Introducing new chicks to established adult hens


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 6, 2009
I need some advice, we have our 2 hens; Bella a Black Australorp and Maddie, (which was supposed to be a buff orp) is actually some sort of cross blend of Buff Orp, sexlink or something (no one really knows for sure). Anyway, Maddie is clearly the dominant one, even though Bella is much larger. She rules the roost, tries to hog all the food...but we've never caught her being aggressive to Bella or anything. We bought them both as pullets, they will follow us around, take food from our hands etc but neither want to be picked up and held and will do everything they can to avoid it....which is a little disappointing. Anyway, I am thinking of buying 2 babies in the spring. I would love to raise them from babies to see if they would be a little more interested in wanting to be held.......I have raised baby ducks so I know the basics of care. What I don't know is when they can be safely introduced to the other two, what to look out for, and all of that. Are there any websites you can direct me to or advice on this subject? Would have loved to of bred Bella, but we don't have a rooster (and cannot have one here), plus then there is the worry of too many babies and which are males and females etc and then trying to find good homes.


Sep 25, 2015
Well first off,ducks and chickens have a few different requirements,so you may think you have proper basics down.

Do not just throw the chicks in,let them meet threw a fence for a few days,and get to know them a little,then put the hens in there with them.Be sure to give them small treat something they have to scratch for.So then the chicks might run over and see what the hens have found,even though the hens may or may not have adopted them.After about 2 and a half months,you could try putting them in the coop.

Now,chicks do not need a heat lamp about after a month and a half,well it depends.Chicks also require different feed.I like feeding them medicated chick feed,just helps the immune system.Ducklings do not need medicated feed,and chicks do not need near as much feed as ducklings,escpecially just two chicks.Also,with ducklings,they can have a nasty watery pen,you should NOT let chicks pen get like that,and trust me,they manage to make it messy.There are many bacteria's that chicks catch in the water,poop mess.Also,ducklings usually require a routine,like lets say,morning feed,then a walk to the pond,and come home expecting their nightly feed.Chicks may not give a crap,at least that's how all my chicks have been


Premium Feather Member
12 Years
Dec 11, 2009
Colorado Rockies
It's really pretty easy to introduce new chicks to adult chickens. The key is safety for the chicks for the first three weeks until they learn what to expect from the big chickens. Then, at three weeks, after spending the prior time becoming part of the flock by proximity, small, chick-size openings can be provided in the chick pen so they can mingle with the adults and be able to run back to safety when necessary. This "panic room" set up should be left in place until the chicks are three months old, after which they're well able to handle the pecking order.

I use the heating pad system of brooding chicks and I set them up right in the run with the rest of the flock. When chicks are raised this way with the adult flock, merging them with the adults is very easy.

You can read up on this system on this forum on the thread "Mama Heating pad for the Brooder".


Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
BYC Staff
Premium Feather Member
7 Years
Jul 16, 2015
The best time to introduce new chicks to the flock is between 6-10 weeks, when they are feathered enough to no longer require extra heat. Set up a separation pen where your hens can see them but not get to them, after a week or so start letting the young ones mingle with supervision, slowly leaving them out longer, you can have a smaller opening into the separation pen that only the chicks can get back into. Make sure you also let the chicks spend sometime inside the coop alone to get familiar with. Eventually you should be able to allow everyone to stay together. Some pecking of the young ones is to be expected, you just don't want excessive chasing or cornering of your chicks, just separate and try again the next day.

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