Help needed with introducing baby chicks to existing flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Chickmomma975, May 26, 2018.

  1. Chickmomma975

    Chickmomma975 In the Brooder

    May 26, 2018
    Hi! First post! I have one standard and four bantam hens about three years old in outside run with coop. Got six one week old standard baby chicks two weeks ago. They are growing big quickly in pen in our basement (with heat lamp) until ready to go outside. Live in NC. Temps are 80 during days. Low 70s/High 60s at night. Was planning on six weeks but also wanted to introduce to bantams when similar size to avoid too much conflict with pecking order. Not sure how to determine exactly when ready...i.e. "feathered." Also, plan to put in separate pen inside run for week or so to acclimate. I am worried about transition timing and process. Very nervous! Don't want to mess up existing ones or new ones. Any input is appreciated!

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  2. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Welcome to BYC! If you are still using heat lamp, it's time to wean them off, and with those temps, move them out soon. The divided area for them sounds good. Monitor reactions, some take longer to integrate than others. There are lots of excellent threads on moving chicks to coop, and on integrating newcomers.
    Good luck!
    dunnmom likes this.
  3. dunnmom

    dunnmom Crowing

    Mar 30, 2016
    I understand why you're nervous. I messed up an integration myself. One of the best sources of advice for all things chicken is @aart She may have some good tips as well.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I like to brood in coop starting at one week and integrate at 4-6 weeks.

    If you can't section off part of coop and wire crate can work very well.

    but still follow the....
    Integration Basics:
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    The more space, the better.
    Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
  5. Chickmomma975

    Chickmomma975 In the Brooder

    May 26, 2018
    Thank you SO MUCH for quick replies, esp info about weaning off heat lamp and @aart! I've read a lot but still nervous. Esp bc of mixing standards and bantams.

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