Introducing a large number of chicks at once

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Hastingsflock, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. Hastingsflock

    Hastingsflock Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 12, 2015
    Ok I have month old chicks now but I was not going to integrate them in with the big girls (eight 1&1/2yr olds) till spring. Anyways my concern is that I will be introducing 30 of them at once in with the big girls. How should I do it??
    A: Put them in at night and let everyone wake up together
    B: Slowly introduce by setting their own little coop by the other girls coop for a week or so till they are used to eachother then put them together?

    Also is 30 to many to introduce at once? If I split up into groups of 10 and introduce one set then wait a week or so and introduce another then another wouldn't that be way to stressful? Like wouldn't literally each group go through a new pecking order just to start over again in a week?

    I'm just new at this and we are kinda flipping out on how to do it...
    Any suggestions??????
  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Shazam Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    I would go with B, set up a pen next to the older ones, keep them confined for a couple of weeks than start letting them mingle under supervision, eventually getting them together in the same coop. You numbers are an asset, the more young ones the less likely one will be a target, there's too many to focus on, just make sure your setup supports so many more. Good luck.
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 29, 2012
    You know, it's actually going to be you introducing the older ones to the new since they are so outnumbered. I would be tempted to try it while the new ones are still young enough they don't have their own pecking order established yet.

    We introduced a single chick with it's mum back in around 8 weeks and while they jumped on and pecked mum for a week till they knew she remembered her place at the bottom of the pecking order, they never touched the chick. Think it was old enough to avoid them and young enough they didn't see it as a pecking order threat yet. I would put them next to the others so they get used to each other for the next 3-4 weeks then maybe swap their runs so the new ones have a chance to learn the layout and escape routes then let the old ones back in and supervising closely see what happens.

    I know people do it but I think the most dangerous time to introduce them is at night because in the morning when they wake up, till you open the door they are trapped in a smaller house with less places to run away from an attacker
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon

    I would have them where they can see each other for a while (several days), then put all the littles in at once. Adding them all together way reduces the risk of one single bird getting pecked on to much. The older girls will just have a hoard to deal with and not single anyone out for special punishment.
  5. Pork Pie Ken

    Pork Pie Ken Flockless Premium Member

    Jan 30, 2015
    Africa - near the equator
    Great advice from everyone. I'd also add that its a good idea to have a number of feeding stations (preferably out of eye-sight of each other if you can) in order to reduce the likelihood of food aggression.

  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    WOW... that's a big jump in population!
    You've gotten good advice...but I am curious, is your coop big enough for 38 birds?
  7. Hastingsflock

    Hastingsflock Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 12, 2015
    Thanks guys for all the advice!!
    We have a very large coop and run (We recently bought the property and they actually raised chickens for processing ) But we do not have an extra coop or run for integration that's why I was at a loss. We will have to build them a temporary run for integration for sure. I actually have 18- month olds, 12- 2 week olds, and also have 5 baby chicks on order that are still a month out. So come spring there will actually be 35 of them. For the winter all the babies will be combined inside our shop (25ftx25ft area) and we are debating on weekly cleanings or deep litter method.. anyways by that point they will all have worked out their own pecking order so I can't split it up in increments. I wish I could but it's a definite no go.

    I absolutely love the idea of different feeders out of eye sight of each other as I had not thought of that. I know when we do introduce we are planning on putting lots of different little brush type piles to hid under for refuge so hopefully that helps too.

    *One last question now. Will guineas have their place in the pecking order or will the chickens just ignore them?

    Thanks again everyone for all the advise!!![​IMG][​IMG]
  8. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    I think you are going to have a fly in the ointment. The chicks you have and the chicks you are going to get will have a large age difference. Eight weeks is a large difference between the oldest and the youngest who will be just starting out. If you coop is big enough you could partition part of it off for the older two groups and let the new ones have the brooder to themselves. The ones in the partition will get to know the hens sooner. In a couple of weeks you can open holes in the wire of the partition big enough for the chicks but to small for the hens and let the chicks decide when they want to join the hens and still have a safe place to retreat to. In a month or so they will be able to mingle freely and you can take the partition down. Well maybe not you would still have the youngest to integrate. and could repeat it with them. All said and done you should have the integrations done by spring and have only one flock to care for.

    The guineas could be the joker in the deck. I haven't had them.
  9. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Chicken Obsessed

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    One way gates, something a small bird can get through but a large one cannot. A pallet laid on top of a single high blocks it puts the pallet a couple of inches off the ground, so chicks can run under it. I put my chick feed under there. I know a lot of people are big on the putting the birds next to each other but separated. And if you can do that it won't hurt.

    But what I have found works best is an escape to out of sight, so under something or behind something or up on a roost, away from something works for me.

    Hide outs, extra feed bowls, and lots of space.

    Chase out your old girls, lock the babies in the coop/run and go in there and scare them a couple of times so they find the hideouts.

    Mrs K
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    If I were you, this is what I'd do: I'd get the youngsters all integrated together, the sooner the better. Start with the 2 groups you have. Then, I'd provide them with a run within the run, with a little door or two that they can come and go from but the older ones can't follow them through. As soon as they are fully feathered and no longer need heat, you should be able to integrate them with the older flock. Azygous made some real nice portals for chick integration. I like to have my chicks integrated before they are 8 weeks old. There will be some pecking. But, if they have plenty of room, and places to retreat (out of sight/out of reach) from the aggressors, you'll find that it will go amazingly well. Your biggest difficulty will be with the younger chicks that you have yet to receive. When it comes time to integrate them, I might pull some of the less aggressive youngsters from the big flock, and integrate them with the babies first, then put the whole group of youngsters into the big flock.

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