How do you introduce baby chicks to older hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by FDaniels, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're going to get 5 girl sex links in about 2 wks (extended the time so we can properly get things set up) but we're thinking about getting a couple of started pullets (Red Stars perhaps) so we can go ahead & have eggs until the babies are old enough. The started pullets would be about 16-20 wks when we get them so by the time the baby chicks are 6 wks old & ready to go outside the older ones will be about 22-26 wks.

    Is it safe/smart to put 6 wk old chicks in with pullets this much older? How can we safely do that?
     
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Since it will be six new chicks added to two older pullets, the odds will be in favor of the new comers. That will make your job easier.

    Next, at least for the first two weeks, have TWO feeders, and TWO waterers and TWO separate perches (or one long one). Those are the places where bullying is most likely to happen.

    Other than that, you need to have enough space so that they can run away from each other, and the new ones should be a decent size. How big they need to be, before all are together is very dependent on the individuals. I would pick a day where you have an hour to sit in the coop, toss them all in and watch. Usually, within that first hour you will see if it will work, or if you need to take the little ones back out and wait one more week.
     
  3. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If I have to wait one more week would they be ok to stay in the brooder for one more week or should I string wire down the run to separate them & do the same in the coop to separate them? The brooder will be about 20 sq ft so would that be ok for 7 wk old chicks if they had to stay in it 1 more wk?

    Also, the coop was originally going to be about 48 sq ft for 5 chicks but if we go with getting 2 older pullets as well should we make it bigger than 48 or will this do? And the original run was going to be about 100 to 300 sq ft. What size do you think would be best (since we aren't free ranging and this run will be their 24/7 run) to keep them all happy & feeling like they have enough space?
     
  4. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    As to if they would be happy for that long in the brooder, it is SUCH an individual thing. If they start to pick at each other then you know that they need more space. BUT, you can push the time limit by giving them more distractions.

    You could grow fodder for them and give them a portion every morning, and maybe a second portion in the afternoon. You can give them other things to play with and distract them. Even just changing the location of everything in the brooder every three days can help keep them more distracted and happier with less space.

    Even though the general rule of thumb is 4 square feet in the coop and 10 in the run, more is ALWAYS better! The more space you have the happier the chickens will be, the less problems you will have and the easier it will be to manage them. If you CAN make it bigger, then make it bigger.
     
  5. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What about toys? Are there any kind of toys that chickens (babies & older) like to play with or entertain themselves with? And I have a question about feed if you don't mind. We'll be getting our stuff at the Tractor Supply in town. I've mainly seen Dumor & Purina. Which is better? We'd love to feed non-gmo organic but I don't think our TSC has any. Any advice?
     
  6. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    As to feed..... I live in the boonies, but obviously the hippie boonies.

    My feed is sold at the bulk grocery store in town, there is only one brand, Alaska Mill and Feed, and they started this year offering an organic version as well as non-organic but GMO, corn, and soy free version.

    So, I can't help you with the feed question. (I buy the cheapest, the regular feed).

    As to toys, mostly anything food related.

    Seed heads, a little tray of dirt with worms inside it, some hay with lots of seed heads, weeds, etc.
     
  7. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    What kind of vegetable/fruit scraps is best for chickens? And what exactly do we buy the bags of scratch & grit for?
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    After 60 years around chickens your younger girls will more likely than not be play things and punching bags for your mature chickens. All the chickens in the world cut class the day their school had the anti bulling program. Be prepared to keep them all separate until they are grown and even then it will likely be ugly.

    As far as 6 verses 2, chickens are individuals and are not prone to collective action or self defense.
     
  9. FDaniels

    FDaniels Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So do you think we should just stick with the babies & wait for them to age & lay eggs or is it possible to integrate them? What if we built a smaller run connected to the larger run so they all could interact? Would they be able to accept each other in the main run if we did this first?
     
  10. ChickenPox

    ChickenPox Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes, they are gonna fight and pick no matter what you do. Some are just natural bullies, some are more laid back. But I always try to have "sets" when introducing like you do. Trying to intruduce one bird to an established flock is a good way to get that one killed. It just seems that the ones that are raised together remember each other and always stay in that "clique." The positive thing about the smaller or more picked on group is that sometimes they become more friendly towards the people.

    I have one little polish cross that hatched out of 2 dozen eggs. I was scared to death because I knew it was going to be hard to integrate ONE into everyone else. My last set was not too much older so I got her in with them as soon as I could. They picked all her feathers out around her head and neck. She is alive and fine, but flys to my shoulder and stays there the entire time im in the coop now. It's the only place she gets peace, poor thing.
     

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