How big do my chicks need to be before releasing them in the coop with my laying hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by farmerbrownsdaughter, Apr 3, 2012.

  1. farmerbrownsdaughter

    farmerbrownsdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Maple Ridge, B.C.
    I know chickens can be mean but at what size/age is it safe to put my chicks in with the others?
     
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    Hi there!

    My rule of thumb is, I only introduce young chickens to an established, older flock when they're the same size, or very close to the same size. Never just throw little ones into the coop with big ones right off the bat. The larger hens and rooster can kill the little ones.

    I keep them in separate rooms in the coop so that they can see eachother, but not touch eachother. Then, I'll put the juveniles outside on nice days, in a fenced area, while the adult chickens free range in the same area.

    Once the young ones are getting pretty big, I let them free range with the adults, and before ya know it, they all go into the coop together.

    Usually, there aren't much problems with this method, but a little bit of agressive behavior is common for about the first week or so.

    Hope this helps,
    Sharon
     
  3. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    Dec 22, 2009
    X2 [​IMG]
     
  4. farmerbrownsdaughter

    farmerbrownsdaughter Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 27, 2009
    Maple Ridge, B.C.
    Thank you, I guess I have a bit of a wait ahead of me, oh well at least the weather is getting better and they can go outside soon!
     
  5. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Yep, I don't force young birds to sleep with adults in the layer coop till they are about the same size. However, they co-mingle free range style without supervision at 6-8 weeks.
     
  6. DangerChickenHouse

    DangerChickenHouse Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 30, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    Thanks for this! Mine are about 6 weeks. I'm going to let them free range with the big birds tomorrow!
     
  7. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Just keep an eye on them and make sure they have a place to go hide if needed. The big girls tend to have their preferred spaces, and the youngins have their own preferred spaces so they meet in passing for the most part. Rather, the young ones get the eye from the elders and book it in the other direction. I literally free range without a fence border, if one "free ranges" within a backyard fence, you'd want to pay closer attention to what's going on and wait till the little ones are fast enough/big enough to get out of the way.
     

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