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Moving 5 Week Olds in with 17 week olds...

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by DixieChickMom, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. DixieChickMom

    DixieChickMom In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2011
    I've read all the posts about integrating new birds with older ones and decided to go ahead and move my young ones in the coop/run with the older ones. My 5 week olds had outgrown their brooder and were starting to pick on one another so even I though I should have waited I went ahead and did it. I did put some propped up boards that they could hide under if they needed to. I also moved them at night into the coop. This morning, my 4 older chickens were ready to be let out and didn't act like they noticed them that much. Today, I've gone out and checked on them and the older ones are staying in the run and the 6 younger ones are staying in the coop. I have noticed that occasionally one of the elders will go in and rush them and get them to scatter and then go back outside. So have I lucked out that it's gone so easy or can I expect more bad behavior? [​IMG]

  2. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    It is very normal for the older birds to set a pecking order and believe me that is a constant thing they will challenge the Top hen all the time as they grow and change. In most cases the older birds will just go about there own business and the younger ones are their own flock group with their own pecking order too. I put a bunch of things in the coop that my young girls can hide under and run around that a larger bird would have problems getting around as easy. I put a huge branch in the coop for them to play on and run around and also to get on the other side of the branch for protection.

  3. Erica

    Erica Songster

    Dec 5, 2010
    This might just be a personal view type thing, but I'd run some mesh around an area so the littlies are sectioned off. It's so easy for 5 week olds to be bullied out of drink and food. If there are separate feeders and waterers in the coop as well as in the run, they might have a hope, but there are certainly risks to life and limb at that age.

    Good luck with it,
  4. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    Give them a place to hide if the bigs are chasing them and they'll be fine. They will work out their pecking order and the big chicks will probably ignore them for the most part. I noticed when I merged my 4 week olds in with my 8 week olds that the littles ran as a group and hid behind their exercise pen alot. The bigs couldn't fit back there and the littles felt safer. Now that my littles are 9 weeks old they stay out more and even take on the bigs every now and then for a piece of tasty treat. Sometimes it works easy - maybe you were blessed this go round with easy chicks [​IMG]
  5. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Every group will be different. Some integrate with almost no friction and some groups encounter a relentless bully.

    The great equalizer is a safe space where the small ones can retreat when the pecking order gets to be too much. I currently have four ten-week olds that have been living with the adult flock of twelve hens and two roosters since they were four weeks old. The babies have a panic room, a two-foot by five-foot enclosure with several small pop holes that only they are able to fit through. They also have small pop holes at every section of the three-section run, so they always have an escape hatch if chased and cornered.

    This set-up works amazingly well. They have food inside their safe space so they they always have access to food and won't suffer nutritionally from being bullied away from the feeders. Although the youngest four have settled into the pecking order very smoothly, I still see them lounging around in the safety of their safe space where they have come to rely on it to get away from the rat-race of the big world.

    When they grow large enough that they no longer fit through their pop holes, I'll take the enclosure down. That should be any week now.
  6. DixieChickMom

    DixieChickMom In the Brooder

    Jul 11, 2011
    Thank you for everyone's input and responses. Everything has been going pretty well. The young ones use their "hidey-holes" (they have food in there, too) that I've placed in the coop and the run and when I feel they been kept in hiding too long, I shoo the big ones out into the run and shut the coop door so the little ones can run around. They are so fast anyway that the big ones can't really even get much of a peck at them before they are out of their way. I hope it continues to go as well.

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