Mixing Chicks of Different Ages

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by emalin, Mar 17, 2015.

  1. emalin

    emalin Out Of The Brooder

    Hi,
    We are putting together our first flock of chickens. I am planning to get chicks from a few different sources, so some might be a few weeks older than others--possibly even a month older if I do hatching eggs. Is it ok to put them all in the same brooder or do I have to go through an integration process? Thanks.
    Emily
     
  2. HappyChickadee

    HappyChickadee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I really don't have the answer to this so hopefully someone will come along with a better view of it. I think if there is too much time between them it will make it hard. For instance I had two babies the same age and one a little over a week younger in with them and they would kind of chase off the little one but it was not bad enough to separate them. Then one of the older chicks died so I have two baby roosters and the older one is the boss and for awhile would really pester the little one but they figured it out. They are about 7 and 8 weeks old now and do their play fighting, bump chests and basically posture one another but then they are best buds and can't be without one another and they follow one another around everywhere. They sleep snuggled up together and nap together, etc.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    2 weeks difference shouldn't give you much of a problem. How many chicks in each age grouping, and what will the exact age difference be? Your best bet would be to start out with a large brooder that can be divided, perhaps with a screen or hardware cloth divider. You can then start the youngest chicks in their own area, but the older ones can see and hear them. Then, after a few days, try putting one of the older chicks in with the littles, perhaps when they are having a chick snack. (supervised, of course) Continue the play dates, as you rotate all of the older chicks in with the littles. When you see that that is going well, you could put 2 bigs with the littles, and continue the supervised play dates. You can also be sure the littles have an area that they can get to where the bigs can't fit. Think: barriers, both visual and spatial. Be sure there are no dead end areas where a little could be trapped and tortured by a big. Of course you'll need to take heat into account, providing lamp heat that will accommodate the youngest. The older birds can self adjust if the brooder is big enough. The sooner you get your chicks all together in one group, the less issues you'll have with integration, but it will require a lot of supervision.
     

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