Integrating 5 week and 8 week old chicks


Apr 9, 2011
My original flock was 3 pullets and 1 roo. They are now 8 week old. I decided a couple of weeks ago that I would like to expand my flock, so I purchased 2 more 3 week olds. They are now 5 weeks and getting ready to move out of the brooder, so I am now wanting them to go into the coop with the big girls (and boy). For the last week, I have been letting them free-range together during the day and then the big girls go to the coop and the babies back to the brooder at night. When the babies got too close, the roo pecked and chased them away. Now they just free-range together, but the babies simply avoid the bigger girls by grazing in another area of the yard. It is like I have two flocks. I don't want to try to force the integration, but how can I encourage the interaction during the free-ranging time? Eventually, I will have to move them out of the brooder and into the coop at night, any advice?
Chicks really act like babies even at 6 weeks, while at 8 weeks they act older and more assertive.

So, you have your assertive 8 week olds and babies.

That is the problem, and it will be much easier if you can hang in there until your 5 week olds are 8 week olds as far as sleeping in the coop at night.

Are you able to wait that long? Or are they in your bedroom and you are choking from all the chick dust?
They will bond in some other ways. For example if they are afraid of something they will usually herd themselves into a group. At least that's what I found with mine. Mine do not free range and they are enclosed in a run. However they have pretty much "integrated" - i.e. they eat from the same feeder and drink from the same waterer and the older ones are not always aggressive with the younger ones (mine are separated by 6-9 weeks in age). Sometimes the older ones will chase after or peck the younger ones but it does not happen that often. I also do not have experience with integrating with a roo because I can't have one here, so I've given them away or culled them before integration occurs.

Because yours are free ranging they will probably not get pecked on too bad. You will just need to provide a separate waterer and feeder to the younger ones until they are old enough to defend themselves should they want to eat with the older chickens. It takes time but they will learn to tolerate each other (hopefully).

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