Adding new chickens


6 Years
Feb 17, 2013
I have a small flock of mature hens and rooster (6 hens and the rooster). I also have 35 5 week old chicks I need to get out of the brooder in my garage now that they are feathered and it's warm. Can I add them to the existing flock? I have a 10x12 coop and a 45x55 fenced in enclosure. Any thoughts?

I forgot to ask this question too..............what about feeding them? Is it okay to feed them the organic layer feed the older chickens are eating? I have no idea how to keep the different feeds separated.

Hmmm.. usually people don't introduce chicks until 6-8 weeks if possible. But if you think they are ready, then it's ok. It depends on a matter of things, the chicken's personalities, the breeds ect. But, since you have such a LARGE amount of small chicks compared to you older hens, I think it'd be ok. I'd suggest letting them out one morning where you're going to be home all day, let them all out in the morning into the fence area and watch them. I'd be surprised if the hens don't just about ignore the chicks, but just watch to make sure that nobody is attacking. Then at night, put them all together and see how it works out. I'd put them in, there is going to be some squawking, just let them work it out for about 10 minutes, then go outside and if it's still going on, then go ahead and intervene.

As for feed, a lot of people on here will tell you to not feed layer to your chicks because there is too much calcium. We used to do it without too many problems, but our hens also free ranged a lot so they basically only ate the feed when it rained. If they have plenty of room to free range they'll be plenty ok. But, if they don't have a super a lot to free range (it's not just area, but also what kind of things are available, is there a garden they can go through, or is it just grass? is it just dirt? ect) then I'd suggest getting a standard flock raiser then just sprinkling oyster shell on the ground, the chicks won't eat it if they don't need it.

Thanks for the great reply. I forgot to add that my flock normally free ranges my 20 acres. They have a lot of grass and bugs and stuff to eat and spend a lot of time around my 90'x100' pond eating whatever is there too. They seem to find a lot of things there to eat. My enclosed area around the coop isn't normally used to contain the chickens. I just thought it might be good to contain all the new ones with the old flock in the enclosure until they get used to the coop and each other. Then I planned on letting them all free range the farm.

I asked at the store I'll probably get my next batch of chicks from, and was told that anywhere from 9-12 weeks, they'll be able to take the lumps of establishing their position in the flock. I won't claim to be an expert and it's been a while since I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express, but it matched well what other chicken folk have told me.

My three remaining birds do the "wander and forage" thing, too. Now that they have the "henitentiary" for the nighttime hours, they're safe while they sleep.
Well, it seems I had little choice but to add the chicks to the older flock. A groundhog got into the brooder pen in my garage and terrorized the chicks. He apparently hurt one or more as there was blood all over the waterers. I caught them all and the only other place I could put them was in the coop/enclosure area. They've been in there for 4 days now and seem to be doing pretty good with the old hens and rooster. They stay in "opposite corners" of the coop and enclosure but generally seem to be getting along. I have 2 hens that are aggressive to them once in a while and will stalk and chase them. The rooster went over and looked them over as soon as I placed them in the pen and then turned away and hasn't paid any attention to them since. I haven't got too much choice but to mix the feeds. I have 2 large plastic feeders I used for the chicks and I fill one with layer and the other with chick feed and alternate the feeds so they get a little mixed up. Both flocks eat out of both feeders. So far the transition hasn't been too bad!


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