Moving younger chicks in with older ones

happylittlehens

Songster
6 Years
Mar 19, 2013
247
133
166
Utah
Here is the issue at hand. I have 6 - 4 week old chicks (3 ameraucana and 3 leghorn) in a large brooder. I also have 4 - 2 week old Buff Orpingtons in an attached brooder. Total of 10 chicks. They will all be moving into the coop on May 1st so I want to get them integrated in the brooder as soon as possible.

When I first brought the BO's home, they were 3 days old and the other chicks were 2 1/2 weeks. I tried putting them together immediately and the older girls just walked and jumped all over the babies. So I separated them. I will post a drawing of my brooder set up at the end of this post so you can see what I'm explaining... I cut an opening between the 2 brooders yesterday so that all of the chicks can come and go as they please. At first, the younger BO's were curious about the bigger brooder. Went in and started pecking at things. The older chicks went in the smaller brooder to check things out. I noticed the younger chicks would peck at any bigger chick that came near them and when one would get separated from the "huddle" they would chirp loudly. The older chicks were more interested in the food and water in the smaller brooder than the younger chicks. So I left everything like that for the night.

This morning I went to check on the girls and all 4 of the younger BO's were huddled and shaking in the bottom left corner of the big brooder (not under the heat lamp). All of the bigger ones were in the small brooder. All of the sudden one of the Leghorns came running into the big brooder right into the huddle and started pecking at all the babies! They were chirping and climbing all over each other and shaking. Poor things. I don't know if this leghorn (or more of them) had been harrassing the young ones all night. I didn't see any feathers missing or any bleeding on the BO's, but I decided to put them back in the small brooder and tape off the opening while I went to work. As soon as they were back in "their" brooder and the older chickes were back in theirs, the BO's were happy as could be. Eating and drinking like crazy.... like they hadn't had any food or water all night! I don't know what to do! How do I get them used to each other? Any advice or ideas??? Thank you for any help!

 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
27,066
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
Here is the issue at hand. I have 6 - 4 week old chicks (3 ameraucana and 3 leghorn) in a large brooder. I also have 4 - 2 week old Buff Orpingtons in an attached brooder. Total of 10 chicks. They will all be moving into the coop on May 1st so I want to get them integrated in the brooder as soon as possible.

When I first brought the BO's home, they were 3 days old and the other chicks were 2 1/2 weeks. I tried putting them together immediately and the older girls just walked and jumped all over the babies. So I separated them. I will post a drawing of my brooder set up at the end of this post so you can see what I'm explaining... I cut an opening between the 2 brooders yesterday so that all of the chicks can come and go as they please. At first, the younger BO's were curious about the bigger brooder. Went in and started pecking at things. The older chicks went in the smaller brooder to check things out. I noticed the younger chicks would peck at any bigger chick that came near them and when one would get separated from the "huddle" they would chirp loudly. The older chicks were more interested in the food and water in the smaller brooder than the younger chicks. So I left everything like that for the night.

This morning I went to check on the girls and all 4 of the younger BO's were huddled and shaking in the bottom left corner of the big brooder (not under the heat lamp). All of the bigger ones were in the small brooder. All of the sudden one of the Leghorns came running into the big brooder right into the huddle and started pecking at all the babies! They were chirping and climbing all over each other and shaking. Poor things. I don't know if this leghorn (or more of them) had been harrassing the young ones all night. I didn't see any feathers missing or any bleeding on the BO's, but I decided to put them back in the small brooder and tape off the opening while I went to work. As soon as they were back in "their" brooder and the older chickes were back in theirs, the BO's were happy as could be. Eating and drinking like crazy.... like they hadn't had any food or water all night! I don't know what to do! How do I get them used to each other? Any advice or ideas??? Thank you for any help!

When I introduced my chicks (10 day age difference) I had them with a hardware cloth divider for a few days, then I would put one of the older girls in with the chicks one at a time, starting with the least aggressive ones. If that went well, I'd add an other one until finally I had all the older ones with the younger ones. after a few supervised play dates, I removed the divider early in the day, and left it down, with the plan to put it back up if I saw any aggression. They did fine at this point. How big is your brooder? Is there at least 1 - 2 S.F./ bird? You might have to take the dominant Leg horn and put her in confinement while the chicks get used to the other girls. can you rearrange your divider so the spacing is more even, if just for a while to allow the big girls to visit with the little girls in the little girls space?
 

happylittlehens

Songster
6 Years
Mar 19, 2013
247
133
166
Utah
When I introduced my chicks (10 day age difference) I had them with a hardware cloth divider for a few days, then I would put one of the older girls in with the chicks one at a time, starting with the least aggressive ones. If that went well, I'd add an other one until finally I had all the older ones with the younger ones. after a few supervised play dates, I removed the divider early in the day, and left it down, with the plan to put it back up if I saw any aggression. They did fine at this point. How big is your brooder? Is there at least 1 - 2 S.F./ bird? You might have to take the dominant Leg horn and put her in confinement while the chicks get used to the other girls. can you rearrange your divider so the spacing is more even, if just for a while to allow the big girls to visit with the little girls in the little girls space?
Thank you for the advice. Yes I can move the divider to make the space more even and they do have about 1.5 sq/ft per bird of space. I will have to watch them for a bit to figure out which leghorn is the dominant one (I can't tell them apart other than 1 is a little smaller than the other 2) The Ameraucanas are very easy going, so I guess I will work with them and the babies together first.
 

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