Age to integrate with adult chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Rooster Don, Dec 15, 2015.

  1. Rooster Don

    Rooster Don In the Brooder

    At how many days or months would you put chicks in with the adults? All three were hatched under a hen who has been with them the whole time.

  2. sniper338

    sniper338 Songster

    Dec 15, 2013
    San Antonio, Texas
    Since no one has answered ill give it a shot..

    Since they were raised with the hen they will be better off from the get go.. most people say put em all together when they are free ranging so they have space... slowly intigrate them.. much depends on gow many other chickens there is, how much space, etc etc... best advice is to do it slowly and keep an eye on them until all looks well...
  3. Rooster Don

    Rooster Don In the Brooder

    I have 20 hen, 2 Roos, a large coop and large fenced in area to scratch and do their thing.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    When brooded by hen they can be brooded and stay with the flock right from the get go. She should protect them until she decides it's time to stop mothering. By that time the chicks are integrated into flock.

    Without mother broody young pullets are good to integrate (for me) 10-12 weeks. If a cock bird is in the flock young cockerels can be mauled if integrated too soon, they need to be of good size and even then if the cock is not wanting another male there will be problems.
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Broody raised chicks are integrated into the flock from the get-go. This works because the chicks have been growing up in proximity and within sight of the rest, so there is no need for any "get acquainted" time.

    I've been attempting to duplicate this broody method by brooding my chicks in the run in a safe pen. They "appear" as day-olds and the flock pretty much takes their presence for granted. After raising nine batches of chicks now, I've learned that chicks under three weeks old lack the judgement to be able to mingle with the adults. In other words, younger than three weeks, chicks don't fully realize the danger that adult chickens pose to them and they're more vulnerable to being injured.

    Therefore, at age three-weeks, I open small 5 x 7 inch portals from their safe pen into the run. The chicks are very fast and agile by this age, and they are able to outrun any adult who might be thinking of bullying chicks for sport. Their food and water is inside the safe pen I call a "panic room", and the chicks don't have to be fearful of competing for these essentials.

    In all these years, I've had just one casualty integrating at such a young age. I hadn't seen the possibility of a small head being thrust through the large mesh of the fencing and a chick was scalped by a curious rooster. Now I run smaller mesh netting around the bottom of the enclosure to prevent this.

    I usually move the chicks into the coop at age five weeks, and it's generally a breeze since they've been members of the flock for all their lives already.
    1 person likes this.
  6. CoopedUpChicken

    CoopedUpChicken Chirping

    May 20, 2015
    This is what I wonder about as well. I have a nursery coop/pen right next to the main coop/pen. My chickens free range during the day. The chickens have been very curious about the chicks and are always walking up to the nursery coop looking at them. A few hens pecked at the chicks through the chicken wire and so I put some hardware cloth along the bottom of the nursery to prevent the pecking and also to stop the chicks from running through the chicken wire (lol).

    I let some of the hens go into the little nursery with the other hen and chicks while I'm right there supervising and it seems like some hens are great (my little silkie loves the little babies) and some are pecky.

    Anyways, the brooding hen wants out of the nursery and she wants to take her 3 day old babies out for a stroll in the yard.

    Should I?
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Wonderful integration method. Ditto your caution re: having hdw cloth around the base of the chick enclosure. I had a hen grab a chick's leg and try to pull the chick under the broody enclosure. Most flock members are ok with chicks, But... there are those few who would cause harm. Good ones to cull IMO. I'd have culled that b**ch if I'd been able to figure out which one she was. I might add, that it's imperative that there be PLENTY of room in the coop for this to work. Crowded flocks tend to be more competitive for all things, including space.

    My ideal is to let broody out to free range with chicks at about a week old. But, I don't let them mingle in the coop at that time. This is totally dependent on your flock dynamics and the placement of the broody in that hierarchy. Broody hormones are at their peak in the first 2 weeks after hatch, and she is more apt to thrash any one who messes with her babies at that time. However, my gal was at the bottom of the pecking order, and some of the hens liked to separate her from her babies just for sport. Roo liked the babies, would tidbit them, but wouldn't protect them or Mama. Just know your flock, and be aware of flock dynamics. If you can supervise that yard stroll, go for it!
    1 person likes this.

  8. CoopedUpChicken

    CoopedUpChicken Chirping

    May 20, 2015
    Awesome reply - thanks! The broody cochin is in the lower echelon (sp??). She did not snap at the silkie hen on the first day, but she did snap at the ancona that went into the nursery yesterday. One of my white anconas tried to pull a chick through on the first day, but i put a quick stop to that and installed the hardware cloth (not to mention, the chicks started to walk through the chicken wire to the outside world lol).

    It will be a true experiment as this is the first flock I've ever had (started in April) and this is the first clutch of babies my flock has produced. I'll observe the dynamics once I let the chicks free range next week with their mama (supervised).

    I think I'll do a couple of mornings next week where they have an hour of freeranging with their mama and keep the rest of the flock cooped up while that's happening - then I'll get the mama/chicks back into the nursery and then let the rest of the flock out. On the 3rd day, I'll allow everyone to free range and keep an eye on everyone. :)

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