Integration of chicks...

Selena

Songster
11 Years
Jun 24, 2008
207
2
121
Port Orchard, WA
Here's my situation. I have 11 mixbreed chicks outside. They're about 8 weeks old. They came with a hen and cock that my folks gave me and was hatched and so far raised outside. About 5 or 6 of them are silkie mixes and are smaller than the rest. I got them at about 2 weeks old, and just kept them outside like the folks did, as they were already used to it.

I have 8 6 week old purebred chicks in a brooder inside. They arrived to late to slip in with Momma Hen, so I kept them inside. They are mostly feathered out, but still have down under their wings. I want to integrate them, but am afraid they may be too young still. They're the same size as the silkie-mixes, and they're similar colors to the barnyard mix, so I don't worry about picking. However I'm worried about the temperature change of going outside. It's only a 8-12 degree difference, but I also have a heat lamp available for them inside, and I don't have one outside. Granted, there's plenty of warm bodies though.

I thought about gradually sending them out, and though I have a garage, it's OLD and isn't much more protective than the coop is. I also don't think I can fit a light inside the coop as it's small.

So, I'm not sure, but I think I should turn off the heat lamp today. It's 1-2 feet above their sleeping area, but they stretch out and wake up throughout the night, so I think it may be getting too warm for them anyway. In fact, one of them is sleeping on the other end of the enclosure right now...

When can I send them out? Their "dust" is getting everywhere, and that includes inside my lizard's tanks (which, it's not nice for Jak and Morgan to go after a cricket and get a mouth of fluff-n-dust instead.) and it's making more housework for me!!!
 

mom4morecritters

Songster
12 Years
May 4, 2008
140
2
144
Northern Minnesota
I had my babies, in a tractor that hubby built, near the coop. For several days I put the babies in the tractor. They all got use to each other and when I finally let my 8 standard pullets join the others there wasn't much of an issue.

Good luck!
 

Selena

Songster
11 Years
Jun 24, 2008
207
2
121
Port Orchard, WA
Saturday morning I woke up to go to work and we had a heavy first frost. Good thing I didn't put them out. Looks like I'm stuck with them inside for a bit longer.


I'm going to do some work on a greenhouse my hubby was building years ago and turn that into a large coop/barn. Just something to give them more room. I'm also going to look on CL for any free stuff to help. They need to get out of my house soon, and I need to be able to give them electricity in wherever they're staying. The current coop is mobile, so we really don't have electricity in it, as it would hinder it's benefits.

Thanks for the info though!
 

SandraMort

Songster
11 Years
Jul 7, 2008
1,115
2
171
ny
I have two dog crates currently in the mud room. One has two 8 week old pullets, the other has a bunch of new fuzzybutts. The big ones can't get to the babies, but the babies can get in and out of the second crate. That is working out nicely, since the babies can escape if they need to, but can learn to get along with t he big ones. Eventually. if they're getting along well, they'll go into a stall in the barn with each other.
 

Selena

Songster
11 Years
Jun 24, 2008
207
2
121
Port Orchard, WA
My older chicks have grown up with their momma outside. My concern isn't that they would get picked on, because I'm fairly sure they'll just blend in with the other half-bantie chicks. My concern is temperature.
 

Selena

Songster
11 Years
Jun 24, 2008
207
2
121
Port Orchard, WA
I worked and worked on the Guinea pen today. It's a dog run we got for free for use as an isolation pen. Until one of my guineas gets stronger it's a temporary coop for them (as they will NOT be separated. They scream.).


I wrapped 1in chicken wire around it and put the girls in there. They had a lot of fun. Except they kept wanting me to hold them while I was trying to work on the wire.
(though I roll my eyes, I hope they stay this friendly!) I did try to introduce one to the flock, (just to see if I could slip her in) and it didn't work. Even Sister Brunhilda (the old, robust, non-laying EE who screams when the rooster tries to court her) picked the little one out!

They chose to nest on the ground instead of in the dog crate I have in there, so I put in a cat carrier in there with 2 inches of litter (cardboard mulchie stuff) and covered with a heavy towel. I put the girls in it to sleep. It's in the low 50s right now and they're all cuddled and feel pretty dang warm under their wings... but it's supposed to get into the 40s tonight. We don't have power out there so I'm crossing my fingers.


I don't see why they won't be fine though, as like I said, they were warm when I checked on them at about 11:45 tonight. They were making the cooing/ "chicken snore". It's supposed to rain more tonight, but I've got a tarp over the entire run. Unless we have sideways rain that goes through a double layer of towel, they should stay dry.


I've tried to find info on when the best age to remove the lamp, but haven't found it yet. I hope this was ok.
 

shelleyd2008

the bird is the word
11 Years
Sep 14, 2008
23,381
96
351
Adair Co., KY
At 6 weeks, they should be feathered enough to stay warm on their own. I have a hen that has 13 4-5 week olds, and she has decided to try to get them to roost. They, on the other hand, do not like this idea, and end up outside in the tractor, where there nest is. She has done this for 2 nights. First night, I got her and put her in the tractor, last night I just left them be. They were all happy, albeit lonely, this morning when I went to let them out.

Yours would probably like to have a light, but I don't think they will necessarily need one. Just watch them, and if they start looking all fluffed up, then you will probably have to warm them somehow.

Did you gradually take the light off, or all at once?
 

Selena

Songster
11 Years
Jun 24, 2008
207
2
121
Port Orchard, WA
I raised the light higher and higher then turned it off over the course of a few days. This morning when I went out there they were all in a tumble... dust bathing in a spot the size of a large bowl. ALL of them. LOL They seemed really happy to see me, and seem to really enjoy the grass and whatnot.

I think they may be ok. It appears that the guineas are getting used to them and even ran in to check out the cat carrier tonight. The chicks didn't like that though. They all stood outside screamin their heads off until the guineas got out. LOL. I guess the guineas will have to work to earn their trust.
 

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