How to integrate my chicks with my hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by saratchka, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. saratchka

    saratchka New Egg

    Aug 7, 2011
    I've searched the forum but am still a little confused, so I figured I'd ask and hope that someone will take pity on me. I have three hens living (Delaware, Barred Rock, and Buff Orpington) in a 4X8 coop with a good sized run. I also have six chicks, about six weeks old, in a brooder in the house. Needless to say the chicks are ready for more space, but I'm uncertain about introducing them into the coop with the adult hens. Should I divide a section of the coop just for them? If so, is dividing with poultry netting sufficient to protect them or do I need a stronger cage? How do I handle letting them out into the run? Does that need to be divided as well? And how long do they need to be kept apart?

    Thanks in advance for the advice!
  2. Chickanoob

    Chickanoob New Egg

    Aug 7, 2011
    I actually just got some advice on the same subject not to long ago. Best thing to do is put them inside some sort of seperater cage inside the main cage for 4 days up to 4 weeks till they all seem to get along. They need to be secure and safe from the other hens. Another trick- do it at night when everyone is sleeping... I introduced my roo this way. When everyone was asleep at 11pm at night, i snuck the roo in there. They woke up the next morning & its as if the roo was there this whole time. They havn't fought & they do great together. Id recommend the same thing with the chicks.. set the cage up the night before.. and then after dark & everyone is asleep, sneak the young ones into the "inside cage" still keeping them seperate, but together... & I would not suggest (as directed) to put them fully together till the chicks can fend for them selves... maybe wait till they are 3 months old... otherwise keep them seperate inside the same cage for 4 days up to 4 weeks depending on how comfortable they seem to be together [​IMG] Good luck!
  3. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 4, 2010
    Glasgow, Scotland
    I have a 6x8 coop, and I deliberately built it with a pop hole and a run on each side, so I could split the coop down the middle for introducing chicks and newbie adult birds. It helps to be able to have them together but separate for a while. But a lot depends on numbers. Introducing one adult to an established flock of, say, 12 birds will usually involve a lot of scuffling and mild bullying, but introducing 4 adults as a group, especially if they already know each other, could be completely trouble free. Adult birds are easier to integrate than chicks, as the chicks don't know the rules yet, and usually spend a few weeks breaking them, annoying the adults, and getting pecked on as a result. But if you're putting six chicks in with only three adults, it might be quite easy.

    If I were you, I think I'd fence them off an area inside the coop, with food and water in it, and leave them in it for a few days or maybe a week. That will get them used to the coop as their new home. Observe the adult birds' reaction to the newcomers, and if you don't see any sustained attempts to attack through the wire, you might be able to let them all mingle quite quickly. There will always be the odd peck and squawk and chase, don't worry about that kind of stuff, it's only constant bullying you need to worry about. Give them two waterers and two feeders so the big birds can't hog all the food. That often helps prevent squabbles.

    And if you're letting chicks out into a run, make sure that the netting is sized small enough that they can't squeeze through it!

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