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introducing young chickens to flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Chicky3, Feb 20, 2015.

  1. Chicky3

    Chicky3 Out Of The Brooder

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    I say flock but actually I just have 2 one yr old laying chickens.
    And I want to get 2 more chicks or pullets- from my understanding, if I introduce two new baby chicks or young pullets to my 2 existing older chickens, the older chickens will take care of them and mother them and be nice.
    Would that be true?
    According to what I've heard chickens bully newbies.
    But I just have 2 very friendly and quite lonely chickens (they make a big fuss and sit dejectedly alone when the other chicken goes inside to lay an egg, it's also hilarious when they lose each other in the yard and try to find the other one again) and a very big yard so I think it'll be okay.
    What do you think?
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Your adults are more likely to attack and even kill the chicks than accept them, unless one happens to be broody and the chicks are only a day or two old. In that case, the broody will often or usually accept the chicks as if she had hatched them, and raise them and protect them from the other hen.

    Safer to let the chick grow to the size of the adults before letting them in the same sace -- or at least pretty good size. Even if they live together eacefully, they may live as two different groups for a long time or even forever, foraging in two groups, etc.

    On the other hand -- chickens are unredictable, and there really aren't any absolutes. I'd be afraid to try this when the chicks were quite small but I might try it when the chicks are maybe 12 weeks, if they have been able to see and hear each other for some weeks. People have had lots of different exeriences with mixing flocks.

    You ight want to check out the last part of this article:

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  3. paddock36

    paddock36 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They would more than likely kill any chicks and/or try to kill any young birds. They need to be about the same size and then introduced over a few days time. So if you buy chicks you will need to let them grow until they are as big as your existing hens.
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    First of all, try to add three or more, if you're planning on expanding the flock. Chciks just fair better in numbers of three or more.

    With only two existing hens, it shouldn't be a big deal introducing chicks. I added three six-week olds to two adult hens by slipping them into the coop during the day, and they all roosted together that night with no incident. There are exceptions, however, so it might not be exactly textbook in your case.

    You can begin letting chicks meet the older girls by letting them spend part of the day in a playpen protected from the adults. This way, they will come to know each other and merging around six weeks won't be a problem.

    The important thing for chicks being introduced into and adult population is to have an escape or a foil to evade a bully. I'm a big fan of the "panic room", an enclosed space with 5"x7" entrances that the big girls can't squeeze through. Food and water are placed inside so the chicks can eat and drink and relax in safety. When they get too big to fit through the pop holes, then they're old enough to join the adults.
     
  5. AnJoDiChickens

    AnJoDiChickens New Egg

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    You probably should wait a tad before introducing the chicks.
    We lost a lot of our older chickens and were given younger birds. At first there were lots of fights but after a few weeks they got used to each other.
    Keep a good eye on them! If you see something happening that looks harmful you can protect them from the elders. [​IMG]
     

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