Introducing chicks to flock


6 Years
Sep 8, 2013
Waxahachie, tx
I know that the chicks have to be the sane size as the hens we are introducing them to but is that weight, height or both? The chicks are tall but need some plumping up. We have 3 1 yr old hens and 3 chicks that are 15 weeks. All of them have seen each other every day through hardware cloth. Do I wait for weight added to them before introducing them? We lost our rooster yesterday to a dog attack so we are waiting a few days before doing this so we don't stress the 3 hens out anymore than already are.


~ Nicole
No, it's just generally the same size. There are no hard and fast rules. I think they'll be fine with sufficient space and perhaps extra water and food sources.
Thank you! It just dawned on do I manage their food? The chicks are starting on grower/finisher and the hens are on layer feed. Do I bring the hens down to grower/finisher until chicks start laying as long as they have a constant supply of oyster shell?
You can give the hens grower feed, with supplemental oyster shells. IMO, it wouldn't hurt the chicks to start on layer now. What breed are they? If they are a heritage breed that won't start laying until they're close to 6 months old, then I'd keep them on the grower, but if they're likely to start laying in the next month, I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure you'll hear differing opinions on this subject! Choose your own path!
I like to feed an 'all flock' 20% protein crumble to all ages and genders. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container. The higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

Integration of new chickens to flock.

Consider medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
Poultry Biosecurity
BYC 'medical quarantine' search

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:

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