Introducing youngsters to an established flock

Elliebeans

Chirping
Aug 5, 2019
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I have a 12 week old Japanese Bantam pullet and an as yet unknown 9 week old Silkie baby I am keeping. I have been selling the chicks from their hatches I was not planning on keeping and the last of them are due to go to their new home this afternoon.

They have each other for company obviously but I am a bit concerned as up to today they have been part of a big flock and were all very friendly and very social together. The chicks that are being sold are being kept in a hutch in their enclosure to make catching time easier and the two youngsters are a bit upset about it and have just been hanging around next to them.

I'm wondering if they are old enough to introduce to my adults (have never had to introduce youngsters before). I have an established flock who apart from an occasional grumble which is never violent get along very well (I have a Sex-link, bantam Australorp, 2 D'Uccles and 5 Silkies, though 3 are separated sitting on eggs right now). I got most of my flock separately and have never had an issue introducing them to each other.

I'm a bit worried about how the two of them will cope judging by how upset they are having their flock mates separated which is why I am considering moving them into the flock soon.

My concerns are:

Their age and size, with the exception of the D'Uccles the rest of the chickens are a fair bit bigger than them.

Rats: We are currently having a problem with rats. Chickens can obviously attract them but we also live on a house on a farm and have crops around us as well as barns and grain storage so it can be hard to avoid them, however they seem to be doing pretty well for themselves at the moment.

The coop can be shut up at night but i am wondering if it gets forgotten about one night a rat might be bold enough to sneak in and snatch a small chicken.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to whether I should wait it out and let them grow up a bit or start the introduction process? (I've done some short introductions through the fence while carrying the babies around but nothing serious).

Have attached a photo of them from today standing next to a hutch.
 

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Elliebeans

Chirping
Aug 5, 2019
91
168
86
Have since had an idea, I'm planning on introducing one of my friendly, motherly little silkie hens to the two chicks, if that goes well she can be their companion for a while and might hopefully help smooth the introduction to the flock.

I did this with success with the silkie chick who was one of two to hatch from a bunch of eggs with low fertility. When it's companion died I introduced my docile little bantam pictured to it separately then later one of my austrorps. They got along really well and after a while I moved the three back with the other chicks with no issues.
 
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