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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by thylton48, Mar 29, 2015.
What is the recommended age to introduce you chickens into the yard with mature flock?
That is a hard question. That depends partly on your flock. How many big girls do you have? How many Little girls? How large of a coop/run? My good friend has a large coop, maybe 8x10 feet. When her chicks get old enough to go outside but not old enough to add to her flock she puts a "brooder" in the corner of her coop. It is a mostly wire structure. It is strong enough with small enough holes that the birds can not get through it. They have their own food and water and they are old enough that they don't need a heat source. The rest of the flock can see them, but not harm them. After a few weeks like this she will try one day to let the little girls out and judges how well they are doing in the flock. If they are getting to bullied she will put them back for a week or two more. If you don't have the space to do this then you need to wait until the are about 2/3 of their adult size.
My coop is 4X12 and currently houses 5 hens and a rooster; they also have acess to a 25X50 run. I don't currently have chicks but will be getting them shortly. Just thinking ahead, think I may try your friends system plenty of room in the coop for a brooder.
I call it a "panic room". I start introducing my chicks to the flock at around two weeks old. They have a pen inside the run where they're safe, and I increase the amount of time they spend in the run out of their brooder, a little more each day.
By age four weeks, the chicks are accessing the main run through 5" x 7" pop holes from their panic room, and when they get chased and pecked, they run back to safety and the adult chickens are too big to follow.
Around age six weeks, I move them into the coop with the adults.
The only reason this works is because of the panic room. If my chicks didn't have this safe area to retreat to, it wouldn't work. Without a safe area, you need to wait until they're around four months old.
Thanks Azygous; I had been thinking about doing that but didn't know if it would work. Think I'll try it when the chcks arrive.
I am wondering about introductions too; I have 8 chicks, 3 weeks old; 3 hens and 1 rooster around 1. I want to start putting them outside. Right now they are in a huge dog crate in the garage w/lights at night for sure. I was thinking about putting them in the crate beside the coop for the day. I was also thinking I could put a 5x5 chain link fence up beside the coop and run for them, with something for them to get in at night. (once it gets warm enough over night). They are not fully feathered, so I would just be putting them out during the day. Does this sound ok? I sure don't want to introduce them too fast. Also, to intergrate in with the others, is it true that is it best to put the chicks in the coop at night?
.edited to add: I do not have the ability to offer them a panic room; no way to connect the run with their area