Introducing chicks to the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by brightonchicks, Nov 9, 2014.

  1. brightonchicks

    brightonchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    100
    0
    66
    Jul 29, 2014
    Near Springfield,MO
    How do you keep the chicks from eating the laying hens food? It's not good for them to eat because of the oyster shells right? My chicks are 7 1/2 weeks old.
     
  2. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Don't use layer food for the mixed flock, either continue using chick starter/grower for everyone, or use an all flock or meat bird food instead while also offering a side of crushed oyster shells for the laying hens, the chicks might be curious and try the oyster shells but they will mostly ignore them...
     
  3. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    17,232
    5,718
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    The simplest solution is to feed the entire flock a grower ration or all-flock/flock-raiser ration until the chicks are 18+ weeks old and of an age to have layer ration (you don't have to go to a layer at all, btw, you can maintain them on grower/raiser for their entire life time). Offer oyster shell in a separate container for those who are laying to take at will.
     
    1 person likes this.
  4. brightonchicks

    brightonchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    100
    0
    66
    Jul 29, 2014
    Near Springfield,MO
    The chicks won't eat the oyster shells? I don't want to hurt my chicks but want to maintain the great eggs my hens lay.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

    17,232
    5,718
    501
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oregon
    My Coop
    No - the chicks may peck at it a time or two, but they just have no desire to consume it - same with cockerels (who also stand to have damage from exposure to the excess calcium in layer ration) and hens who are not actively laying.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    36,793
    10,580
    686
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Yep!

    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 and have calcium available at all times for the layers, oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Plus...the higher protein crumble offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer.

    Win-Win all around!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    36,793
    10,580
    686
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Also how will you integrate the chicks into the main flock...assuming they are now in a separate enclosure?

    So, not that you asked, but:

    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.


    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:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by