How old before removing barrier between older chicks and younger chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Erin80, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a quarter of my coop barricaded off right now for my 3 silkies who are 4 weeks old. On the other side of the barricade are my 5 almost 10 week old barred rock pullets. They have been sharing the coop like this for a week now. The barricade is just some lattice, so they can see each other through it well. The silkies are SIGNIFICANTLY smaller than the BR's right now, and most likely always will be I'm guessing. When is a good age to remove the barrier? How should I go about that?

    I have 2 Ameraucana's and 2 Icelandics in my basement right now who are 2 weeks old. I'd like them out in the sectioned off part of the coop by the time they are 4 weeks, but if the silkies are still in there, then that's not going to work!
     
  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    With my limited experience, the younger birds merged easier, vs when they were older. I'd say once they are fully feathered to go for it, but since the silkies will always just be fuzz, you could try for it now, before the barred rocks get older.

    One idea is to wait two weeks, and then put the Ameraucanas and Icelandics with the silkies. Since the silkies are older and they were in the corner of the coop first, hopefully they won't get picked on as much (with my experience, silkies are really gentle, but can get picked on a ton). Then in a week or so, you could put all the new birds in the rest of the coop. Hopefully with 7 birds being introduced, they won't be hurt as much than if they were slowly put in.

    Since your birds can already see and peck each other through the lattice, all you have to do is remove it and keep an eye that all the birds are still able to get to the food and water (sometimes the older birds will keep the newer birds away) and that no blood is shed. If the food and water is an issue, you can always get another set to put up somewhere else, to give the newer birds a chance to eat and drink.
     
    SueT likes this.
  3. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    The sooner you remove the barrier the quicker your chickens can get on with the business of playing "king of the mountain" which is what the pecking order is all about. It (IMHO) is better to let your peeps get their aggression worked out while they are young because at a young age chicks don't harm their flock mate as severely working out whos/who in the pecking order.
     
  4. Erin80

    Erin80 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks!
    We are going to move the littlest ones from the basement to the coop today, but they will be in a tote in the coop with the silkies (covered with wire), so they can see each other for a few days to a week. After they are all together without issue, we will remove the lattice and see how it goes with the barred rocks.
    It's awesome that it's summer time now, so our chicks will be just fine in the coop....there's a lamp in there for them anyway, but I doubt they will need it during the day.
     
  5. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    You've already gotten good advice. It's always better to start integrating new chicks with older flock members as early as possible. Your method is a good one.

    You might add smaller-sized openings to the safe pen so the very small chicks can get away from the older ones without them following. Food and water kept in this safe pen will make certain everyone gets enough to eat without being chased away from essentials.

    Also, there's a possibility your BRs will be a problem for the Silkies. You are dealing with two breeds that are complete opposites in temperament. Modifying your safe pen after all are fully grown to accommodate the Silkies will provide them with a panic room where they can always find refuge should they need it.
     

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