How many different age chicks in one breeder?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 3riverschick, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,790
    1,822
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Hi,
    Next Spring I will be hatching from my foundation trio. I have 2 Brinsea Mini Advance incubators which take 7 eggs each. I am thinking of getting one more. I don't want a big incubator because saving up eggs to go in it makes the eggs too old when I finally start the incubator. So this means I can save for 4 days on a turner, then start each incubator. So each incubator (if timely) will hatch 4 days apart.
    So that brings me to my question. How wide of an age spread can I put in each brooder? I will have a Brinsea EcoGlow 20 hover brooder in the cage. Will 20 chicks, as wide apart in age as 8 days difference in age, get along well together? What would you suggest for age span in the brooder?
    Thanks,
    Karen
     
  2. bmgjet

    bmgjet Out Of The Brooder

    10
    0
    22
    Dec 1, 2012
    Was going to ask a simular question that may help you.
    Is there a age gap to big?

    So far Iv got 6 chicks and they are all a different age.
    Oldest being over a week old and youngest being 3 days.
    They seem to get on alright, Just the 2 oldest often have a bit of a play flight and the youngest one can get bowled over if she gets in the way.

    The eggs were all stuck in day after day as the chickens layed them.
    There are about 9 left to hatch the last one will be 9-10 days away.

    Should I sub devide the brooder so they can have 3-4 days before meeting there bigger sisters.
     
  3. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    36,236
    8,049
    666
    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    Chicks of different ages can be kept in the same brooder no problem, but make sure you have enough space for the older ones to run around and play without falling over the slow newbies. I like to keep the new ones separate for a day or two before I put them in with any older chicks. Just to give them time to recover from the hatch, learn to walk properly, eat and drink.
    Small chickens are not aggressive like older, bigger ones, so integration and bullying is not an issue. They will be curious and I've seen once or twice that the older ones sort-of adopt the new babies. But generally they get along well and haven't had any problems.
     
  4. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    For brand new chicks I have found that a 2 week age difference is fine but 3 weeks is getting too difficult. The 3 week olds just are too fast.
     
  5. Fly Fisher

    Fly Fisher Out Of The Brooder

    89
    4
    31
    Dec 31, 2011
    Upstate New York
    I have found that too much mixing is sure to cause issues. If you have some hatches within a few days of one another it should be ok but if they are more than 10 days apart issues will arise.

    Some issues are that the larger birds will be more aggressive with the food and heat source.

    You will commonly see the smaller birds huddled together wherever they can find some peace. This will cause constant stress, slower growth and possibly a higher mortality rate.

    If space is a problem you can address some of these issues by making seperate areas within the brooder each with food, water and heat source. It is also good to provide something that the smaller birds can hide under while preventing access from the larger birds.

    Keeping the light down with red or black lights can also help with keeping activity reduced somewhat.

    Fly
     
  6. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    7,790
    1,822
    421
    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Thank you all so much for his info. It's exactly what I needed to know.
    Best Success,
    Karen
     
  7. mollycat79

    mollycat79 Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    29
    Nov 23, 2012
    Hmm I have this too going on. I have about a 2-3 week age gap and my 3 older girls are ok with the younger 3 but they each group sleeps separately. Will they get on once they are all the same size usually?
     
  8. Fly Fisher

    Fly Fisher Out Of The Brooder

    89
    4
    31
    Dec 31, 2011
    Upstate New York
    They should integrate at some point. The main thing to look out for while they are very young is if the older broood is preventing the newbies from getting proper heat and nutrition.

    It is not uncommon for birds to break off into fragmented groups when resting / roosting.

    You only have a problem if the younger birds are grouped up and off to the side during times of activity. Are all chicks getting their equal time at the feeder and waterer and are all of the birds resting within the prime heat area. If they are I would not worry.

    If they seem to be stressed you should take steps to seperate the broods

    Fly
     
  9. salt and pepper

    salt and pepper Chillin' With My Peeps

    I had no problem keeping chicks together that were around two weeks apart
     
  10. mollycat79

    mollycat79 Out Of The Brooder

    33
    0
    29
    Nov 23, 2012
    One of the older ones is pecking the younger ones in hen house and in run. The other 2 older ones seem to not mind the younger 2 eating and bring near them in the run. It's just the pecking one that's doing it regularly. The older 3 are keeping together and so are the younger 2 while in the run and the hen house.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by