Introducing New chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AWickedChicken, Mar 13, 2017.

  1. AWickedChicken

    AWickedChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2016
    Just to clear things up first hand, I'm not introducing any chicks yet(!) but I am curious about if I did decide to either buy some more chicks or incubate some eggs we have. Is there a certain way to introduce them that is safe and humane? Will one or more of the hens take them in? Do I need to change up the food? When we got our chicks we went through the chick starter, then starter and grower, and now they're on layer but do new chicks need to be fed separately or do we just mix the starter/grower with the layer food and everybody eats the same? Like I said chicks aren't in the near future but I was curious how other people do it?
  2. WillGriffin03

    WillGriffin03 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2016
    Macedon Ranges

    If a chicken that has to eat pullet grower eats later mix for to long she may get very sick (this happened to me) but if this does happen use Avian Lyte liquid, anyway back to the issue at hand here you may want the chickens to have one with layer pellets and another with pullet grower.

    Good luck!
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    You can give unmedicated starter or multi flock to all of your birds, no matter what the age. If you do that, all you need to do is offer oyster shell on the side to your layers.
  4. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 5, 2014
    Kansas City, MO
    I'm in the midst of my first integration of new chicks and it has been painful. Without boring you with a bunch of background info here is how I will do it next time-

    1. I won't do it during the winter when supplemental heat is an issue for a longer period of time. (At least not in my current setup)
    2. I would raise the chicks in the coop via the "safe room" or "trap door" method and integrate them when they're 2-3 weeks old.
    3. If I couldn't brood in my coop I wouldn't integrate until the new chicks are at least 16 weeks old.

    Do some reading about brooding chicks in the coop. The Mama Heating Pad thread has some good info. Integrating at 6-8 weeks (like I did) can create a much more difficult integration. The chicks are large enough to be perceived as a threat to the pecking order but not large enough to adequately protect themselves from the big girls.

    Things I was unprepared for~

    -How nasty my normally sweet natured hens would be to the new additions. We had real violence-bloody heads from pecking, etc.
    -How long it would take for any semblance of integration. We're still's been well over a month and my babies are 15 weeks old.
    -The importance of hiding spaces, multiple feeders & waterers, different vertical quarters for escape, etc.

    When I put my babies in the coop I switched everyone to "All Flock" feed. The babies had been on medicated starter and my hens had been on layer feed. I made sure I had Oyster Shell available. I haven't had any issues and will switch back to "Layer" once the babies are laying. I don't know if this was the "correct" thing to do but it seems to have worked fine for me.

    Good luck, having new babies is always fun and integration adventure :)
  5. AWickedChicken

    AWickedChicken Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 20, 2016
    Thank you all so much! :D I will keep all of this in mind if we do decide to start adding chicks into the flock but I have another question. What if one of the hens we have broods the eggs and raises the chicks? Would it be easier for them to integrate into the flock without bullying? My silkie seems like she's broody on and off occasionally but I can never tell for sure. Is there a more definite way other than lack of laying and excess nesting? She's very calm as it is and tends to just sit on the nest or the roosting bars until everyone else is finished eating. Since everybody is molting right now eggs aren't coming in regular, but in the spring if she goes broody again is there a way I can get her to hatch some eggs without the others interfering or would another hen help lay on them?

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