Babies ready for coop life?

torch21

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
11
18
26
I have two chicks, each about 7 weeks old. The easter egger is a fairly good size and ready to compete/fit into the flock, but my prairie blue bell is at least 40% smaller than her. They're bonded so I want to keep them together whatever we decide. I live in the midwest (southern IL), so our winters are quite cold but not usually bitterly cold, outside of a month or so in December + January.

Question 1.) I want to put them out now bc I'm concerned that if I wait, they won't have time to adjust to the winter cold and then I'd have to keep them inside all winter. But is 7 weeks still too little? I do not plan on heating either coop over the winter, just closing up windows and adding extra bedding + heated water bowls.

Question 2.) I'm still trying to integrate them into the flock. Although they've been here for 3 weeks and have been in a cage in the run with my flock, my barred rocks & my one RIR are still being jerks to them. I've only let them out intermittently... perhaps I should let them get pecked just a bit so the barred rocks feel that they've established who's boss and they'll perhaps just move on and accept the babies into the flock? There's been no blood or anything when they have gotten pecked, but the barreds do rush them and peck at them when they try to eat.
 

yakitori

Songster
Jun 22, 2020
496
812
161
New York
I just started integrating my 7wo silkies - They’re tiny!
i had them in a pen for a few days before allowing “supervised visitations” from the big 15wo girls. I let my big girls in 1 at a time and let them do their thing. It’s hard to watch, but i think they do need to be pecked once or twice to balance out the order. Honestly, My big girls don’t seem to peck very hard, but the silkies still made lots of noise - like when they were in the brooder and got stepped on by a brood-mate, lol.

after 4 days of supervised “socializing” I left them on their own yesterday in the run, and they did fine. 6C8D5B95-EC6D-4311-BF58-A6EDE4CE0A11.jpeg

This was day one:
FC2DFAC0-16AE-4E06-B8A4-B4D8A8575845.jpeg

And a video of today
 
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torch21

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
11
18
26
Chicks can go outside when they are fully feathered except for their head. If yours are feathered, they can go outside.
I'm not 100% sure on how to tell when they're "feathered". My easter egger looks totally feathered, while my prairie bluebluebell still has some funky patches on her neck.

Should I start keeping their cage outside at least? So they're together, getting used to the cold, but also protected?
 

FuzzyCritters

Songster
Mar 13, 2020
678
898
136
Kitsap county, WA
I'm not 100% sure on how to tell when they're "feathered". My easter egger looks totally feathered, while my prairie bluebluebell still has some funky patches on her neck.

Should I start keeping their cage outside at least? So they're together, getting used to the cold, but also protected?
A cage outside is a good start. If your bluebell looks mostly feathered, she can go outside, but if you are not sure, you can put them in a cage outside during the day and bring them in at night.
 

mcdze

Chirping
Sep 9, 2020
106
111
71
just be careful with those rocks ..establishing their 'order' may be to take them out especially if theyre double the size of them.. in some cases it may be necessary to keep them seperated for quite awhile ..
 

Sammi_0411

Crowing
Jun 20, 2020
1,542
3,427
251
Hey ive had the same issues my bantums 11 weeks old now i put them in coop after weeks of being near my big gals to get used to them. I put them in at 8 weeks as getting to winter soon didnt want it to be a shock. My gals were jerks to them for a few weeks pecking at them not badly no injuries they all finally settled but little ones stick together try to stay away from them. Only things il say is make sure they can eat and drink my gals keep trying to stop them even with multiple feeders and waterers other thing is try to provide hiding places for littlens xxx good luck xx.
 

torch21

In the Brooder
Aug 2, 2020
11
18
26
Thanks everyone!! I've decided to put them in their carrier inside the chicken coop, covered for the first few nights, to at least get them established to the cooling weather before trusting the big girls with unsupervised overnights. Our run isn't done anyway, so during the day they'll all come back to the patio and the littles have places they can hide while we're gone during the day. At night when they get their two hours of free ranging, they follow me around. So sweet!! Chickens are nuts!
 

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