Integration

Cluckingtime

Songster
May 23, 2022
432
945
206
Central Maine
I currently have 7 6 wk old chicks that are fully off heat and in a coop going outside into the run daily. Yesterday I purchased 6 more chick's approx 1 wk old. At what age should my babies be to start integration? 6-7 weeks?
 
Totally depends on your circumstances. If its warm and you have a way to keep the little ones separate but visible to the big ones you can bring them out a bit during the day. The main problem will be the size difference so I wouldn't throw them in together until the little ones are bigger. But they aren't very into establishing a pecking order when they're that age.
 
Totally depends on your circumstances. If its warm and you have a way to keep the little ones separate but visible to the big ones you can bring them out a bit during the day. The main problem will be the size difference so I wouldn't throw them in together until the little ones are bigger. But they aren't very into establishing a pecking order when they're that age.
I dont plan to try any integration until the little ones are at least 5 or 6 weeks I guess I was wondering if that was an ok age to start..
 
I dont plan to try any integration until the little ones are at least 5 or 6 weeks I guess I was wondering if that was an ok age to start..
Definitely. I put three week old chicks in with a couple day olds and they were fine except one of the day olds got stepped on. Once they were a couple weeks old they were fine with the bigger ones and one of the big ones even sort of mothered them
 
I would get them side by side 24/7, separated by wire, asap.
How big is your coop, in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics would help here.
Coop itself isn't big enough for a separate cage but our inside cage attached to the coop is big enough.. I wasn't sure about doing this just yet as the new ones are so little in comparison.. our inside set up.... don't mind hubby in cage with cat lol
 

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My brooder is in the coop, it has electricity. The chicks go there straight from the incubator or post office. Since they grow up with the flock and I have lots of room inside and out, when they hit 5 weeks old I just turn them loose. They are basically integrated. If you don't have a heat source in the coop you obviously can't do this.

In the heat of summer I've had broody hens wean their chicks at three weeks, just leave them entirely on their own to make their way with the flock. Even at three weeks they can manage. Mama hen has spent three weeks introducing them to the flock. And I have a lot of room, an 8x12 coop and over 3,000 square feet outside. I keep repeating that because I think how much room you have inside and out is very important. My flock typically consists of a mature rooster, some mature hens, and often has two or three different aged chicks with the flock. Some of those chicks are on their own, some may be being raised by a broody hen.

My suggestion is to house them side by side across wire when you reasonably and practically can. That will differ for different people. After one or two weeks turn them loose when you can be around to observe. After that, base what you do on what you see, not what some stranger like me over the internet tells you that you will see.

Some generic suggestions. Give them as much room as you can. You can improve the quality of what room you have by adding clutter. Clutter is things that break line of sight and they can hide under, behind, or over. Have widely separated feed and water stations to avoid conflict. Don't try to force them together in a small space, thinking you can force them to get along. It doesn't work that way. If they want to sleep separately, let them.

It is possible they will merge into one flock pretty quickly but it is also possible they will form two sub-flocks, the younger avoiding the older until they all mature. Then they will merge. My goal during integration is that no one gets hurt. That's it, no one gets hurt. The merging into one flock will happen later when it happens.
 
My brooder is in the coop, it has electricity. The chicks go there straight from the incubator or post office. Since they grow up with the flock and I have lots of room inside and out, when they hit 5 weeks old I just turn them loose. They are basically integrated. If you don't have a heat source in the coop you obviously can't do this.

In the heat of summer I've had broody hens wean their chicks at three weeks, just leave them entirely on their own to make their way with the flock. Even at three weeks they can manage. Mama hen has spent three weeks introducing them to the flock. And I have a lot of room, an 8x12 coop and over 3,000 square feet outside. I keep repeating that because I think how much room you have inside and out is very important. My flock typically consists of a mature rooster, some mature hens, and often has two or three different aged chicks with the flock. Some of those chicks are on their own, some may be being raised by a broody hen.

My suggestion is to house them side by side across wire when you reasonably and practically can. That will differ for different people. After one or two weeks turn them loose when you can be around to observe. After that, base what you do on what you see, not what some stranger like me over the internet tells you that you will see.

Some generic suggestions. Give them as much room as you can. You can improve the quality of what room you have by adding clutter. Clutter is things that break line of sight and they can hide under, behind, or over. Have widely separated feed and water stations to avoid conflict. Don't try to force them together in a small space, thinking you can force them to get along. It doesn't work that way. If they want to sleep separately, let them.

It is possible they will merge into one flock pretty quickly but it is also possible they will form two sub-flocks, the younger avoiding the older until they all mature. Then they will merge. My goal during integration is that no one gets hurt. That's it, no one gets hurt. The merging into one flock will happen later when it happens.
Thank you so much for this info! đź’— will let you know how it all goes!
 
our inside cage attached to the coop is big enough.. I wasn't sure about doing this just yet as the new ones are so little in comparison.
So this inside cage is big enough and it will keep the older chicks from touching the younger chicks? I see you have electricity so you can set up heat for the little ones?
 

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