New Chicks in with the Chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by branwyn, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. branwyn

    branwyn Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 27, 2009
    Western NY

    I kept 15 chickens this year, 4 roosters and 11 hens (out of 26), and I was thinking of ordering another batch for next year.

    However, we raised this year's batch in the bathroom until they were old enough to go outside, and that was incredibly tough to clean up once they'd left. I'd rather start this group in the chicken house if possible.

    Would it be too dangerous to put 3 day old chicks in with the adults, and if so, how would you recommend we separate them?

    I thought about the possibility of slipping the chicks under a hen, but so far none of our hens have gone broody, and I don't know that I could get the timing right with shipped chicks.

  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Under a broody is good, though you'd need more than one broody for that many chicks. Otherwise, no, the adults would most likely kill them. Also, a broody doesn't always accept live chicks so you really need an alternate setup ready, anyway.

    I won't raise chicks indoors, either. I don't believe that breathing that dust/dander/dried poop is good for either people or chickens. We built a chicken wire "room" inside the coop (a large coop, granted.) The room is about 4'x5' or so. A heat lamp hung from a rafter took care of heat even for day olds. Raising them in view of the others helps smooth integration when the time comes. We were about to set up a separate temporary run for them when a broody decided they were hers, and solved the problem for us, but the door is there if we do this again. Mostly we let broodies hatch our own eggs for replacements -- except we lost our last rooster, so I guess we'll be raising chicks again this spring.

    Another member here had a sort of large cage on the wall in her coop where she would keep the chicks til they were aorund 6 or 8 weeks. She said she never had problems turning the chicks into the flock then, evidently because they had been seeing and hearing each other all the chicks' life.
    1 person likes this.
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You can't put littles in with adults, they'll just love to kill those chicks. I've not had good luck putting littles in until they're about the same size, around 4 months. I brood in a tub in the barn (no chicks in the house ever--such a mess!) and have a grow out pen I use once they're off the heat and until they're big enough to go in the main coop.

    It's really good you're looking into this now. We get so many posts in the spring--"my chicks outgrew the brooder and I can't put them in the coop yet, what do I do with them?". It's much better to have a plan in place before the chicks get here!
    1 person likes this.
  4. ChickenLegs13

    ChickenLegs13 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 4, 2013
    Lower Alabama
    Bad idea to put new chicks in with full grown chickens. It's a simple matter to use deer net or small chicken wire to rig up a brooder/grower pen inside your main pen for less then $20. This will also make it easier to intergrate them at an earlier time, since they will be used to each other.
  5. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 10, 2013
    Our grow out pen runs along side the adult pen/coop, from two weeks til two months the chicks and adults can see and hear each other but the adults cannot get to the little ones, yesterday we allowed the 2 month olds out with the adults and aside from the usual peck to get outta the way, the adults leave them alone... Works great!! The adult Roo even sounds the alarm that the chicks respond too.. I'm having a blast with this and am having a hard time not posting an ad for fertile eggs on CL ( I want a few differant breeds) But I think hubby would say we have our hands full at the moment :)
    1 person likes this.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    As long as you have electricity in your coop and your coop is big enough, I think the best way is to raise them in the coop. I built the 3’ x 6’ brooder in the photo against a wall. If you don’t have room in the coop, you can use another outbuilding or build a special brooder building. Your needs are to protect them from the elements (rain and breezes) and predators, to provide heat, food and water.


    We all have different systems. I put the chicks in my brooder straight out of the incubator. About 5 weeks later, I move them to an unheated grow-out coop, which is next to the adults. Mine are next to the adults from Day 1. At 8 weeks I turn them loose to run with the adults. They still sleep in that grow-out coop at night but at about 12 weeks I usually move them into the main coop at night.

    I do think a big part of how you can integrate is how much space you have. The more space the less problems you are likely to have. If you space is tight, you may need to wait until they are practically grown. In any case they need to be kept separate from the adults for several weeks.
    2 people like this.
  7. branwyn

    branwyn Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 27, 2009
    Western NY
    Thanks so much!
  8. Toots Birds

    Toots Birds Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 16, 2014
    Very Helpful!

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