or 6 weeks and really established their "territory" so to speak. But even then, when I did this I had no problems. All of my mixed age chicks and chickens now enjoy the same coop and run the yard together happily. Are there ever tiffs and scuffles? Yes. Of course there are. There will be some with ANY flock. But they are quickly resolved because I dont get in the way! I watch from a distance to be sure no one is actually hurt, butI dont step in.
     
  3. slickchick

    slickchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 2, 2007
    Mertztown, Pa
    Thanks! That is a GREAT idea and wonderful suggestions. I would still bring the little ones in at night however, because I believe it is too cold outside to let them in with the older ones. Or would you let them all together all the time? I guess it would be okay to remove them at night and them re-introduce them in the daytime. Thanks.
     

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