introducing new chicks to the flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by rubyjane, Aug 23, 2010.

  1. rubyjane

    rubyjane Out Of The Brooder

    May 20, 2009
    Ihave 5 new chicks and I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. I have no idea when and how to keep my chicks safe.Iwant to put my chics in with the adult flock. I have 8 barr rock hens. and the chicks are 7 weeks they are black australorps.the australorps I understand are a quiet and gentle breed.I have had the chicks in a seperate pen n ext to the barr rocks for about 4 weeks now.any sugestions?[​IMG]
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Integration is a tough one. It can either go well at about any age or it can be a disaster. How it goes depends on how much room you have and the personalities of your chickens. I can give you some suggestions to improve your odds of it going better, but please realize there are no guarantees.

    Start letting them mix for short periods of time under your supervision, then extend that time period as you get comfortable with their actions. Some pecking and bullying is normal. That is how they establish the pecking order. Allow them to do a little, but be prepared to break it up. One member of this forum uses a hose and sprays the aggressor to tell them that is not allowed.

    Provide extra food and water stations. The big ones will keep the young ones from eating and drinking in THEIR feed and water stations. Put a few and make them as far apart as you can get them. This will cut down on conflict and allow your young ones to eat and drink. Watch this and make sure they are eating and drinking.

    Your young ones will be scared of the older ones and will hang together in a group as far from the older ones as they can. If the old ones are in the run, the young ones will be in the coop. Try to give them a safe place to hang away from the older ones. If you can set it up so they can get into the pen they are in now, so much the better. Just give them access to the big ones area so they can venture in if they want to. It would be great if the opening were sized so the yong ones can get through but not the older ones, but that is rough.

    If you can set it up where the young ones are sleeping separately from the older ones, good. If you cannot, make sure you get up with the chickens and open up the coop early so the young ones are not trapped in with the older ones when they wake up. Give them as much room as you can so they can get away from trouble.

    I kept my brooder in the coop. They could always see each other. At 11 weeks I let them free range together. Lots and lots of room. By the time the young ones were 12 weeks old, they were sleeping in the same coop on the same roosts. The young ones were crammed together on the far end of the rosots as far from the older ones as they could get, but they were sleeping on the same roosts. And if I was a little late letting them out in the morning, no one was hurt. The young ones stayed on the roosts while the older ones went to the floor of the coop.

    Yours may be a little young, but others have done it even younger. I think a whole lot of whether you are successful or not depends on how much room you have. The personalities of your chickens makes a big difference too. You may have a bully that will go out of her way to harm the young ones. Some roosters will take the young ones into the flock and protect them by breakig up the fights when the hens go after the young ones, some may attack them, and many will just ignore them. I personally worry more about the hens than my rooster, but some roosters can be real dangerous in these situations, especially if there are roosters in the young ones that are starting to feel their hormones. There are no guarantees in any age or sex mix. I'd be uncomfortable at 7 weeks but some people make it work. Good luck!
  3. pontoosuc

    pontoosuc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 9, 2010
    Richmond, MA
    It's tough to know. I have two EE's 8 weeks old that have been in a separate cage inside the coop for four weeks. The coop is very large with a lot of roosting space. The other chickens are all 14 weeks old.

    Last night when I went out for turn down, the EE's were making big girl sounds, and the baby talk was gone. They were really looking like they wanted out of the cage. I took them out and they immediately went up to the roosts with the big girls. Nobody made any big deal about it. One of them flew up to the highest roosts and snuggled in!

    This morning the two EE's were together sitting on a crate and the others were just hanging around. I opened the pop door and everyone ran out except for the EE's. I put out treats for everyone and things were OK, but some of the big girls were trying to peck the EE's. I'm sure the treats didn't help.

    So anyway, I have to go to work so I just made up the crate for the day and put the two EE's in it so I don't have to worry what's happening all day. I'll free range them all together tonight if the rain subsides and see how it goes.

    Good luck with your integration. As the other poster said, there are good and bad integrations. Keep us posted.
  4. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    Quote:ditto!!!! good advice given! [​IMG]
  5. chicknduck

    chicknduck Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2010
    great advice. I will also be mixing mine soon and I plan to follow your advice.
  6. The Chicken People

    The Chicken People Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Smithville, Mo
    Integration is hard! I have several different aged hens and am trying to get them all in the same coop! Good Luck!
  7. Tomhusker

    Tomhusker Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 28, 2010
    Hamburg, Iowa
    Separate but together is the best advice to follow. It is how we have worked our younger ones in. Up to a month in the coop, with out access to each other, then access with escape routes. It all culminated this morning when I opened the coop and found all 9 on the same roost. It is the first time I have ever seen them that close without some sort of harassment going on.

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