Introducing new chicks to older chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rspoynter, May 24, 2012.

  1. rspoynter

    rspoynter Hatching

    May 24, 2012

    Love this site, btw. New chicken owner here =)

    Before I received my 15 baby chicks from a mail order, my wife and I were given 4 baby chicks that were around 3-4 weeks old. They are now roughly 10 weeks old, and have been out in the coop since we received them.

    My 15 baby chicks are as of yesterday, 2 weeks old and growing up in a brooder I made with added chicken fencing on top to handle them staying in it a little longer than normal.

    As soon as the babies are bigger and have all their feathers, I would like to add them to the coop with the 4 other chicks, again who are 10 weeks old. I suspect that will be in roughly 3 to 4 weeks? Which would put the 4 original chicks around 13 to 14 weeks old.

    Is that going to be too early? Should I wait until 8 weeks? Thus making the 4 original at 18 weeks old?

    My concern is the introduction. How bad is it going to be? Since the 4 older will be out numbered, will it not be as bad? I plan on free ranging all of them, and around the time I put them all together, the older 4 should be safe enough to handle free ranging.

    However, my concern are the little ones getting out as well, and getting lost. As don't they need 2 weeks or so to learn their home? Or would it be shorter? Would the fact that the could follow the older birds help them out?

    I have read putting them in at night, would be the best making a divider in my coop and run isn't possible. Or putting them in while the other 4 free-range. Again, my concern with the free-range is the little ones getting out and getting lost!

    I am leaning towards putting them in at night, as well as hanging up some distractions for the older birds.

    Would that work?

    Lastly, how long do the younger one's need to be in the coop before I can let them free-range? At 6 to 8 weeks, is it OK for them to free range? Judging from how big the original 4 were at that stage, they should be ok right?
  2. lucylover

    lucylover In the Brooder

    Apr 22, 2012
    Rspoynter, I don't know that I would recommend putting the little guys in with the big guys at night. However, do let them out to play with the big chicks during the day. BUT, be sure to stay with them and watch to make sure nobody gets hurt. The sooner you start this, the better. Do this for probably about 10 to 15 minutes each day. You can go ahead and start now if you want. Everything should be fine. It will be normal for the bigger ones to establish a "pecking order" by pecking a little at the younger chicks. The only thing to make sure is that the bigger ones don't get too aggressive when they peck at the little ones. It should only be a little nudge with the beak. If things get crazy and the little ones squeal, separate them and don't let them socialize for a little whie.
  3. rspoynter

    rspoynter Hatching

    May 24, 2012

    I was thinking, since it has been nice, to maybe put up a temp fence outside by current run and let the babies out in the temp fence with the 4 10 week olds are in the run. That way they can see each other and not associate. Maybe try that for a little while and see how it fairs...and then allow the older 4 in with the chicks after a few times of doing this.

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