Introducing our chicks to our adult chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by khable, Jun 6, 2010.

  1. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    Hi all,

    I have 5 - six week old baby chicks and want to know what the best way to introduce them to my 4 older gals??

    Here is our current situation. The babies are inside the house in a brooder at night and in a separate caged playpen outside next to my big girls during the day for about the last 2 weeks now.

    what is the best way to start putting them in with the big gals?

    Also, they have different food needs - how does one handle that?? Grower and layer?? Do you just feed one type??

    Thanks for any help with this!

  2. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    I introduce new broods to my established flock on a regular basis each year. After I incubate my own eggs and raise the chicks/keets in a brooder I made out of a stock tank. Once the chicks/keets are feathered out---usually about four weeks or so, I'll move them to inside the coop depending on the weather, the warmer-the sooner, cooler-wait til more feathered. I've made a cage that is in the shape of a large flat rectangle, (built out of an ferret cage left on the side of the road with a free sign on it.) I have separate feed and water in the chicks cage that sits on the floor (elevated with feet to allow droppings to fall into the deep litter under the cage). That way the adults and the juveniles get to see each other in the coop for a couple weeks before I start to open the little side doors on the cage to allow the juveniles out. (I wire the doors open just enough for the juveniles out, but not to allow the adults in. Otherwise the adults will enter the juvenile cage to eat their food) I usually let the juveniles freely in and out of their introduction cage for a week before I remove it after I see they are integrating to the flock. By the time the juveniles are among the flock, the adults have gotten use to seeing them in the coop. This way, the juveniles more quickly learn from the adults where to roost and where to eat and hunt for bugs. The only problem I may have, is the juveniles are reluctant to join the adults on the roost and will try roosting in the nest boxes---therefore I have a cover for the nest boxes I will use at night/evening if I have that problem develop. Once they gotten used to the roost, I can quit covering the nest boxes at night.
  3. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Chicks should not be with adult chickens. Not only for health reasons, but they may very well kill them. They should not be integrated until they are the same size.
  4. mandyp

    mandyp In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2010
    Margaret, Alabama
    I have one black sex link hen that LOVES babies. No matter what. She is absolute evil when it comes to people but if you show her a chick, she started crooning & clucking away. I keep her separate from the rest, but in an ajoining coop where they can all see each other. I add the babies to her coop/run, & she raises them, while the others are getting used to seeing them all the time in the run next door. When they are old enough, I let them in the Big Chicken run under supervision a little while every day til they are accustomed to them enough that they don't try to attack them anymore. That hen will have babies of all ages running around her. She doesn't care one bit. Beats all I've ever seen.
  5. NewHen

    NewHen Songster

    Mar 16, 2010
    Los Angeles
    You don't want to eat eggs if your layers end up eating medicated chick starter. At least, I wouldn't want to. I slowly introduced my 2.5 w olds to my ~3.5 month olds and they're doing fine. They ignore each other now.

  6. darkmatter

    darkmatter Songster

    Jul 10, 2009
    Quote:My experience is to the contrary, I've successfully introduced chicks from 4 weeks old and up to an established flock. It's all in the way it's done. I don't know what you mean by "health reasons". If it's about adults eating chick feed------I keep the chick feed away from the adults. (been doing it for years now). I have also slipped incubated chicks under a broody already with chicks---apparently, chickens can't count.
  7. sotelomary

    sotelomary Songster

    Thanks for your advise Darkmatter. I currently have 2- 3 week old chicks that I will soon integrate to my flock of 4. I have them in the bathroom in a laundry basket and am anxious to have them outside. I don't have the space that others do to keep them separate longer. I will certainly take your advise and try it. Wish me luck. You can be sure that I will closely supervise them.


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