Idea for integrating new chicks into flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mr.hutch23, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. mr.hutch23

    mr.hutch23 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 30, 2010
    I have one SS rooster, one SS hen and 5 Austalorp hens in my coop, all five months old. I have 15 day old chicks coming next week, they will go in the brooder in the basement. We are in Northern VT. Everything I have read tells me not to try to put the younger chicks in the coop with the older until they are the same size. The problem is I don't think my 6'x6' pen in the basement is big enough to hold 15 birds until they are full-size (Dominiques and SS). I have a couple of different ideas on how to handle this:

    1. Put all the new birds in the coop at 8-10 weeks old. Perhaps there are enough of them that the size/age difference won't lead to attacks. (unlikely)
    2. Between 8-10 weeks let the birds free-range in the backyard together. One day put'em all back in the outdoor coop together.
    3. At 8-10 weeks swap housing. Putting the 7 older birds in the basement pen and the 15 new birds in the outdoor coop (8'x14'). After 2-3 nights start putting the older birds back in the outdoor coop 1-2 at a time, each day, until they are all in the outdoor coop together. (This sounds kind of weird but I'm leaning this way)

    Your comments and suggestions are much appreciated.
  2. debs_flock

    debs_flock Overrun With Chickens

    Sep 14, 2011
    Shingle Springs, CA
    I tried #1 and they tried to kill the younger girls.

    Then I went to #3 and now my 2 2+ mos old pullets have been with my 14 4+ mos old flock for about a week now. The younger girls still spend most of their day avoiding the older, but they are all living together.

  3. fresheggs4u

    fresheggs4u Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 6, 2007
    The way I make it work is that I have two runs side by side the new chicks are in one and the older birds in the adjoining one. The only thing between them is chicken wire.

    I let them get used to each other from a few weeks old to about 8 weeks. Then I put the young birds in with the older ones and have never had a problem. I sometimes will throw feed in the fence row and force them to get close to each other at a young age.

    This works for me.

    I use this all the time as i raise my own meat birds and have young ones all the time as well as older ones.
  4. mr.hutch23

    mr.hutch23 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 30, 2010
    I don't have a run, just a coop and a very large (~1 acre) backyard. Plus will be at the beginning of Vermont winter when these birds are 8 weeks old, which adds additional problems. I would love to hear more suggestions on how to accomplish a smooth transition.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by