integrating new chicks with the adults

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by funnyernie, May 11, 2009.

  1. funnyernie

    funnyernie New Egg

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    May 11, 2009
    How should we integrate our chicks in with our 5 adult hens and 1 adult rooster? I saw the post about the 10wk and 4wk chicks. Should we follow the advice given for that situation?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Do not know what post you are referring to.

    Most say to let the new ones become adult size before trying to integrate.
     
  3. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    If your hens free range you can do what I did. About a week before I wanted to put my 11 week olds into the big girls coop I started letting them free range near the older chickens as I hovered near by to intercede if fighting broke out. Then one late afternoon/early evening I put the chicks into the coop for about an hour before the big girls returned to roost. When the big girls came in to roost the chicks were just there.

    I am not saying it is completely without problems though. I wouldn't do this any younger than 11 or 12 weeks old. My nesting bucket structure is about 6" or 8" off the floor of the coop. It provides a getaway space for the chicks when the hens get too rowdy with them. So if you do introduce them like I did you should have a getaway spot for the chicks, someplace they fit that your older hens would not. Just a wooden box that will fit all the chicks for a couple of weeks that has a door small enough for only the chicks to enter would do fine. That will give the chicks the option to hide if the hens are getting rough with them. My chicks have learned when to retreat and when it's safe to come out. No serious injuries have been seen on any of the little ones. They have learned to skirt the walls when the older chickens are in the coop and during free range time they wait until the hens leave, then they come out and eat and drink for a while. When they are happily fed and watered most of them will hop out of the coop and go range away from where the big chickens are foraging.

    Another option, if your coop has the room for it is to set the chicks up in their brooder, or a dog crate, inside the coop. Make sure that the big chickens can't get into it. Let the chicks live like that in the coop for a few weeks so everyone gets used to the living space sharing and then let the chicks out into the coop proper. Of course watching at first to be sure the big hens don't hurt the chicks!
     
  4. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mason WV
    Mine were about 3 = 4 weeks old when I put them in the brooder inside the coop. After two days I let them out & I only had one chicken that was hard on them. I tied a baby food jar lid around her leg for two days & every time she would go after them that lid would catch her attention & she would stop. With out it I am sure she would have killed them.
     
  5. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    kingmt, I wish my hens were as docile as that. They have been in the same coop since Wednesday last week and the hens still pick on the chicks when they get the chance. Maybe it is better to introduce them younger like that.
     
  6. kingmt

    kingmt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I put a lot of things in the floor for them to run around. That flashy thing seemed to do the trick though. The funny thing to me is they let the chicks roost with them & I never thought that would happen. Maybe they know in a few more weeks they will be bigger then them.
     
  7. firedove

    firedove Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 10, 2008
    Fitzwilliam NH
    [​IMG] If only my layers knew how big their new roommates will be. The chicks are Wyandottes and will certainly out size even my biggest Golden Comet hen. My Wyandotte rooster is already about 1 and a half times the size of my biggest hen!
     

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