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Integrating 8 week old chicks with full grown hens and one roo

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CluckHeaven, May 11, 2012.

  1. CluckHeaven

    CluckHeaven Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2011
    We have 8 full grown hens (mix of RI, NH and a buff orphington) and one full grown rooster that takes care of the flock. Our next door neighbor is giving us five 6-8ish week old RI chicks. Should I integrate them together now - or wait until the chicks are older? I'm torn on whether or not the hens will take care of the chicks - or attack them at this age, or perhaps ignore them until they are older. Also since our hens free range during the day that is another issue that we will have to consider how to protect them from the hawks. Also - the chicks are still on a different layer feed then the adults...

    Thanks for any help!


    One of the grown-up Hens...
    [​IMG]



    4 of the 5 baby chicks to be integrated at some point....

    [​IMG]
     
  2. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm NO EXPERT at all (I've only had chickens for a week) but I would think that the thing to do would be - first, keep the chicks away from your hens entirely for at least a week or two once they're yours to be sure that none of them have anything that they can give to the flock. Then, you might want to set up some sort of little pen for the chicks where the chickens can see them but not touch them. Do you have a run? Maybe section off an area for the little ones for a few weeks? That way they can still enjoy their baby food and do a little more growing and the big birds can get used to them being around. I've heard that once you're ready to do the actual mixing, you should wait till all the hens have gone to bed, then add the chicks into the coop so that they all wake up together in the morning.
     
  3. mondotomhead

    mondotomhead Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sturbridge
    X2!
     
  4. CluckHeaven

    CluckHeaven Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 22, 2011
    Thanks for the input. The chicks are literally next door - so they have effectively been living off the same land as our flock since they arrived. I really like the idea of a pen inside the run (even though the adults only eat and drink in the run and then free range throughout our 10 acres during the day).

    The core question is whether or not it's better to integrate as they are little in the hope that the hens will "mother" them at this age - or wait until later and integrate them at night (as has been suggested in other forum threads as well).

    We are really excited about adding the new chicks - just a little nervous that we do it the right way since this is the first time that we are integrating new chickens in with the eixting flock.
     
  5. canesisters

    canesisters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't think that the hens will mother them at all. I think that the hens are going to see them as chickens and start to establish them in the pecking order.
    I read on here somewhere a little bit ago where someone had a pen inside their run for integrating chicks. After a while, they raised the chicks' pen just a little bit off the ground. That way the little ones could get away from the hens if things got too rough by running under the edge.
     
  6. Joe.G

    Joe.G Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put my chicks out in the coop at about six weeks in a gate off section, then at 8 weeks they were in the yard with the big ones for a couple day ( they stayed apart ) then I left them in teh coop for a day out of cage big chicks could see them them when they came in to lay the chicks didn't go out of coop and then right before dark and hens came in I re gated them. When night came and it was real dark I went out removed teh gate and put each chick on the roost. All has been well for a week now. They free range during the day and roost at night. there is minor pecking here and there but nothing bad.
     
  7. bj taylor

    bj taylor Chillin' With My Peeps

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    i'm in the process of integrating mine also. this morning i let the big girls out, then i put the little ones in the coop (from the people door). they checked out the coop a little bit, then went out the pop door. the big girls were nearby but didn't raise any objection to little snot nosed kids coming out of their very own private digs.
     
  8. amillecay

    amillecay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 29, 2011
    Never integrate chicks that young because the other chickens WILL attack them they may even get killed because they are so much smaller, you will have to wait till they are almost to full size before you do much with them. When adding other chickens to your flock there is two ways that people mainly do it one would be to have them in a big dog crate or some part of the run separated off etc. and the other would be to put them in there at night when every one is sleeping because they all wake up and think the new chickens are just part of the flock but you can't guarantee that no one will get picked on, the way I have seen to be more successful is to have them separated off where the other chickens can see but not touch this is also nice if they are on other feed, no need to worry about who gets what.

    As for quarantine even though they are next door it doesn't guarantee much that they will be fine because they are still on a different property I would not worry about it too much though because they are kinda on the same dirt but I think it would be best to just have them in a spot where they can be seen and not touched by the others and it will be enough.
     
  9. amillecay

    amillecay Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 29, 2011
  10. themenagerie

    themenagerie Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have successfully integrated chicks as young as six weeks into my flock. I got them as four week olds, kept them in a separate enclosure inside the pen and also inside the coop at night, so the hens and roo's could see them and hear them but not hurt them. My most recent batch is eight weeks. I just let them loose with the flock inside the enclosure, I stayed for close to an hour watching. Only one hen out of twenty paid them any notice at all, she chased and pecked them a bit, but she's sort of a witchy girl if you know what I mean. They learned pretty quickly to stay far away from her. They do have a safe area under the coop they can get to that the big ones can't get in. I specifically chose my flock because I did not want breeds known to be aggressive, I have Orpingtons, Welsummers, Easter Eggers, Speckled Sussex, an Australorp and a Wyandotte who's too busy brooding to notice the newbies.
     

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