Introducing Chicks to Chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by yankeeleeroy, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. yankeeleeroy

    yankeeleeroy New Egg

    Aug 1, 2011
    Hello all,
    I'm new to the website, but have been a big fan for a while now. I recently built a back yard coop and got 6 hens and 1 rooster, they are a mix of rhode island reds, and some other breed (the owner wasn't sure what) they are laying eggs like crazy!!!! I have started free ranging them on my 2.5 acres and are LOVING IT! they have a blast scratching up the woods and finding bugs and it's really fun to watch them.... I have trained my border collie to bring them "home" in the evenings and put them in the coop. she loves the chickens. My question is.... along with the adult chickens i also got 6 chicks approximately 6 weeks old at the time (8 weeks old now). i belive that 4 of them are hens, and 2 of them are roosters. although they are not outgrowing their coop, which is separate from the adults, i would like to start them free ranging as well. As a new-comer to all of this, i'm not sure how to go about letting them all free range at the same time, or should i introduce the chicks to the chickens in the coop first??? any help with this would be greatly appreciated!

  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 10, 2009
    I introduce my incubated juveniles to my established adult flock this way:

    It only takes a week or two before I can let them mix without mayhem.
  3. Keeter

    Keeter Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 22, 2011
    They shouldn't have any problems if you just let both groups loose. Free ranging chickens aren't going to significantly bother chicks. There may be some pecking order charges, but the smaller one will quickly move out of the way. If both groups have separate coops, they will each return to their respective coops at night for quite a while. Eventually one of the smaller ones will be found going in with the larger group, and the actual mixing will begin. But chickens recognize individuals for life, and you may find these two groups free range as distinct groups for many months.
  4. wingsofglory

    wingsofglory Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Palmer Alaska
    Just open the door of the chick's quarters. They will venture out when they feel confident. The first week they will practice running in and out of the door. Makes sense, if danger happens, they have to have it down. The next two, three weeks they will play around about ten feet out from the door.

    When mine first went out, if they lost sight of the door, they felt lost, and cried and froze up. Give them time to learn their bearings. Only the bravest go out at first. Shyer ones might wait a couple weeks.

    Older hens do not like chicks. They will peck them on the head. It is best to introduce them by freeranging outside. The hens ignore the chicks, and if they come over, the chicks can run away. They naturally form two groups and go in different areas. Watch to make sure the big chickens don't make them stay just on the driveway or somewhere dangerous.

    I've tried it in the coop and it has never gone well. When I've opened the door to check, the chicks jump on me to get away and are crying and shaking.

    Mine are going through this now. What a riot. The big hens think going in the chick's quarters is fun and someone else's food tastes better. I figure they are getting aquainted and let them, they leave shortlly. Outside, my seven week old Brabanter roolet ran up to the big roo, gave his best Bruce Lee flying kick at his chest, pivoted in mid air and ran like hell.
  5. yankeeleeroy

    yankeeleeroy New Egg

    Aug 1, 2011
    Thanks for the info everybody. I left the door open on the chicks coop last night while the hens were free ranging. the chicks eventually made their way outside but stayed close to home and they had no run-ins with the adults. getting the chicks back in the coop was a little challenging, they actualy went in the adults' coop so i had to take them one-by-one to their own.

    another question i have is i think there are only 2 of my 6 adult hens laying, is there something i should be doing to get the others to lay as well? or will they start laying when they're ready??

    Thanks everybody!

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