Introducing new chicks

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by tkendrick, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. tkendrick

    tkendrick New Egg

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    Sep 27, 2011
    Am building new hen house (8 x 12), but as I read about building this, I'm told we're not suppose to introduce new chicks to older chickens. How long should I wait to introduce them?

    Also, can I put broilers in the same hen house?
     
  2. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    Typically, you won't introduce new chicks to an established flock until they are close to the same size....
     
  3. tkendrick

    tkendrick New Egg

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    Sep 27, 2011
    So, should I separate the coop I am building so that new chicks live in one section and the older hens live in the other, and then perhaps open the door between them when new birds are old enough?

    Also, will the newer hens (say 2 months old) be bothered by the older hens in a free range situation when outside of the coop?

    How do most people do this. I don't see this scenario in all the books I have read.

    Thanks
     
  4. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    Quote:I would separate them until they are free ranging well together. . . When they are free ranging, they will divide up into their two groups. They will roam the yard staying within their own group of friends. The older ones will chase the younger ones away if they are all given treats at the same time or if the younger ones get too close to the older ones. This "picking" thing will decrease as they get more exposure to each other. When you see everyone happily co-existing in the free range area, then I would take the divider down in the coop.

    The benefit to free ranging is that they can and will stay away from each other. In a closed in coop / pen, the younger ones can't get away from the bullies [​IMG]

    I always free range mine together for a while BEFORE locking them up together. Sometimes the transition goes so smoothly that it only takes ones day for the groups to establish the pecking order. Sometimes the transition can take a week or so of free ranging time.
     
  5. math ace

    math ace Overrun With Chickens

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    BE AWARE that if you are free raning in a big OPEN area without any cover.... that chicken hawks and other flying predators will fly down and snatch up chicks depending on what size they are. My free ranging area has lots of palmentto bushes. Naturally, my month to two month old chicks hide in out of those bushes. Make sure you are providing some hiding spots for the chicks.... They need protection from the other chickens, flying predators, and the HEAT / SUN ( on the hot days LOL).

    Make sure you put a couple of waterers and feeders out during the free range time too.
     
  6. tkendrick

    tkendrick New Egg

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    thank you. I have lots of bushes along a creek and they like these. when my current small flock were about 2 months old, this is where they hid. I did lose 2, but not sure how.

    So, do I need to section my hen house for the new chicks with a separate door? How do you introuduce new chicks to your existing flock?
     
  7. Stephanie739

    Stephanie739 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I use a coop within a coop for my little ones (a dog crate inside the dog kennel/coop) when I can't watch them.

    The (2) older new chicks most often just free range with the originals, yet stick to themselves. When it is time for bed, I watch them until the original chicks are settled on their perches (make sure there isn't too much picking)

    I have only seen a little pecking and meanness, even when the little ones are running free in the coop with everyone, but I do not leave them unattended when I do this.

    All 16 chicks sleep in the same coop/run. The little chicks remain in there during the day while the others are in the yard.



    How to introduce, imo: Let them see each other as much as possible in a controlled environment or in an area big enough to get away from bullies. Good luck! [​IMG]
     
  8. Skiptonius

    Skiptonius Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 29, 2011
    Thanks for the great information, everyone! I also am new to chickens and I had the same questions about introducing newbies to the flock. I am still a bit clueless [​IMG] when it comes to things like this...
     
  9. tkendrick

    tkendrick New Egg

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    Thanks Stephanie. Very helpful.!

    I only have 4 buff orpingtons, but planning to introduce about 25 in the Spring. So, for the first 2 weeks I have a little mobile pen I will keep in my shed (so they don't pass on any diseases to existing 4), but plan to bring that mobile pen into my hen house with my 4 after 2 weeks. My issue is that when 25 get too big for the pen, where to put them until they are big enough. From you all of your posts, I am gleaning I need to have some separate area in my hen house to help transition, where they are seen, yet not totally vulnerable.
     

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