Integrating different ages with more being younger...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by swampcat, May 11, 2011.

  1. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2011
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    I know that most people would suggest waiting until all the chickens are the same size to integrate flocks, or put them all together at night in the coop, but I wanted to hear a little more.

    I have two 5 week olds (a barred rock and golden comet) and six 1.5 week olds (ee's) that will eventually be put together. The two have a definite pecking order (Big Guy - which I now think is a pullet- takes Nervous Nelly's bugs she catches). The younger six don't really seem to, but there are two that will bully others now and then, but nothing that I would claim to be a set in stone pecking order.

    Now the point of this ramble is: Is it possible integration of the flocks will go more smoothly than I expect because the little ones will out number the big ones? If not, what is your suggestion for getting them to know each other? They are in clear tubs side by side so they can see each other and I let the two bigger ones out and they like to perch on the wire covering the little guys and watch them.

    So what are your thoughts for this chicken newbie?


    Edited for correct ages... sorry about the confusion!
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  2. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    So both groups are the same age ? ? ?

    The sooner you put them together the better!
    I put mine together for a couple of days where they are separated by a chicken fence. That way they can see each other but not hurt each other. After I have done this for a couple of days - -- then I let them out in a BIG area together. MAKE sure there are HIDING PLACES for the lower order ones to hide in. Put TWO FEEDERS AND TWO WATERERS out during this time. . . . . I leave mine out like this all day and then lock them back up at night in the separate areas where they can see each other but not hurt each other. Next day . . .. back out to the COMMON BIG play area with separate feeders and waterers. Then at night back where they are separated. . .

    I keep doing this until they don't seem to be attacking or picking on each other. They will form groups and still act separate BUT they won't be chasing each other. . . . Then I go down to one feeder and one waterer during the day time . . . . Then when everything seems smooth during the day . . . . I remove the chicken wire separting them at night.

    The KEY is making sure there is lots of space, hiding places, and extra feeders and waterers. Since they are the same age. . . the transitition should go pretty quick!

    Good luck
     
  3. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Yup, I'd put them together, too.

    "Same size" I think refers more to same age, meaning, putting 5 week olds with adults is probably not wise. Even then, there are a lot of variables, including the personalities in your flock. I have a chicken wire pen inside my coop, so anyone separated sees and hears each other. I've done some strange mixing (some by accident or escape) that worked very well, and none that was disastrous.

    Knock on wood!
     
  4. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2011
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    Thank you both for your replies. The two groups are 4 weeks apart in age
     
  5. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    I would let the younger group get a little bigger. . . .. I integrated some that were 3 weeks and 5 weeks old.

    I just put them together and it was fine. There were 2 older ones and 5 younger ones. The older group had a cockerel in it who had to establish himself as head roo over a couple of cockerels in the younger group. There was a little bit of scrapping but because the big one was so much bigger it ended pretty quickly.

    Wait one more week and just put them together. Having MORE younger ones will work to your advantage this time.

    I did put two waterers out while they were settling their differences . .. .

    If they don't come together nicely, then you might have to do the "look. but don't touch" approach for a few days
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2011
  6. swampcat

    swampcat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 18, 2011
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    Thanks for the advice!
     

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