I need help integrating chicks into my flock!!

tizabel_

Songster
Apr 28, 2020
184
184
138
Hello! I have 1, 4 week old chick and 2, 6 week old chicks that are in an outside brooder inside of our chicken run. Sorry if that’s confusing 😅 I put a door on the brooder and created a miniature run for them inside of the other run so that my older flock and the babies can see each other without being able to attack each other. That has been there for about a week.
So this morning I tried to let them out of the mini run and the older ones completely freaked out trying to attack the little ones and chasing them all over the coop!! 😩
So my question now is, what should my next step be? After separating them for a week, how should I introduce them face to face? Should I introduce them one by one, by putting an older chicken into the baby run?
Thank you for any replies! I’d also like to mention that I do have hiding places in the older run.
 

tizabel_

Songster
Apr 28, 2020
184
184
138
I use a similar technique for integrating, but I would never attempt it before 12 weeks, or when the younger ones are at least 75% grown. Otherwise they are not strong enough.
Thanks for replying, I can’t imagine waiting until they’re 12 weeks 🤦‍♀️
They are living in a small dog crate right now, I was hoping to get them integrated soon so they can go into the big coop 😔
 

Pghelp

Songster
Jul 4, 2018
234
365
156
Greater Bay Area, Vallejo, California
I use a similar technique for integrating, but I would never attempt it before 12 weeks, or when the younger ones are at least 75% grown. Otherwise they are not strong enough.
Yes, I agree. Too young. We're letting our 5 week old little ones play in a confined cage inside the yard for the adult hens so they can see and get used to one another but way too soon to put them together. Our next step is putting the littles in a separate coop beside the big girls, see but no touch and no peck. Make sure you don't make the big ones jealous and hateful. I always give treats to the big hens where the littles can see that the queens are served first!
 

Pghelp

Songster
Jul 4, 2018
234
365
156
Greater Bay Area, Vallejo, California
Thanks for replying, I can’t imagine waiting until they’re 12 weeks 🤦‍♀️
They are living in a small dog crate right now, I was hoping to get them integrated soon so they can go into the big coop 😔
If they're that young, it won't hurt to have them in the dog crate a few more weeks. My 5 week olds are in a big dog crate, not ideal but I don't want to see any of the little ones pecked to death by the big girls.
 

tizabel_

Songster
Apr 28, 2020
184
184
138
If they're that young, it won't hurt to have them in the dog crate a few more weeks. My 5 week olds are in a big dog crate, not ideal but I don't want to see any of the little ones pecked to death by the big girls.
thank you! At what age do you think I could introduce them? 12 weeks?? How should I go about introducing them, one by one or just let youngsters out all at once?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,532
20,841
907
Southeast Louisiana
How big, in feet or meters, is your coop? How big, in feet or meters, is your run? Do you have photos showing how they are set up? How many older chickens do you have? How old are they?

My brooder is in the coop. The chicks basically grow up with the flock. at five weeks I usually open he brooder door and integrate them. It's that easy. But what works for me doesn't necessarily work for other people. I have a large coop with lots of clutter. I have a lot of room outside, over 50 square feet per chicken when it is really crowded. When it's not crowded I may have over 400 square feet per chicken. That is what I mean by a lot of room. I also have weather that they can be outside all day every day. It's not just a matter of age, there are a lot of other variables.

If we knew what you have to work with we may be able to give specific suggestions that apply to your situation. There are several generic things we often recommend but I don't know how applicable those are to you. It sounds like you may be a good candidate for the safe haven concept. That's where you have an opening o their little area that they fit through but the big ones don't.
 

tizabel_

Songster
Apr 28, 2020
184
184
138
How big, in feet or meters, is your coop? How big, in feet or meters, is your run? Do you have photos showing how they are set up? How many older chickens do you have? How old are they?

My brooder is in the coop. The chicks basically grow up with the flock. at five weeks I usually open he brooder door and integrate them. It's that easy. But what works for me doesn't necessarily work for other people. I have a large coop with lots of clutter. I have a lot of room outside, over 50 square feet per chicken when it is really crowded. When it's not crowded I may have over 400 square feet per chicken. That is what I mean by a lot of room. I also have weather that they can be outside all day every day. It's not just a matter of age, there are a lot of other variables.

If we knew what you have to work with we may be able to give specific suggestions that apply to your situation. There are several generic things we often recommend but I don't know how applicable those are to you. It sounds like you may be a good candidate for the safe haven concept. That's where you have an opening o their little area that they fit through but the big ones don't.
My run and coop is the minimum size requirements for the amount of chickens that I plan to have. (Though the set up for the youngsters is taking up room) They will be free ranging during the day, so they’ll get exercise. I’ll attach photos of the set up for the younger ones. I have 5 older chickens that are only 3 months.
My run is not cluttered at all, I have a couple boards under the coop for shade, a stump and a bucket but that’s it. It gets extremely hot during the summer so they usually don’t leave their shady area during the middle of the day.
The “safe haven” thing seems like a good idea, the youngest of the younger ones can fit through the bars of the fence but can’t necessarily figure out how o get back in . . . That’s happened twice now. Thanks for replying!

I just realized I forgot to attach the pictures 😂
 

Attachments

  • 8FA26DD4-AE6F-4B2B-A34A-44D25E2EB7E6.jpeg
    8FA26DD4-AE6F-4B2B-A34A-44D25E2EB7E6.jpeg
    972.6 KB · Views: 5
  • 17401EAB-D0BE-4377-BCAA-AA0F49CCAD19.jpeg
    17401EAB-D0BE-4377-BCAA-AA0F49CCAD19.jpeg
    954.1 KB · Views: 6
Last edited:

Pghelp

Songster
Jul 4, 2018
234
365
156
Greater Bay Area, Vallejo, California
thank you! At what age do you think I could introduce them? 12 weeks?? How should I go about introducing them, one by one or just let youngsters out all at once?
Introducing is a process, not all at once. Someone on a different thread posted a brilliant idea. They suggested a gap so that the younger ones could venture out but the gap is too small for the big birds to squeeze through. All chickens are different. Some may accept the littles without a problem while others have a search and destroy mission. I wouldn't do one at a time. It's normal for them to flock and separating the big girls might cause more stress. I'll be honest. We got a rehomed Araucana, a third smaller than our RIR and Barred Rocks. It took from October until the following Feb for us to really feel confident no one was going to die and it involved numerous combinations of isolation for either safety or due to aggression. The reason for the 12 week recommendation is that the pullets are then big enough and mature enough to fend for themselves a bit. I'm planning on starting integration sooner than that, but I'll be in the yard with them ready to swoop in if needed. There will also be flurries of alterations in the pecking order as the littles grow too.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,532
20,841
907
Southeast Louisiana
My run and coop is the minimum size requirements for the amount of chickens that I plan to have.

Not sure what this means as far as size goes but a small coop might make it harder later. If yours free range outside the run every day that should help.

I have 5 older chickens that are only 3 months.

That should be enough size difference to do the safe haven.

Are you comfortable leaving the young ones out there day and night concerning possible predators? It's your decision. You're looking at them and the conditions, I'm not.

It sounds like you tried putting them in that small coop for their first introduction. Don't do that. You are squeezing them in a tiny place and not giving the young ones room to run away from the others or avoid them. The more room you can give them the better. I'd try it when they are out free ranging.

I don't see an easy way to create that safe haven opening. You might be able to cut holes, open a gate just barely enough the little ones can get through, or maybe having a vertical opening where the young ones can squeeze under but the bigs can't. You may have to get creative.

I think the way I'd try it is to give them a few more days across fences and then create one or more small openings that they can leave when they want to. Open it up when the bigs are free ranging and let them come out whenever they want to. If it goes as I think it should, the young ones will return to that shelter to sleep and they should soon learn to avoid the bigs during the day. Try to avoid locking them in that coop or small run with the bigs. What I think should happen within a few days is that the bigs will free range in one area and the smalls will be in a different area.

After they have ranged together without problems for a month you can try moving them into the main coop. When I do that I just toss them in after dark. As long as it is dark inside they should be safe until daylight. Be down there at first light to open the pop door until you're comfortable it won't be a massacre. When mine have roamed together for a month that has not been a problem, but my coop is large and cluttered.

Be flexible. Base your decisions on what you see. Things don't always follow the plan, that's just the way life is. Adjust as you see the need. My general rules are to try as much as I can to let them work things out on their schedule, not mine. Try to give them as much room as you can every step of the way.

Good luck!
 

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom