Integrating babies into flock

ChickenMamaC

Songster
Jun 6, 2018
141
142
136
Santa Fe, NM
Hi! I have a flock of six two-year-old hens and now I have four 5-week old chicks, one of whom is a roo. Right now, the babies are in a small coop/run within the main run during the day, while the big ladies range or are occasionally also in the run. I have been doing this for 1.5 weeks or so. I bring the chicks into the house at night.

Can I get any advice on how to integrate them past this point? At what age can I let them interact without the safety net of the small run? I would obviously supervise at first. And at what age do you begin letting them sleep in the main coop?

My top hen can be a little mean, and the cockerel is already super feisty and bold. I'm planning to give him away since we are in city limits, but he wil be with us several more weeks.
 

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Jun 23, 2013
9,069
12,871
967
The Big Island/Hawaii
You've got the 5wk olds in a coop/run, that you put in the main run during the day while the big girls are out ... That's a start, sounds like you've to "See but no touch".
Is the chicks enclosure big enough to stay in the main run once the chicks are fully feathered (another 3wks) 24/7? It's warm in NM & fully feathered they'll be fine. The chicks will be protected from the big girls while the big girls get used to having them around. When you're comfortable and allow them to mingle, make very sure you have extra feeding stations & hiding spots the chicks can escape to need be.

What are the dimensions of the coop & main run? It's recommended the minimum space per chicken is 4 sq ft in the coop & 10 st ft in the run ... Space has alot do do with everyone getting along.
 

JacinLarkwell

Free Ranging
Mar 19, 2020
12,632
23,037
701
South-Eastern Montana
Once mine could be outside at night, I moved them into a separate coop near the main one. They stayed in there while my adult hens and male free ranged beside them. (My male was gentle around them but I believe that makes him a rare guy). I let them out maybe a week or a week and a half after starting and since then they're pretty great. Get pecked by the head hen, but everyone else is probably even or even below the youngsters in the pole. Besides my male but he's distracted by my older hens anyhow
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,801
30,311
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
At 5 weeks your chicks can certainly spend the night out in the coop. Any photos of your setup?

This is my brooder page, but early integration info is at bottom. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/

I do things a bit faster. My current chicks are 20 days old, and have been mingling with the hens since 15 days old (no that's not a broody, the hen just doesn't care since she's seen the chicks for 2 weeks already).

early5.jpg

My last batch of chicks started living in the coop at 4 1/2 weeks and taught themselves to roost at 5 1/2 weeks. Hoping to do that slightly quicker this time around.
 

ChickenMamaC

Songster
Jun 6, 2018
141
142
136
Santa Fe, NM
You've got the 5wk olds in a coop/run, that you put in the main run during the day while the big girls are out ... That's a start, sounds like you've to "See but no touch".
Is the chicks enclosure big enough to stay in the main run once the chicks are fully feathered (another 3wks) 24/7? It's warm in NM & fully feathered they'll be fine. The chicks will be protected from the big girls while the big girls get used to having them around. When you're comfortable and allow them to mingle, make very sure you have extra feeding stations & hiding spots the chicks can escape to need be.

What are the dimensions of the coop & main run? It's recommended the minimum space per chicken is 4 sq ft in the coop & 10 st ft in the run ... Space has alot do do with everyone getting along.
The mini coop is big enough until for several more weeks. The main run has ~20 sq ft per chicken.
 

ChickenMamaC

Songster
Jun 6, 2018
141
142
136
Santa Fe, NM
At 5 weeks your chicks can certainly spend the night out in the coop. Any photos of your setup?

This is my brooder page, but early integration info is at bottom. https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/

I do things a bit faster. My current chicks are 20 days old, and have been mingling with the hens since 15 days old (no that's not a broody, the hen just doesn't care since she's seen the chicks for 2 weeks already).

View attachment 2175927

My last batch of chicks started living in the coop at 4 1/2 weeks and taught themselves to roost at 5 1/2 weeks. Hoping to do that slightly quicker this time around.
I don't have electricity outside so there would be no heater overnight. Temps drop into the 50s here overnight. They are fully feathered except their heads.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,801
30,311
1,052
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
I don't have electricity outside so there would be no heater overnight. Temps drop into the 50s here overnight. They are fully feathered except their heads.

That's the thing, you don't need heat anymore, so lack of electricity isn't an issue. The head feathers come in last. As long as the bodies have a decent amount of feathering they'll be quite fine in the 50s.
 

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