At what age...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CariLynn, May 9, 2011.

  1. CariLynn

    CariLynn Songster

    Aug 23, 2010
    State of confusion
    Is it alright to take the young chicks and put them in the already established flock? My peeps are about 5 or so weeks old, have most of their feathers, and just today, put Mama back in with the main flock. When do they go off of chick crumbles and something different?

    As for Mama, she paced a bit then started to settle down but ever so often would pace. My rooster must of mounted her a good 30+ times and I was amazed he would do his dance she would spread her wings and drop for him! Is this normal? When will he leave her alone and she go back to laying eggs? I did get one egg that wasn't as large as the rest so maybe she already laid one? But can it be that soon?

  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    I don't forcibly remove my mama from her chicks. She's with the flock, with her chicks and when she kicks them loose is her decision. That way the chicks are intergrated into the flock by mama, not me.
  3. mdbokc

    mdbokc Songster

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
  4. Hillbilly Hen

    Hillbilly Hen Crowing

    Apr 11, 2009
    Newaygo Michigan
    X 3
  5. Celtic Chick

    Celtic Chick Crowing

    Apr 7, 2011
    SE Wis
    But if they no longer have momma's protection, don't put chicks in with adults unless you want dead chicks.
    Introducing chickens is a time consuming process, just so you know.
    Never just throw new chickens into an existing flock. The results can be catastrophic. You need to have an introduction period of at least a few days to a week, preferrably with the new ones fenced off so the "old" ones can't tear them to pieces.
    If you have chicks, the general rule for adding new birds to an already existing flock is to wait until the newcomers are roughly the same size as the established birds. That way, they can at least defend themselves. Otherwise, they will be seriously injured or even killed.
    Unacquainted chickens are going to fight, and unfortunately there is not much that can be done about it. It would be nice if chickens could all just get along. Unfortunately, that was not programmed into their DNA. Chickens are cruel when it comes to outsiders until the pecking order becomes established. Once that is out of the way, peace should once again return to the kingdom. [​IMG]
    I would suggest that when you do finally put them together for the first time that you have the garden hose ready just in case anyone gets a little too out of hand. One quick shot of water should do it. [​IMG]
    As for feeding them, start chicks on a 20% protein (24% protein for broilers) commercial chick starter for the first 8-10 weeks, either medicated or not. Then switch to a 18-19% chick finisher/grower until they are of laying age (16-20 weeks).

  6. CariLynn

    CariLynn Songster

    Aug 23, 2010
    State of confusion
    Thanks all for the reply. The reason I took Mama back to the flock is she was pecking at them, they were not using her any longer for warmth and they do have their own giant dog crate that we take out and they have their own roofed and round pen roughly about 5ft around. They were not frantic, didn't seem to even realize that she is gone, and are all happy and healthy tonight when I ushered them into their crate to be closed up for the night and they are put in our basement and covered on the sides, as well as have roosts now to go up on and perch for the night.

    I also know what to do to introduce them to our flock. We intend to put up another piece of fencing for them so they have part of the yard that our main flock goes into each day. That way they can see one another, hear each other and get use to the sight and sounds as well that each one makes. That is how I did it when I brought 3 new hens home and it worked out fairly well. I think with them we took 2 weeks and took our time, when they were allowed finally into our flock, there was some scuffling, chest bumping, feathers were jerked out by our alpha hen but after a few days things were alright.

    My rooster, Chief, was very good about breaking up skirmishes or fights, rushing over to literally go between the hens and bump the instigator away or usher the one who was being gone after to a more quiet area of the yard.
    Last edited: May 10, 2011

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