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Merging chicks in with hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by 10xmama, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. 10xmama

    10xmama Songster

    May 14, 2011
    My 10 hens are all between 18m and 13m old. I have four chicks who will be 13wks old on Monday. They have stopped peeping and are nearly as big as the hens... Not quite but getting close to their size. I've had the chicks in a makeshift coop in our barn and I'm sick of their mess, honestly. I'm so ready for them to move into the coop.

    Last time I merged chicks it didn't go smoothly... But I tried too early. I tried three or four times before I finally waited ... I think they were 14 wks when we had success...

    I'm nervous to try but so ready to be done with chicken poop and pine shavings all over our barn floor. Certainly I can wait one more week...l but I'm leaving town for a few days the last week of October and I'd really like to have the merge done by then. I'd prefer the person coming to care for the chickens to not have to worry about the chicks in the barn...

    Do you think I'm headed for disaster to try merging now?
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2014

  2. nayeli

    nayeli Songster

    Jan 18, 2014
    My biggest concern is its 10 to 4 and the 4 are smaller... Is there a way you can seperate them in the coop so they can see each other but not get to each other?
    I gave mine a couple days to adjust to a new presence before putting them together and they got along pretty well!
  3. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    I just finished merging mine so they would be in the large coop and run for the winter. The last group was six weeks younger than the earlier group I had merged. That one was super easy. I had divided the run and after a month opened it up and the groups were together without a hitch.
    This final group had been raised within sight of the older group, but no common fencing. When the younger group was fourteen weeks old I just added them to the main coop one night after dark.
    In the morning they hung out together and tried to keep out of the older ones' way. There was some pecking when individual spaces were invaded near the feeders, but within a very few days, maybe three, this subsided and the group formed a cohesive unit.
    I even had a singleton who was only 9+ weeks old at the time and I added him too figuring it might be easier with several new ones. For a while he kept to himself and avoided the others, but that plan seems to have worked and everyone is fine now.
  4. 10xmama

    10xmama Songster

    May 14, 2011
    I don't have an easy way to divide the run and provide separate feeder/waterer... I have been letting the chicks out every afternoon to forage when the hens are out. I think they have grown somewhat accustomed to each other through that.

    I was tired tonight and when It was time to put them in, I chased the chicks into the run with the hens instead of taking them to the barn. They stayed over to one corner of the run and the hens didn't bother them. The chicks, however, didn't catch on to heading up the ramp into the coop with the others at sundown. The automatic door closed and they were still out in the run. We had to carry them into the coop and put them on the lowest roost. Hopefully they will fare well in the morning when the girls begin to stir.

    If there is a lot of bullying or any injuries, I will move them back to the barn for another couple weeks.... I'm just really hoping this can go smoothly and be resolved before I leave town...

    Thanks for the insights.
  5. 10xmama

    10xmama Songster

    May 14, 2011
    The merge has gone well so far. No concerning bullying. Some warning pecks but the chicks seem aware and submissive. They stay away from the hens and move away when one approaches them.

    They didn't go up the ramp into the coop the first night. We carried them and put them in … but night two they went in just like the hens. They have not gone into the run on their own either night after their foraging time. We've had quite a time trying to catch them… but both nights we've done it and hope they catch on … I seem to remember it took a couple weeks last go round before our last batch caught on…

    So they will be 13 wks tomorrow … and though it is a tad earlier than I would have felt best about trying… it seems to be going well. No wounds or any bleeding from aggressive pecking.
    1 person likes this.

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