Combining ages

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Gindee77, Jun 1, 2008.

  1. Gindee77

    Gindee77 Chillin' With My Peeps

    581
    5
    151
    Mar 31, 2008
    QCA, Illinois
    Yesterday I tried to put my four 5-week old chicks in with my 9 and 10 week old chicks. It didn't work. I knew there would be a certain amount of pecking, but it got pretty bad. I let the smaller ones loose in the coop and introduced the older chicks two at a time. Let them be together for a bit, then slowly added two more older chicks until they were almost all together. My sweet Maggie (one of my 10-wk old EEs) did great...she even laid down with the chicks (I got a photo, I'll post it later in this post). I think my black sex-links would be fine but I have one little blue EE chick that just freaked out every time a bigger chick even looked at it. It would run around and get the big chicks all stirred up and get them running after it. Then they'd pick on the babies. I gave them hunks of watermelon to distract the older chicks and they would all eat together and then all heck would break loose because that blue baby would start screaming and running.

    I have had the babies in a mini-coop (read: cardboard box with chicken wire on it for windows so they can all see each other) inside the big coop for two weeks before I tried putting them together. I can't free-range my chicks so this has to happen inside the coop. It's the only place,other than the tractor and they would be too hard to get out if there was a problem then. I still keep a light on in the coop all day/night so there really isn't any darkness to help in putting them together at night. I'm just so tired of these babies having to be in the mini-coop and hope you guys can help. Besides, it's a big box and takes up a lot of space in the coop. I barely have enough room for all my chicks in there now and they are growing so fast they need all the space they can get.

    Here's Maggie during a peaceful moment when the babies were loose in the coop.

    [​IMG]

    Thanks for any helpful advice you can give me.
     
  2. Curlita

    Curlita Chillin' With My Peeps

    158
    1
    121
    May 22, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I'm new to this, so just guessing, but can you keep having supervised play dates like this for a few more weeks until the littles are bigger? When they have more of a size advantage, they might be less panicked and the olders might be less apt to pick.

    Another idea would be to not invite the panicky chick to the party, and let everyone else get used to each other. Then add the panicky one to the mix.

    Don't know if that is helpful; I'm sort of extrapolating from my experiences introducing cats, dogs, and children to each other. [​IMG]
     
  3. FLchook

    FLchook Chillin' With My Peeps

    391
    2
    141
    Oct 27, 2007
    Orlando, Florida
    You might have to give it a couple more weeks, so that the younger ones can become alittle closer in size. I have a baby rooster that I rescued, and Ive been trying to get him in with his girls...but no luck yet. So for now I keep him in his own pen outside with them during the day, and in the evening I give supervised visitation rights [​IMG] The girls still go after him, but when he runs to me they know to be nice.

    Just have to be patient...I know its hard. I so ready for baby to move out of my living room LOL Hes become such a spoiled little brat!!

    Good luck!
     
  4. ChuckenGirl

    ChuckenGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

    835
    2
    161
    Dec 22, 2007
    Maryland :)
    i have the same situation and when i put them together, i have to be near them and they MUST BE in hand reach but when i let them out of their coops and when they cross paths they really dont care, i dont know if this applies to yours but it might be a space or "territory" issue.
     
  5. bigzio

    bigzio Overrun With Chickens

    4,651
    134
    291
    Jan 20, 2007
    Wisconsin
    The really only way to do this is introduction with seperation. A simple chicken wire barrior keeping the two flocks seperate while they can see each other, and become use to each other works best.

    It requires a little more work, because you need seperate feed and water for both.....but saves alot of stress for you and the flock.

    Smaller birds being introduced to adult birds should be around 20weeks, so they are the same size.

    Closer aged birds may be intoduced a little sooner on a easy does it basis.

    Keeping a close eye is the key here, to make sure everything is working out fine. Good Luck!

    bigzio
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by