introducing Chicks to Flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by SilkieLady6, Nov 24, 2016.

  1. SilkieLady6

    SilkieLady6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2016
    Washington State
    I have several chicks that I hatched myself they are ten weeks old but are still on the small side, but they are growing too big for their run. I need to get them into the coop with big girls ASAP. What is the fastest, safest way to get them into used to each other without someone getting hurt or dying?
     
  2. Teila

    Teila Bambrook Bantams Premium Member

    Howdy SilkieLady6

    I am not sure if there is a fast way in which someone will not get hurt, but I will be interested to hear others thoughts also.

    For me, integration is usually a gradual process and can take a couple of weeks.

    If you put the little ones in with the big ones not only will they be picked on, they are in unfamiliar territory and do not know the good places to hide etc. The larger birds may also bully them away from the food and water.

    The ‘look but not touch method’ is the one I have used with good success; keeping them separated with wire where they can see and communicate with each other without anyone getting hurt. Free range is also a good time to allow some mingling under supervision.

    Does your coop have a run or are they total free range? If you have a run, is there any way you could divide it so the smaller ones could be in there during the day but back in their original run for sleeping?

    Just my thoughts, but if you do not want them to get hurt, I would look at some way to temporarily increase their run size while also working on an integration plan in the main coop.
     
  3. SilkieLady6

    SilkieLady6 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 28, 2016
    Washington State
    That sounds good, I know that the hens and the chicks have met outside once or twice, and that ended in a few pulled feathers. I will definitely try that method in our run. Thank you very much and Happy Thanksgiving!!!
     
  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    I always integrate my chick at around 6-8 weeks. Younger birds are a natural addition to a flock. Older birds are intruders.

    I always start by penning the young group where everyone can see them but they can't touch them. After about a week the older birds are used to the chicks and I begin letting them mingle. My pens are in my chicken shed, so it's just a matter of opening the door and than watching and if necessary playing referee.

    The chicks are usually ignored with an occasional peck from the older birds. After a bit I round them back up and do it again the next day. After about a week I usually leave the chicks out all day. I continue to lock them separately for another month or two until I feel comfortable leaving them out.

    The bigger your set up, the easier it will go. Crowding birds makes it harder and will take much longer. Integration is all about patience and making decisions based on behaviors you observe.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2016
  5. tampachick

    tampachick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Tampa, FL
    HELP! I have 2 RIR and 1 Americauna (sp). They're all about 5 months old. I also have 2 Jersey Giants that are about 2.5 months old. I raised the JG since they were 2 weeks old, and beca of their slow growth rate and age, kept them in a small coopseparate from the others. They are now about the same size as the others, and trying to get them in the big coop. FAIL. They mix OK during the day all 5 together, but are petrified to go into the big coop at night. I am at a loss how to get this done. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. They can't stay in the little coop forever. Ugh. Help!
     
  6. tampachick

    tampachick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2016
    Tampa, FL
    HELP! I have 2 RIR and 1 Americauna (sp). They're all about 5 months old. I also have 2 Jersey Giants that are about 2.5 months old. I raised the JG since they were 2 weeks old, and beca of their slow growth rate and age, kept them in a small coopseparate from the others. They are now about the same size as the others, and trying to get them in the big coop. FAIL. They mix OK during the day all 5 together, but are petrified to go into the big coop at night. I am at a loss how to get this done. Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. They can't stay in the little coop forever. Ugh. Help!
     
  7. tampachick

    tampachick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2016
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    Needless to say, the JGs are at the bottom of the pecking order
     
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Side by side penning until they tolerate each other when mingled. The older the birds, the longer it takes.
     
  9. tampachick

    tampachick Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2016
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    Thank you! So, maybe put the small coop in the big 10' x 10' coop at night for a while? I've never felt so stupid in my life!
     
  10. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    central Wisconsin
    I would just either divide the coop, or use some wire to make a temporary pen inside the coop. They will learn to fall back to their safe area. Something else I do is to put the older birds out and let the young ones hang out in the coop by themselves for a few hours to get used to being in there.
     
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