Adding 5 week old chicks with 1 year old hens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by clinkski, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. clinkski

    clinkski Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2010
    Waterbury Center, VT
    I have *4* 1 year old hens and *4* 5 week old chicks arrived today. I have read a ton of info on intergrating flocks but I can't find much info on integrating with such a big age difference. So, what is your experience? Do I really need to wait and maintain 2 coops until the chicks are 14-16 weeks old? Can I let them all start to mingle when the chicks are 8 or 9 weeks and then try to combine all in 1 coop by 12 weeks or so? Any and all advice is welcome and appreciated.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011
  2. kinsey228

    kinsey228 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 28, 2011
    Chesterville, Maine
    I'm wondering the same thing. I have a 13-16 week old flock, and a 3-10 week old flock. I want to combine them, but I am afraid of what would happen to the younger ones. Good luck with yours [​IMG]
  3. marialane

    marialane Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 28, 2010
    Not that I have any answers, but I will tell you what I have been told by an experienced chicken keeper. My husband and I were faced with a similar situation. We had three hatchlings from one of our hens. It was difficult maintaining two coops. The advice was to put the chicks in the main coop at 10 weeks. Now mind you, our chickens, who were one year, had been exposed to the chicks since day one as they stayed in a makeshift coop inside the main coop. It has been three weeks now and slowly they are becoming one flock. Chickens are brutal though and sometimes I feel so bad for the three. It will work out though, and I remind myself of that. My advice is to wait until they are at least 10 weeks old. As far as Kinsey post, I say combine them!

    Good luck!
  4. chickie fam

    chickie fam Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 31, 2011
    Erwin, NC
    I put in 10 week old chicks with full grown roosters and hens and they were all fine. They stayed away from each other for a few days but they all get along just fine!
  5. duniganb357

    duniganb357 Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 12, 2011
    middle tennesee
    i wouldnt put them together. i put my *3* 3 week old chicks in the run with my *4* 1 month old roos and my *4* 1 month old pullets.
    it was a disater. my hens wouldnt go near them and my roosters attacked them. they didnt survive. [​IMG] maybe you have diferent chickens but i wouldnt do it. [​IMG]

    R.I.P: Penguin, Happy Feet, and Rascal. I miss you! [​IMG]
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    This won't help you, but this summer, I had a broody hen, and she could keep the big layers from picking on the chicks. Unfortunately she and 2 chicks were killed by a predator when the chicks were 3.5 week old. I did not know how it would work, but there was not a problem. They tend to hang together, and once in a while will get a 'remember your manners' thump. They were accepted as part of the flock, but I think the big thing is, the chicks, themselves knew how to stay out of reach of the bigger hens, and the bigger hens were kind of used to having them around, even so, I considered myself lucky.

    I do have lots of places the chicks can get too that the big birds cannot. but it did work. I am a believer in a broody hen raising chicks in the flock.

    But strange chicks are in danger of their very lives.

  7. clinkski

    clinkski Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 17, 2010
    Waterbury Center, VT
    Thanks all - 10 weeks sounds good. Right now I have the chicks in a dog crate inside the coop and the hens are making quite a fuss though it maybe more that they lost some space rather than the chicks themselves. This weekend we are going to be able to extend the coop and screen off the "room" so the chicks will be *in* the coop with their own food and water so that will give them 5 weeks to be all together.
  8. jasonm11

    jasonm11 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 18, 2010
    tioga tx
    If you free range them daily and they have a large yard and coop with multiple roosts they will be fine. They will run away form any threat and at night will keep to themselves and will be accepted. Make no mistake they will get chased and if confined may get killed but as long as they are free to run tehy will be fine IMHO.
  9. Chicken Little-er

    Chicken Little-er Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 5, 2011
    We're in the midst of integrating 3 7-week olds with 7 13-week olds. They've been living side by side, separated by hardware cloth, for the last 3 weeks. In the run I have some wire covering a corner of the run -- with an entrance / exit -- the little ones run behind there when the big girls are after them. In the coop, I've kept their place and have the door open just enough that the little ones can get in there too. We're now on day 5 and it's going pretty well -- there are longer periods each day when the big girls ignore the little ones and no one's been hurt. Every day I try to put something in the run to distract the big ones -- a hanging forage cake, a half of canteloupe -- something to grab their attention and turn it away from the little ones. I think the whole process will take a few more weeks but at least it's in progress! Good luck!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by