Adding new chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rolmstead3, May 5, 2017.

  1. Rolmstead3

    Rolmstead3 Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2017
    I currently have 8 3 week old chicks. so far it looks like i have at least 2 boys, I have a chance to get 9 more 6 week old girls, is it going to be an issue putting them together.
  2. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 30, 2015
    Rhode Island
    If there is a significant size difference, then yes. The larger chicks will bully the younger ones, sometimes without meaning to. You could split the brooder in half with some hardware cloth, then put a piece of cardboard, or some other material, as a second divider over the hardware cloth so that they can't see each other. Then, every one or two days, slowly move the cardboard so they can see each other a little bit, but still have somewhere to hide from one another. Eventually when they can see each other fully, you can put one of the big chicks at a time in with the little chicks and let them meet each other under supervision. When they get to be about the same size, they can go together.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!

    If you have plenty of space it should go OK....
    ...but best to be ready and able to separate the groups by wire,
    so they can see each other from the get go but not touch.

    The youngers will have home field(territory) advantage, the older will have a size advantage.

    My integration notes:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Some people have absolutely no problems at all in combining chicks with that age difference. Some do. They are living animals, no one can tell you for sure what will happen when you talk about behaviors.

    Most integrations go pretty smoothly. How much room you have can be a big factor, the more room the better. Individual personality plays a big part too, that’s something you can’t control. In Vermont you have the temperature issue too. I assume that’s your brooder in your avatar and that it is in your house. I could be wrong about where it is. Your 3-week-olds probably need another week or two before they can go outside. The 6-week-olds can go outside now. That brooder looks way too small for that many chicks of those ages. Where and how did you intend to combine them?

    I don’t know what your facilities look like so it’s hard to get real specific about advice. If you are brooding where you can physically combine them, I suggest you do so and see what happens. But have a place ready so you can separate them by wire so they can see each other but not get at each other if you need it.

    If you are brooding where you cannot immediately combine them, then I’d put the older ones in the coop now and leave the younger ones where you can provide heat. When you are ready to put them outside, you can either just try to combine them or house them in a way they can see each other for about a week before you let them mingle. Personally I’d house them side by side for a week but I can be overly cautious, you might get lucky. By this time the older ones should be spending most of their tine in the run anyway and the younger will probably stay in the coop for most of the time. In any case have something ready so you can separate them if you need to. Provide food and water both inside and out.

    With living animals I can’t tell you how it will go. So much depends on their individual personalities and the amount of space can make a big difference. But I think you have a pretty good chance of a successful integration with little drama. Good luck!
  5. Rolmstead3

    Rolmstead3 Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2017
    My Brooder is 3'x6' and is inside, I can make it bigger if need be
    My Coop Is 6'X6' with and attached run of 6'x12'
    Not sure of when or how I was going to combine them just trying to do the research prior to saying if I will take them or not,
    This is my first time with chicken, I originally got 8 chicks, For Sexed Isa Browns and 4 unsex BA's. Turns out 2 of the BA's are boys. I have read that that is too many boys for the girls and am trying to find the best way to incress the flock for the girls safety. Not sure if I should wait and see how it goes, or try to incress the numbers before its to late.
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I think you're population limiter is the 6x6 coop.....
    ....I personally wouldn't keep more than 6 birds in there over winter, unless your run is pretty snow/wind proof.
    Winter coops can get pretty darn crowded during those days long cold., windy, snow storms.
    You might seriously consider just keeping females the first year.
    Just my opinion, many will disagree.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    Agreed with Aart. With a coop AND RUN that small, I'd not put more than 6 birds in it.

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