Mixing bought chicks with grown chickens


10 Years
May 1, 2011
Bolinas, CA
I had 17 chickens including a rooster but they got invaded by 'beasties' at night and before I could correct the problem I went down to nine chickens with no rooster. The problem has been fixed so I bought 8 chicks about a week and a half old. I have tried to 'trick' my hens into adopting them but to no avail. So, now I have 8 chicks in a separate container and I am raising them until they are old enough to 'hang' with the hens in the coop. What I need to know is how old they should be to mix with the adult chickens and survive with the rest in the coop.
Fred's Hens :

In my experience, the new chicks often need to be virtually full grown to stand up to the aggressive nature of integrating into an existing social structure. Chicken pecking order politics can be quite brutal.

I've also heard 12 weeks to integrate. I'm going to put the brooder(wire dog kennel) in the coop in a few days. I have 5 girls in there ranging 4-9 weeks old. The girls in the coop are around 10 weeks old. I'm not sure how long it will take to integrate. Chicken math is to blame for the age differences.lol. I'm not sure how long this process will take.
I built a "nursery" in the corner of our coop: it's 5' X 3' X 4' tall with wood-frame walls covered in chicken wire and a solid roof, with perches 3' up. When the chicks are old enough to go outside (about 4 weeks old, with our climate), I put them in there for several weeks. Generally by the end of the third week, they're getting really big and they want out very much. So at that point, I open the door of the nursery and prop it with a brick, then rope it so that it won't swing further open. This gives the chicks a way to exit the nursery, but the gap is too small for the adult hens to push their way in. The chicks can get used to going outside, and if a hen comes after them, they can retreat to the nursery where there's food and water. Eventually they get tired of sleeping in the nursery and start sleeping on the main perches with the other birds.

This has worked pretty well as a way to introduce new youngsters to an adult flock. Good luck with yours!

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom