How to introduce 8 wk old chicks to the other adults

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by palabeco, May 7, 2008.

  1. palabeco

    palabeco Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    S.W. PA
    I am ready to put the chicks out to the coop. I need some ideas as to how to introduce them to the adult hens so there won't be too much stress and fighting. I have 5 adult hens and 11 chicks. No run, they free range.
  2. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    I love your questions...I will be doing this next year so I hope you get some good answers!
  3. midget_farms

    midget_farms Songster

    Apr 15, 2008
    Dunlap Illinois
    I did a search on the internet & found this.

    The ideal way to introduce new birds is to move the existing flock and the new birds into new quarters at night, once they’ve been roosting in their old quarters for an hour or two.

    The combination of new sleeping quarters, a new run and new faces means the flock is completely disrupted and the old pecking order broken up, thus avoiding the old established flock attacking (and possibly even killing) the newcomers.

    If you don’t have the luxury of spare quarters, the next best thing is to have separate but adjacent runs with your old flock confined to one.

    If you’re not resting the ground in the adjoining run, you can put your new birds in here, with some form of temporary quarters and leave them for a week or so before merging the flocks (at night).

    I plan on using this method in the next couple of weeks.​
  4. palabeco

    palabeco Songster

    Oct 29, 2007
    S.W. PA
    Since I don't have a run or extra coop, I have decided to confine the chicks in a temporary fenced area outside of the coop where the adults range during the day and bring the chicks back in to the brooder at night. I plan on doing this for a couple days, then will allow the chicks to free range with the adults under close supervision for a couple of hours a day for a few days , then after that put the chicks in the coop after the adults are settled in and roosting. What do you think?
  5. John T

    John T In the Brooder

    Feb 3, 2008
    SE, IA
    I did this Tuesday. I have a year-old flock of 17 (?# of Amer., 4 Light Bramas, a couple of Marans, 2 silkies, and 2 roos) and a 4week-old flock of 17 (4 WCBP and the rest Amer.).

    We live in a communal type residence. My wife’s parents live about 20 yards from us (we get along) and my wife’s grandparents (nobody gets along with the Grandma). They live about 100 yards from us. My wife and I purchased the family farm and what an experience it has been. Back to the answer.

    I was adding on to the back of my coop to house the 4wk olds. I had the walls up, I am using dog kennel panels. I had the chicks in a portable run in the garage until I finished the coop. Came home after work Tuesday and my run w/the chicks were sitting inside my coop:eek:. I was a little PO’d. :thun

    Anyway some of the chicks got out while I was going in and out of the gate to fix the roof on the new coop. I figured it would be better to just let them out so I wouldn’t step on them. Some of the year-olds came snooping around but the chicks really didn’t seem interested in the bigger birds at all. They just wanted to range. My young roo tested his manliness against one of my Light Bramas. The LB quickly showed the young man who is boss. They flared their necks and pecked each other about twice and it was over. The roo went on his way and all was good. They stayed in the new coop last night. Of course it stormed. Again I was PO’d for my chicks being moved out before I was ready for them. Communal living, good and bad. Hope this helps.
  6. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    It is not recommended to put the chicks out with the adults until they are 12 weeks old. Until then they will not defend/protect themselves,
  7. sweetshoplady

    sweetshoplady Songster

    Feb 4, 2008
    Venice, Florida
    I'm going by size when I integrate my younger set to the Delaware's and Millie. Right now, the babies have a pen that I set up (12 x 12) with a tarp over one end. The Delaware's and Millie free range. The little ones sleep in a crate with a horse blanket over it for protection. It's been this way for about 3 weeks.
  8. thecluckstonian

    thecluckstonian Hatching

    Sep 16, 2009
    we have four 1-year-old ameracauna hens and 5 18-week-old pullets. the smallest adult hen is just about the size of the young ones - not too drastic of a size difference among any of them. we tried the combine under cover of night technique and while they do share the space of the coop, the young pullets are uniformly terrified of the adults and confine themselves to the roost boxes while the older hens graze below all day. when an older hen ventures into the box to lay or just to be mean, depending on who it is, there is much commotion, squaking and wing flapping etc.

    there are some minor peck wounds on the young ones but they have to live together so i'm confident that they'll figure it out and eventually stand up for themselves. as i told my husband the other day, who was offering more ideas for easing the transition, 'you can't reason with them to be friendlier.' in retrospect we might have let the chickens all range together during daylight for a few days, re-separating them for the night, and then their coop integration might have gone easier. i'm just making sure to check everyone every day to make sure any major wounds that might occur don't go unnoticed.
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2009
  9. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    IMO, 8 weeks is too early. They can actually be killed if you do that. I know situations where chicks that age have been pecked to death. I never put a youngster in with adults in a coop situation till he/she is about 12-14 weeks old. Even then, it can be rough on them.

    If they get used to each other while freeranging, sometimes that is better. They can't be trapped like they can in a coop.
  10. SimplyForties

    SimplyForties Songster

    May 4, 2009
    Carroll County, Va
    Quote:Can you create a fenced-in area inside the coop so the young ones can be protected and secure but visible to the older ones? Then in a couple of weeks when they're ready they won't be complete strangers!

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