Mixing ages

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bigclucker, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. bigclucker

    bigclucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 17, 2009
    First off, Hello All!

    I just got my first chickens this week after over a year of studying and planning. Still have a couple of questions ...

    I have started with 6 RIR and 6 Black Australorps that are about 21 and 15 weeks old, respectively. I have a chance to add 3 Barred Rocks and 3 Silver Lace Wyandottes that are about 8 weeks old. All birds are females. Will they blend or is that too much age difference?

    Also, I have a good sized fenced in space, was wondering how much sleeping space/roosting space/nesting boxes I'd need total. I have 4 boxes now and 2 little coops.

    Thanks for any help on this in advance.

    The Big Clucker
     
  2. GreenGoddess

    GreenGoddess Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 6, 2009
    St Pauls, NC
    First off, [​IMG] !! Second, as far as space, Chickens need a <b>minimum</b> of 4 square ft per bird although more is recommended. The more space you give them, the happier they will be.. As for nesting boxes, most likely they will all use the boxes that you have available.. four to seven chickens will use one box so I wouldn't worry about that at all.. As for mixing the ages, you will hear a lot of mixed answers on here about that.. I for one have done this successfully although I will say it was very time consuming.. I started with 5 production reds and when they were 4 and 6 months old (got them all at the same time from same person) I got 6 more 2 day old barred rock chicks.. Of course for the first 4 weeks or so I had them in a brooder (made out of a rabbit cage) in the shed.. Once they feathered out completely and the weather was still fairly warm, I put the whole brooder outside next to the run where the older ones are and attached a small run to the brooder and the larger run so that they can see each other and yell at each other all they wanted but couldn't the younger ones couldn't get hurt.. For about 2 weeks, I kept them seperate and then I let them all free range together.. The first time i did this, for the most part the two groups stayed away from each other but when one of the younger ones got curious and walked over to the older flock, it was a mess.. I had to chase all of them to break it up.. I kept them away from each other for another week and then slowly did it again.. A few days of free ranging together seemed to work so then I put the younger ones IN the coop.. Again, the older ones started chasing them.. But, I did this once a day for about 3 more days but only let them stay in there for a little while and then put them back in their "coop" and close the door for the night.. A total of about a week of letting them free range and a few days of them going in the run for a little while a day seemed to be working so, i tried to leave them in the run/coop when i closed it up.. The first time i tried this, there were beak fulls of black and white feathers everywhere!!! I felt so bad.. So, for one last night I put them in their own little "coop" and closed the door.. The next night, I waited until all the older ones were roosting and settled and one by one I put the smaller ones in there.. Of course, they just huddled in the corner and I feared waking up to dead chicks all over the place but lo and behold, more than a month later they are still all getting along happily!! The entire process probably took about 5 weeks to complete.. Of course, the pullet from the older group that is at the bottom of the original pecking order is always chasing the babies so they stay below her.. but, they don't get harmed in the process..

    Not sure if you were lurking before you actually joined this group but I will tell you that there are some awesome people on here with really good advice.. You can find the answer to everything on here!! Enjoy the group and your chickens!

    Goddess [​IMG]
     
  3. bigclucker

    bigclucker Out Of The Brooder

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    Dec 17, 2009
    Thanks Goddess, I appreciate the wisdom, it was helpful. Hopefully I'll get some more responses. Really want to add to the flock.
     
  4. newchicksnducks

    newchicksnducks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Again...Welcome! I have a mixed age flock. The oldest 3 (EE) are 5 weeks older than the next group of seven (BO, BA, Jersey Giant, Dominique) and the next group of 5 (GLW and Speckled sussex) are 3 weeks younger than the second group. I kept the birds inside in a large rubbermaid container. Once they were fully feathered, about 6-7 weeks, I placed them outside in the coop. When the next age group was of age, I partitioned a section of the coop off with poultry wire, and kept the younger ones inside the coop in the safety of the "mini-coop". After a couple of weeks, I let them outside together in the run. When a younger one would venture too close, the older ones would chase and give a small peck or two. The younger one would rush back to it's siblings. It seems that there is safety in numbers. I would not attempt to add one or two young ones to a larger flock. If I had seen severe attacking by the younger ones, I would have stepped in. As it was, I was able to keep a hands off approach. Months later, they all get along well, although I will frequently find them roosting next to brooder-mates...even separating by color/breed (racist birds!). Good luck!!
     
  5. magentamomma

    magentamomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2009
    Fayetteville
    i had no trouble putting mixed age birds together. i put them in either at night or when i was feeding them yummy scrap[s. they chased eachother, and there were some minor skirmishes, but nothing major. My adults still won't share the roosts with the babies though.
     
  6. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

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    Dec 19, 2009
    Southwest TN
    I don't claim to be an expert, I'm here to learn...but, I have never had MUCH problem introducing new birds. It is very time consuming and requires patience though. You also don't want to do it too often, as it stresses the birds by rearranging peck order within the flock. Give them a good long time to settle down and solidify the NEW peck order before trying to introduce more. I have a mixed age flock, with little resistance, as long as I take my time and not get overly anxious. I only bring in new birds twice a year myself, but it might could be done more often.
     
  7. GraceAK

    GraceAK Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 28, 2009
    Eagle River, AK
    I also have a question about mixing different age groups of chicken....

    Could I mix a group of 16-18 week old chicks with my 2 hens? I only have the 2 hens, and I'll have like, 12 chicks, so the numbers will be in their favor....
     
  8. SOchick

    SOchick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 29, 2009
    Georgia
    I will be doing this soon myself, so thanks to OP for asking, and thanks for the advice. and to the OP- [​IMG]
     
  9. jojo54

    jojo54 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 24, 2009
    BC Canada
    Okay, this may be a silly question but I would like to know. What about egg layers and meat birds. Can you have them together? We have egg layers but are thinking about getting a few birds for meat next year. Could they be together? Can you have hens as meat birds instead of roos (noise issue)? I guess I'll have to read up on meaties as I don't know about them.
     
  10. magentamomma

    magentamomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 26, 2009
    Fayetteville
    I had to seperate my cornish x from my layers by the time they were a week old, because they were so much more aggressive when eating my layers were not getting to eat. I tried to put them back together when they were out of the brooder, and they crushed one of my cohin babies....flat as a pancake. Itried again when they were all fully feathered and the days and nights were warm, and they were just too greedy. Just my experience.
     

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