Integrating 7 week old chicks

Sheltiepawz

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
162
315
126
Deep South Louisiana
Hello all! I am trying to integrate my today 7 week old chicks (4 barred rocks) with my almost 14 week old chicks(7 of various breeds). I have had them separated by a fence in the run for two weeks now. We have been slowly trying to do it. Yesterday I let them mingle and everything went well except for the two Wyandotte’s they were excessive in the chasing. They are the smallest of the olders. I Locked the Wyandottes up in the coop and let everyone else mingle and it seemed to work out except the small chicks seem to be in panic mode after some time after being chased by Wyandotte’s. Today everything going better some amount of chasing thus far, but not non stop. SLW started out with chasing and I locked her up for ten minutes then let her out. That seemed to curb it. They do have 2 hide out in run with groceries. How long does the chasing period last???
So far they have been coming in at night. Tonight I think I may try in coop. Looking forward to advice!!! Thank you all! Also the rooster and top hem could care less about them.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
17,830
20,825
912
Colorado Rockies
You've never heard of the panic room method of integrating chicks? It makes it nearly fool proof. You only need to open chick-size openings into the sides of their safe pen, and the chicks will take it from there.
 

Sheltiepawz

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
162
315
126
Deep South Louisiana
You've never heard of the panic room method of integrating chicks? It makes it nearly fool proof. You only need to open chick-size openings into the sides of their safe pen, and the chicks will take it from there.
No I’m new to chickens! If my Easter egger would have been a girl, I wouldn’t be having this issue lol! Had to replace him for my 8 year old. Thank you! How long does this process usually take?
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
17,830
20,825
912
Colorado Rockies
Since your chicks have already been scrutinizing the older chickens, they are already clued in to which chickens have a dangerous streak and they will avoid them. The chicks figure out the small portals that lead back to safety within mere minutes.

They will be giddy with glee over being able to taunt the bigger chickens, and believe me, they are very fast at evading danger. I keep my panic room operational until around age ten weeks when the chicks no longer fit through the openings. At that point, I set up their food on a shelf above the fray so the youngsters can continue to eat without being harassed.
P1010008.JPG
 

Sheltiepawz

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
162
315
126
Deep South Louisiana
Since your chicks have already been scrutinizing the older chickens, they are already clued in to which chickens have a dangerous streak and they will avoid them. The chicks figure out the small portals that lead back to safety within mere minutes.

They will be giddy with glee over being able to taunt the bigger chickens, and believe me, they are very fast at evading danger. I keep my panic room operational until around age ten weeks when the chicks no longer fit through the openings. At that point, I set up their food on a shelf above the fray so the youngsters can continue to eat without being harassed. View attachment 1980772
Thank you for the ideas! I’m going to get zip ties at Lowe’s later so I can make a little card board door. Just to have a visual for them on the green fencing. what do you think about placing them in coop right now? I’m taking them to brooder in garage right now.
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
10 Years
Dec 11, 2009
17,830
20,825
912
Colorado Rockies
Were your chicks brooded in your run? Where do they sleep at night?

I take chick integration in stages. I brood in my run, so my chicks grow up in the flock and are considered full members from day one.https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/reasons-for-tossing-out-your-indoor-brooder-and-start-raising-your-chicks-outdoors.71995/ At age two weeks, I open the portals to their safe pen, and they are mingling with the adults from then on. They continue to sleep under their heating pad in their chick pen until they wean themselves off heat, usually by age five weeks.

At that point, my chicks move into a coop dedicated just to them, although all chickens have access to it, including layers accessing the nest boxes in there. I move the heating pad in there with them and let them sleep under it for a few nights just to transition them with something familiar to them.

After a few nights of that, I move a cat bed in and place it in a nest box on the floor and they are very happy to sleep in that for a few more nights. Then I begin placing them on a perch to sleep. By age six weeks, they are roosting and going into the coop at night on their own.
P1010038.JPG


Moving chicks into a coop with big chickens already there, is a bit more complicated as you can have a bully that finds fun sport in tormenting the chicks trying to adjust to living in the coop. Before I had a dedicated coop for chicks to move into, I would install the chicks in the adult coop early in the day right after the last hen had laid her egg, and shut them in and the other chickens out until bedtime.

This gives the chicks time to explore the coop and trust their new digs won't swallow them up and kill them. That part out of the way, the chicks are comfortably on a perch away from where the adult chickens usually roost when I open the coop so the adults can go inside and roost.

This avoids the inevitable bullying on the floor of the coop and the adults usually are content to get up and roost and go to sleep. I supervise roosting time until I know the chicks are with the program and the adults are complacent with the chicks.

Getting the chicks to go in at night on their own is a bit more trouble with adults living in their coop, but you just repeat each night the ritual of putting them through the pop hole and then guiding the chicks onto the roosting bar until they are doing it on their own. It can take a few nights or a few weeks depending on temperaments.
 

Sheltiepawz

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
162
315
126
Deep South Louisiana
:clap
Were your chicks brooded in your run? Where do they sleep at night?

I take chick integration in stages. I brood in my run, so my chicks grow up in the flock and are considered full members from day one.https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/reasons-for-tossing-out-your-indoor-brooder-and-start-raising-your-chicks-outdoors.71995/ At age two weeks, I open the portals to their safe pen, and they are mingling with the adults from then on. They continue to sleep under their heating pad in their chick pen until they wean themselves off heat, usually by age five weeks.

At that point, my chicks move into a coop dedicated just to them, although all chickens have access to it, including layers accessing the nest boxes in there. I move the heating pad in there with them and let them sleep under it for a few nights just to transition them with something familiar to them.

After a few nights of that, I move a cat bed in and place it in a nest box on the floor and they are very happy to sleep in that for a few more nights. Then I begin placing them on a perch to sleep. By age six weeks, they are roosting and going into the coop at night on their own.View attachment 1980809

Moving chicks into a coop with big chickens already there, is a bit more complicated as you can have a bully that finds fun sport in tormenting the chicks trying to adjust to living in the coop. Before I had a dedicated coop for chicks to move into, I would install the chicks in the adult coop early in the day right after the last hen had laid her egg, and shut them in and the other chickens out until bedtime.

This gives the chicks time to explore the coop and trust their new digs won't swallow them up and kill them. That part out of the way, the chicks are comfortably on a perch away from where the adult chickens usually roost when I open the coop so the adults can go inside and roost.

This avoids the inevitable bullying on the floor of the coop and the adults usually are content to get up and roost and go to sleep. I supervise roosting time until I know the chicks are with the program and the adults are complacent with the chicks.

Getting the chicks to go in at night on their own is a bit more trouble with adults living in their coop, but you just repeat each night the ritual of putting them through the pop hole and then guiding the chicks onto the roosting bar until they are doing it on their own. It can take a few nights or a few weeks depending on temperaments.
No, they were brooded in garage. I do have them locked in coop right now to get used to it. I think I will try this today. The younger chicks do like the roosts! More so than the old ones. The old ones are flying up over the window still and roosting on frame:barnie. The two biggest just started roosting this week on actual roosts as they are finally getting to big for above window. Thanks for all the great advice!!!!

the picture in the cat bed is priceless:love:love:love
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
10 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,141
12,188
707
Southeast Louisiana
The way I understand this you have four 7-week-old chicks and seven 14-week-old chicks. No other chickens? During the day they have been across wire in the run but are separated at night.

It would be really interesting to know how big your coop is in feet, how big your run is in feet, and maybe photos to see how they are set up. Knowing what you have to work with makes it easier for me to make specific recommendations.

In general more mature chickens outrank less mature chickens in the pecking order. They are often pretty quick to enforce those pecking order rights when the immature invade their personal space. I they have enough room the younger usually quickly learn to avoid the older. A lot of the time that's all it takes for them to be peaceful. But occasionally you get one that will go out of her way to be a bully. Sounds like your Wyandottes may fit that description. They my quickly get over that, especially if you separate them when they act up, or they may just be bullies. Time will tell.

The easier it is for them to avoid the older generally the smoother that process goes. That can be pure space. But if space is limited you can often improve the quality of the space you do have by adding clutter. Give them places they can hide under, behind, or over to break the line of sight of the older or just stay out of their way. Having separate feeding and watering stations can help reduce the chance of conflict. Azygous's panic room idea goes along with this.

Sometimes they will mingle quite well. A lot depends on the individual personalities of the chickens, I've seen 2-week-old chicks mingle pretty well with adult hens when the broody hen let them. But what is more common with mine is that the younger form a sub-flock that exists in the general area but stays separate from the main flock until they mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. With my pullets that is usually about the time they start to lay. Don't be too surprised if your flock dynamics change when the older ones start to lay. Their maturity level will change. Things may get better, they may get worst. Or they may stay the same.

My immature brooder-raised chickens hardly ever sleep on the main roosts with the adults until they mature themselves. Don't be surprised if you see that. I don't care where mine sleep as long as it is not in the nests and is somewhere predator safe. When they are ready they will move to the main roosts.

If you decide to lock the younger in the main coop with the adults at night, I'd wait until it was really dark in there before I put them in. Then be down there at daybreak to see how it is going. Things may be peaceful or you may need to open the pop door and let the young ones escape. Or if the coop is big enough you might build a pen inside the coop to house then for a few days, then set that up as their panic room.

You have a lot of options. I'd suggest you base a lot of your reactions on what you see, not what I or others tell you that you will probably see.
 

Sheltiepawz

Songster
Sep 16, 2019
162
315
126
Deep South Louisiana
The way I understand this you have four 7-week-old chicks and seven 14-week-old chicks. No other chickens? During the day they have been across wire in the run but are separated at night.

It would be really interesting to know how big your coop is in feet, how big your run is in feet, and maybe photos to see how they are set up. Knowing what you have to work with makes it easier for me to make specific recommendations.

In general more mature chickens outrank less mature chickens in the pecking order. They are often pretty quick to enforce those pecking order rights when the immature invade their personal space. I they have enough room the younger usually quickly learn to avoid the older. A lot of the time that's all it takes for them to be peaceful. But occasionally you get one that will go out of her way to be a bully. Sounds like your Wyandottes may fit that description. They my quickly get over that, especially if you separate them when they act up, or they may just be bullies. Time will tell.

The easier it is for them to avoid the older generally the smoother that process goes. That can be pure space. But if space is limited you can often improve the quality of the space you do have by adding clutter. Give them places they can hide under, behind, or over to break the line of sight of the older or just stay out of their way. Having separate feeding and watering stations can help reduce the chance of conflict. Azygous's panic room idea goes along with this.

Sometimes they will mingle quite well. A lot depends on the individual personalities of the chickens, I've seen 2-week-old chicks mingle pretty well with adult hens when the broody hen let them. But what is more common with mine is that the younger form a sub-flock that exists in the general area but stays separate from the main flock until they mature enough to force their way into the pecking order. With my pullets that is usually about the time they start to lay. Don't be too surprised if your flock dynamics change when the older ones start to lay. Their maturity level will change. Things may get better, they may get worst. Or they may stay the same.

My immature brooder-raised chickens hardly ever sleep on the main roosts with the adults until they mature themselves. Don't be surprised if you see that. I don't care where mine sleep as long as it is not in the nests and is somewhere predator safe. When they are ready they will move to the main roosts.

If you decide to lock the younger in the main coop with the adults at night, I'd wait until it was really dark in there before I put them in. Then be down there at daybreak to see how it is going. Things may be peaceful or you may need to open the pop door and let the young ones escape. Or if the coop is big enough you might build a pen inside the coop to house then for a few days, then set that up as their panic room.

You have a lot of options. I'd suggest you base a lot of your reactions on what you see, not what I or others tell you that you will probably see.
Thank you! This is our set up. Currently, the littlest are separated by wire underneath the coop. The run is A little over 16x 6 and the coop is 6x6. I have about 100 square feet of run space right now. The coop has two very long roosts that no one uses! Well I guess two started as of this week. We have nest boxes to add, but they will be installed on outside of coop. Currently, coop only used at night, sometimes in day but I live in a warm environment so unless it gets to 40s big chicks seem to stay out all day. We will be expanding run this weekend by 6x6. I’m also thinking of later adding my dog kennel to back of coop to give them a dirt area that they can scratch in as they love the yard so much. I will need to make pop door for this on run though, because we get so much heavy rain down here. Lots of standing water at times, so I want the ability to close it off. I just need to figure out what to put on top of it to make it Secure as we have lots of hawks, as well as other predators.

Easter, the cockerel will be leaving this weekend, if not, he will be gone by next. So we will have 10 chickens total.

Lots of pictures Attached! Included is two photos of the meany Wyandotte’s!
 

Attachments

Last edited:

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
10 Years
Feb 2, 2009
24,141
12,188
707
Southeast Louisiana
Well, what do you think @azygous Chicks are 7 weeks so fully feathered. I don't know exactly where the OP is, could be further north from me, but looking at her terrain I'd think not much. I'm not expecting any freezes in the next ten days, might get a light frost one night. We could have a fairly heavy rain (3/4") one day and maybe a couple others of light mist. No worries about snow so they can get out of the coop all day every day. A little different from your climate.

I'd be tempted to leave them locked in that area under the coop as long as the OP considers that predator safe. Maybe wrap the three sides with clear plastic to keep rain out. They can sleep in the crate if they want to or she could lock them in that crate at night and not give them a choice. After maybe three or four days/nights of this, make the holes in that plastic fence to make it a panic room. Then see what happens.

Sheltie, I'd think they would probably go back in that area at night to sleep, but they might put themselves to sleep in the main coop. I've had both happen but usually they'd go back to their separate sleeping area. At some point they might move into the big coop on their own but you will probably have to do that at some point. Personally I'd want them to roam during the day with the older ones for at least a week before I tried locking them in the main coop at night.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom