Chicks of different ages, how to set up?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by avocadoeggs, Mar 30, 2015.

  1. avocadoeggs

    avocadoeggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2013
    So I made up a nice brooder box in anticipation of my first (ever) six chicks I plan to raise in our backyard. However, I'm finding that in order to get the three kinds I want (2 of each), I am going to have to get them over time...two the first week of April, two more a couple of weeks after that, and two more at the end of April. I realize I need to do some separation, but can someone help me think through the logic of how to set up/move these chicks around and how they should all eventually be introduced to the coop and run?
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    The first principle of chicks you need to understand is that chicks raised together form a beneficial "unit" that serves them for life. They derive their self confidence from this unit, and later, it helps them to endure the pecking order within a flock. So you want to provide the environment for this to happen with your different age chicks as much as possible. Otherwise, later you will need to integrate them and they will have already formed three separate units, making it more difficult. The way I would do that is to create a brooder, cardboard boxes are most versatile for this purpose, where the chicks can all see and interact with each other, but where you can keep the different sizes separate should conflict arise. If you're getting three different batches of chicks, I would take three boxes, tape them together in a way there are common walls so every group interacts with the other two, maybe one long box with two smaller ones coming off it. Cut openings into all common walls and fasten deer netting or window screen over the openings, making it possible to take down and put up when necessary to keep the peace. Chances are, you can let the chicks mingle without any problems, but you need to be ready if they decide to pick on the smaller ones. Different age chicks will require different levels of heat, so if you can rig a goose neck multi-head reading lamp that will take 100 watt bulbs, then you can point and focus, close or raised, for each age group. One 250 watt heat lamp wouldn't be versatile enough, and most of the time, by end of winter, 100 watts of heat is usually adequate. Another way to approach the heat requirement is to rustle up three heating pads that can remain on as long as you wish (no automatic shut-off after two hours) and make a little cave with each heating pad in each brooder. That way, you don't have to mess with lights that only contribute to stress anyway. (Read about "mama heating pad" on this forum.) Chicks will keep plenty warm snuggled in their respective caves. I love puzzles like this to solve. Hope this at least gets you started.
     
  3. avocadoeggs

    avocadoeggs Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 1, 2013
    azygous I can't thank you enough - that's exactly the kind of start off I needed to get thinking down the right path! Thank you for pointing out the "unit" fact too...I was thinking of three separate areas initially, but now I will find a way to keep them separate in the same area.
     

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