Introducing 6 week olds to other hens?

FC16

Songster
Jun 1, 2021
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So my first time incubating I only hatched 2 chicks, they are now a week old. although it’s a while away I want to be prepared. I know that they are allowed outside at 6 weeks old but I wasn’t sure how they would be with other hens (I was thinking they might get attacked)
I have a tiny backyard flock of just 3 calm hens, once they reach 6 weeks old will I be able to attempt to introduce them to the flock?
 

azygous

Enabler
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
25,922
39,851
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Colorado Rockies
Those are the old rules. There are new ones now. You can introduce your new two chicks immediately as long as you have a secure run and provide a safe chick pen and a little heat for them to warm themselves as needed.

This early exposure before the chicks grow to a size where the older chickens see them as competitive makes for a much easier and smoother integration.

Let the chicks spend a few hours a day when the weather is nice out with the adults. Increase the time as the chicks grow more cold resistant. By six weeks, the chicks can move into the coop with the adults.

Requirements are a secure run and a pen within the secure run so the chicks are safe, then around two to three weeks, you may open little chick size openings in the safe pen so the chicks can mingle with the adults but be able to run back to safety as they feel the need. Food and water are to be provided inside this safe enclosure so they don't go hungry.

If you have no run, well, I can't help you. It's just going to make everything much harder on the new chicks. Typically, new chicks will not venture out from cover until they're close to eight weeks or more, and if they do, can be easily picked off by predators. If you have no run, I suggest you get busy and build one.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
18,187
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WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
There is no magic number, as noted above. You can play it by ear depending on how your flock reacts, how temperature/weather looks, etc.

My last batch of chicks got let out of their outdoor brooder for their first interaction with the flock at 10 days old, at 15 days old they had full run and coop access. Just a hair shy of 1 month they voluntarily moved into the coop and roosted with the hens: https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/short-on-time-recycle-a-prefab-brooder.73985/
 

Tom-WV

In the Brooder
Aug 4, 2021
27
46
44
I introduced my newest 6 to my current 5. Keeping them separated. The chicks are about 4 weeks old The older hens don’t seem too irritated. The temp today is about 65 so I won’t keep them out long
 

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