incubating back to back - batch 2 safe with batch 1?


King of the Intardnets
10 Years
May 8, 2009
Naoussa, Greece
i know this should probably be in raising baby chicks but i figure you guys will probably have more experience with it.

our first hatch did not end well. 6 eggs, 4 infertile, 1 didn't hatch so now we have 1 baby, currently 1 week old.

we'd like to incubate another batch (eggs from someone else this time) so she has some company until she can go into the big coop but we're worried about putting the new babies in with a 1 month old as she'll be at the time.

we have a cage inside the house for newborns, and i made a mini-coop/brooder (2x0.75m) for when they're a bit bigger so i have some flexibility for keeping izzy (the new girl) seperated from the new batch if i have to for a little while.

i know strictly speaking it's not a great idea, i also know there are plenty of people who do it and get away with it without any problems.

thoughts? advice?


10 Years
Aug 9, 2009
Country of Power Failure
probably until the new hatched 3 months and the older is 4 months, but make sure to have a proper introduction, better to divide them with a hardware cloth/chicken wire and let them know each other for 1 month, so if the older is aggressive, he won't be able to hit the young.


11 Years
Jun 15, 2008
I mix them all the time. I've often got 3 different age groups in a brooder. Especially if there is only 1 older chick. You need to give her some friends. Wait until the new ones are steady on their feet and eating and drinking. Then I'd just put them together. Yes the older one will peck them but I've not had them come to any harm and they give it up quickly. Yesterday I moved some 1 month olds out with 3-4 month old sebrights and 2 3month old standards to the huge brooder on the screened porch. Previously in that brooder I had several month old standards, the sebrights when they were just 2weeks old, guinea fowl that started at 3 weeks old, and a 6month old bantam hen with a bad leg. The guineas and standards were old enough to move out to the pen in the coop and the hen recovered enough to join the flock again. I left the sebright and moved the ones in the house out with them. Soon I'll have seramas and japs hatching and after a few weeks in the house I'll probably add them to the group on the porch as well. Maybe I'm lucky but I've yet to have one injured and after a few days of avoiding them the younger ones start mixing with the older ones. Within a week or 2 you'd never know they weren't raised together from day 1.


11 Years
Aug 13, 2008
Holland, MA
We have hatched back to back that way and at three weeks old when the younger birds ar mostly fully feathered we put the two groups together 6 older chicks and 9 youngerchicks, they get along great and there are no major issues. the older ones will occasionally muscle the younger ones away from the food but it is only briefly and never with any major fighting, just a gentle push over type of thing. If they are the same breed and you watch them closely for the first couple of days you should be fine doing the same thing. if you do it before they get feathers the older birds will be more likely to hurt the younger ones if they do have a squabble. Most integration problems happen when you have more mature birds that cluck in with young birds that cheep, for some reason they go after the cheeping and can cause injuries.

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