Buying chicks of different ages ?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Petect, May 3, 2016.

  1. Petect

    Petect Out Of The Brooder

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    I’m new to chickens and this is my first time posting, but I’ve been lurking for a while and hopefully learned a bit.
    I’m picking up my chicks next week 3 – 4 Barred Rock and a few RIR’s (7 or 8 total). The place where I’m getting them from said they get 1 – 2 day old chicks in weekly. They also usually have some 2 to 3 week old chicks they sell for less.

    Being the cheapskate that I am, the older chicks seem like a good deal, or are they? I’ve read posts from people stressing over mixing chicks with less than a week difference in age together.

    Is there a down side to getting 2 – 3 week old chicks? Should they all be the same age, or would a mix of 2 and 3 week old chicks be o.k. ? Will there be a problem with getting some of the older chicks and some day old chicks?

    As I’ve decided that I’m going the MHP route it seems like there might be a problem adjusting the height to work for different size chicks at the same time – maybe not. Any thoughts?

    I can keep an eye on them for a while, but I don’t want to have to watch them constantly to keep the older chicks from beating on the younger ones. I’d also like to keep them all together if possible to avoid having to do 2x of everything. So, what do you all think?
    Thanks in advance.
    Pete
     
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

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    Welcome to BYC. 2 and 3 week old chicks will do fine together. Day olds might be picked on or trampled by the 3 week old birds.
     
  3. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    2X They should be fine together.
     
  4. Petect

    Petect Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks
    Just to clarify since I asked a few questions. Will it be o.k. to raise 1 day olds together with 2 -3 week olds?

    Pete
     
  5. nativegirl

    nativegirl Out Of The Brooder

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    You might want to keep the day olds separate for at least a week, maybe 2. They need to be able to establish themselves so they can defend themselves from the older ones. Also its always good if the smaller ones have a pack for protection when introducing to older chicks or chickens. Like when I introduced my younger pullets to my older ones I had 4 younger ones and 3 older. So the younger ones outnumbered the older ones.
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Here's the thing you need to understand about day-olds and three-week olds. The tiny ones don't have the knowledge and experience necessary for coping with older chicks. It may require up to a week of being side-by side but protected by a barrier for them to learn the temperaments and behavior of their older mates.

    After that period, the older ones will also be accustomed to having the smaller ones in their midst and the conflict should be minimal. What I do is to remove the barrier and referee. There will be a normal amount of pecking one another while they establish relationships. Don't worry. Chickens work things out very quickly.

    If there's going to be trouble it will show up within the first five minutes. A quick poke on the back of a bully will stop its behavior. If it repeats the bullying, poke it again right away. You can read about how this works in my article linked below under
    "Articles", the last one. Let me know if it's not visible.

    As for the heating pad, it's the only way to go, and will be terrific for two different age groups. Just slant the frame so the smalls can have direct contact with the pad toward the rear, and the older ones can hang out toward the front where the pad is higher and cooler. They may also choose to sleep on top of it instead of under it as they get older, so make it flat on top so they won't slide off.

    Putting two age groups together under four weeks of age will work just fine as a general rule, but you need to referee at first, then monitor them throughout their first day together after the barrier is removed, and discipline when necessary.
     
  7. RonC

    RonC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sorry I misunderstood about mixing day olds and 2-3 week old chicks. I would agree with giving the day olds at least a week to give them a chance Side by side brooders would be good too.
     
  8. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    I've got a few two week old birds and put chicks as they hatching in brooder this past weekend. I don't recommend it. I've very well behaved birds.

    Completely agree that chicks approach one week in age can handle others up to 3 weeks older. The older the birds the larger the spread of age can be. Where problems can arise is if too many older birds and they crowd the feeders keeping others out. Extra feeder and water are needed if that starts to happen. Moving cockerels out will aid in stopping that too.
     
  9. saraem

    saraem Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put a day old chick in with my three 2-week-olds and it went swimmingly...in fact, the tiny one became the bully of the lot after a couple days and was picking on the older ones!

    I do know it doesn't always go so well, though. You'd just have to try it and see and be prepared to put in a barrier (preferably something like hardware cloth so they can interact through it as they grow) for a week until the tiny ones get a bit bigger.

    I would also try to choose the younger ones in the 2-3 week old bin so they lean more towards 2 weeks than 3. In the first month even a week makes such a big difference!
     
  10. Petect

    Petect Out Of The Brooder

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    THANK YOU to everyone who responded!

    Pete
     

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