Is there any proper age?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by chickenandchick, Dec 4, 2012.

  1. chickenandchick

    chickenandchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Is there any proper age to introduce chicks to a flock??? because I have introduced my 7 week olds slowly, and thehy are still learning, but they are beginning to do what the other chickens are doing instead of running up and down the fence of the coop sqwaking to the other rooster chicks.[​IMG]
     
  2. goldfinches

    goldfinches Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should wait until they are nearly the size of the older chickens so they don't get too beat up while they're establishing pecking order.
     
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  3. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    You have to remember that the new arrivals will be viewed as intruders. How the flock reacts is wildly variable. If you've got them living side-by-side, you can try ranging them together a few times before moving them over. But yes, having them near to the same size (4ish months) is safer for the chicks.
     
  4. chickenandchick

    chickenandchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks, that should help
     
  5. Aumlet

    Aumlet Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I've had success putting young chicks in a cage within the run and releasing them when they were old enough to do without a heat lamp. I make sure the young-ins have places to run and hide if need be so that they can't get cornered and attacked.
     
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  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

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    You’ll find we do a lot of different things. I don’t believe in one age for this that covers all of us. I believe it depends on your unique conditions and circumstances.

    I’ve had a broody hen that weaned her chicks as early as three weeks of age. I’ve had them wait until nine weeks. Those chicks all slept in the main coop without Mama’s protection after they were weaned and roamed freely during the day. The still had pecking order issues but Mama had already taken care of integration. How did those young chicks handle those pecking order issues while they were too young to hold their own in a fight? They avoided the older chickens. That’s the way chickens have been handling these types of problems for thousands of years. The weaker runs away from the stronger or avoid them altogether. For this to work, it is pretty important for them to have room to run away and avoid.

    You have a couple of issues when integrating chickens of any age. First is pure integration. Chickens learn to recognize the members of their flock. Sometimes some will attack any strangers invading their territory. Sometimes, not always. If you can house them close together for a week or more so they can see each other, it can really help them to accept the other’s right to exist.

    The other is the basic pecking order. The chickens need to know where each one stands in the pecking order and this is basically determined by pecking. Some chickens can be brutes about this, usually hens by the way, but what normally happens when two chickens not sure of their ranking share personal space, one will peck the other. If the one being pecked runs away, all is well in chicken society. If it does not runaway, that is a challenge and a fight may very well break out. Usually these quickly become running away with maybe some chasing, but it can become brutal if one does not decide to run away or if it has no room to run. Again, they need room to run.

    Mature chickens always outrank immature chickens. The immature chickens quickly learn to avoid the mature chickens until they are ready to challenge for their place in the pecking order. That’s why you usually see the younger chicks forming their own flock and not merging with the older chickens all that much.

    I have no idea about how much room you have or your set-up. The way I do it with brooder raised chicks, I have my brooder in the coop. It has wire sides. They can see each other from Day 1. When they are about 4 or 5 weeks old, depending on weather, I move them to my grow-out coop and run. Again, there is a wire fence separating the adults and chicks. I have an area about 30’ x 65’ inside electric netting. When they are about 7 weeks old, I alternate a few times, letting the chicks roam in that area one day and the adults the next. When the chicks are about 8 weeks old, I let them roam together. The chicks still go to the grow-out coop to sleep but they are in the same area as the adults during the day. They do quickly learn to avoid them and seem to have their own separate flock. I have several different feeding and watering stations so the young ones don’t have to challenge the older to get something to eat and drink.

    Usually I move them into the main coop for sleeping at 12 weeks. My coop is not the minimum size. I have extra room. I put up a separate roost, lower down and separated from the main roosts a bit so the young can avoid the older ones on the roost if they wish.

    I don’t know what your set-up is like. The tighter your space the older the chicks need to be to integrate them. I do think the vast majority of broody problems and integration problems you read about on this forum are caused by lack of space.

    Hopefully you can get something out of this that you can use in your unique circumstances. Good luck!
     
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  7. chickenandchick

    chickenandchick Out Of The Brooder

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    Thankyou heaps and heaps
     
  8. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    16 weeks is best, or when they are about the same size as the older ones.

    I have gotten away with earlier, and it does help if you have a large group of young'uns. The older ones just get tired of chasing the little ones around- there are too many of them. [​IMG]

    If you see feather pulling or blood drawn, or the young one is hiding her face in the fencing with tushie in the air, and there is a pack of angry birds pecking her, get them out of there.
     
  9. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Hm, my integration problem was caused by a rooster not accepting some of the new pullets and a corner. He liked the 9-month old but not the 4-6 monthers -- something to do with submitting to mating, perhaps. It was definitely not mean hens or lack of space.

    I still think having them in view of each other while limiting contact for a period of time is the easiest way.
     

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