Introducing chicks to a flock of one

Nerdtastic91686

In the Brooder
Sep 13, 2019
4
25
41
We have a single hen left from our flock of six we started 5 years ago. We have 9 chicks that are about 4 weeks old and they’re getting a little cramped in their brooder. Any advice on introducing them into the adult flock of one? Or more realistically, introducing our older hen to them?
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,293
942
Northwest Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Yes, definitely get them integrated asap before your older hen becomes the odd one out. I had to do the same thing last year with my only remaining bird and 3 new babies. I think my older girl was pretty happy to have the company after she got over her initial fear and annoyance... she never bullied them, just a few pecks if they were in her way.

You should set up a temporary divider in the coop or run to start off with, so they can get used to each other without touching. You can also let them free range together in the yard where there's plenty of space for anyone to run away, but they may just hang out peacefully together. Be sure to offer at least 2 feeders and waterers, and more perches and hiding spots.

These articles have more info:
Integrating at 4 weeks old
See But Don’t Touch

So far, I've integrated 2 small batches of chicks this way and here's what my dividers look like:
I brooded in the coop starting at 2 weeks with a mama heating pad.
brooder-space2.jpg

At 4 weeks I switched to one with 3.5" spaces the chicks can fit through but the older birds can't. This allows the chicks opportunity to leave as they please and return if threatened or to eat and drink in peace. They slept there too until one day they just decided to roost up higher.
safety-divider.jpg
 

Nerdtastic91686

In the Brooder
Sep 13, 2019
4
25
41
Yes, definitely get them integrated asap before your older hen becomes the odd one out. I had to do the same thing last year with my only remaining bird and 3 new babies. I think my older girl was pretty happy to have the company after she got over her initial fear and annoyance... she never bullied them, just a few pecks if they were in her way.

You should set up a temporary divider in the coop or run to start off with, so they can get used to each other without touching. You can also let them free range together in the yard where there's plenty of space for anyone to run away, but they may just hang out peacefully together. Be sure to offer at least 2 feeders and waterers, and more perches and hiding spots.

These articles have more info:
Integrating at 4 weeks old
See But Don’t Touch


So far, I've integrated 2 small batches of chicks this way and here's what my dividers look like:
I brooded in the coop starting at 2 weeks with a mama heating pad.
View attachment 1907246

At 4 weeks I switched to one with 3.5" spaces the chicks can fit through but the older birds can't. This allows the chicks opportunity to leave as they please and return if threatened or to eat and drink in peace. They slept there too until one day they just decided to roost up higher.
View attachment 1907247

This is incredibly helpful!
 

AstraChick

Songster
Oct 11, 2019
124
512
177
Victoria Australia
Yes, definitely get them integrated asap before your older hen becomes the odd one out. I had to do the same thing last year with my only remaining bird and 3 new babies. I think my older girl was pretty happy to have the company after she got over her initial fear and annoyance... she never bullied them, just a few pecks if they were in her way.

You should set up a temporary divider in the coop or run to start off with, so they can get used to each other without touching. You can also let them free range together in the yard where there's plenty of space for anyone to run away, but they may just hang out peacefully together. Be sure to offer at least 2 feeders and waterers, and more perches and hiding spots.

These articles have more info:
Integrating at 4 weeks old
See But Don’t Touch


So far, I've integrated 2 small batches of chicks this way and here's what my dividers look like:
I brooded in the coop starting at 2 weeks with a mama heating pad.
View attachment 1907246

At 4 weeks I switched to one with 3.5" spaces the chicks can fit through but the older birds can't. This allows the chicks opportunity to leave as they please and return if threatened or to eat and drink in peace. They slept there too until one day they just decided to roost up higher.
View attachment 1907247

Eggcelent info @feathermaid given me some great ideas for when i have to introduce my un-hatched chicks (due 27th Dec) to my now 7 week olds.
 

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