New chicks/Old chicks introductions

StephanieB1220

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
46
40
30
I have 8 new chicks and I'm guessing they are about 2 months old at this point. They are currently inside in a dog crate so I can make sure they are not plucked off by predators. I have taken them out to roam around the yard and get used to their older sisters. Older sisters are egg laying and are between the ages of 1 to 2 year olds (can't really remember). One of the older sisters walked straight up to one of the babies and pecked the hell out of her head (I separated them quickly, no injuries). But now I'm wondering how do I successfully introduce everyone? I don't want the older girls to maim or kill the little ones but they are starting to outgrow the dog crate. I have no idea what to do at this point and any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!
 

azygous

Crossing the Road
Dec 11, 2009
20,589
26,565
992
Colorado Rockies
Here's how it works in Chicken World when new chicks enter the world of big chickens. They observe and learn. It is, after all, incumbent upon them to learn how to fit into the hierarchy of a flock. So, first step is to watch and learn.

I raise my new chicks from day one, usually they are one day old, in my enclosed run. They have their own chick brooding pen, safe from the older chickens, but they are completely exposed to the flock. This serves the purpose of letting the older ones become used to the small ones being members of the flock, therefore they belong and are not outsiders.

The more important lessons being learned, however, are ones the babies are learning about the adults. At day two or three of these lessons, baby chicks are still more instintively drawn to any warm, fluffy, chicken underside, and can't be trusted not to get into tragic trouble by trying to scoot under the wrong butt.

The chicks are discovering which chickens seem to be more fired up and dangerous and which are mellow and pose little risk. By the end of week two of observing the adults and having become a bit more savvy about safety, they can then begin to mingle with the adults.

With your older chicks, I suggest you do something similar. Set up a play pen for your chicks in the midst of where the adults spend most of the day. If you aren't set up to house the chicks in the coop at night in a safe enclosure, it's fine to let this "meet'n greet" take place just during daytime.

For older chicks, it takes about a week for the chicks to size up the adults. Now we talk about how you make it safe for the new ones during this phase of integration. You provide a "panic room". This is any setup where the safe haven has two or more chick entrances that are too small for the adults.

The chicks' food and water is inside this haven, and it will insure that the chicks get all the food and water they need without the bigger chickens eating it up before they get their share. This should continue with an alternative feeding station until the youngsters are fully grown and can compete for food and get what they need. I have five-month olds that still haven't grown enough confidence in muscling their way to the feeders, and I have to find a way each day to slip extra food to them so they don't fall behind in development.

This is already too long. So, if you have any questions, feel free. Others will be along soon to chime in with other good ideas.
 

DMOTS

In the Brooder
Sep 19, 2020
40
90
46
Sanger, California
I mixed my 3 month old chicks with the 6 month old chicks and they fought a little to establish the pecking order and now they seem to be doing great. I don't know how to get them to go into the hen house. I guess that will come in time.
 

Vickischics

BYC Songster & Master Egg Collector!
Premium Feather Member
May 6, 2020
1,452
3,480
326
Space Coast of Florida
Here's how it works in Chicken World when new chicks enter the world of big chickens. They observe and learn. It is, after all, incumbent upon them to learn how to fit into the hierarchy of a flock. So, first step is to watch and learn.

I raise my new chicks from day one, usually they are one day old, in my enclosed run. They have their own chick brooding pen, safe from the older chickens, but they are completely exposed to the flock. This serves the purpose of letting the older ones become used to the small ones being members of the flock, therefore they belong and are not outsiders.

The more important lessons being learned, however, are ones the babies are learning about the adults. At day two or three of these lessons, baby chicks are still more instintively drawn to any warm, fluffy, chicken underside, and can't be trusted not to get into tragic trouble by trying to scoot under the wrong butt.

The chicks are discovering which chickens seem to be more fired up and dangerous and which are mellow and pose little risk. By the end of week two of observing the adults and having become a bit more savvy about safety, they can then begin to mingle with the adults.

With your older chicks, I suggest you do something similar. Set up a play pen for your chicks in the midst of where the adults spend most of the day. If you aren't set up to house the chicks in the coop at night in a safe enclosure, it's fine to let this "meet'n greet" take place just during daytime.

For older chicks, it takes about a week for the chicks to size up the adults. Now we talk about how you make it safe for the new ones during this phase of integration. You provide a "panic room". This is any setup where the safe haven has two or more chick entrances that are too small for the adults.

The chicks' food and water is inside this haven, and it will insure that the chicks get all the food and water they need without the bigger chickens eating it up before they get their share. This should continue with an alternative feeding station until the youngsters are fully grown and can compete for food and get what they need. I have five-month olds that still haven't grown enough confidence in muscling their way to the feeders, and I have to find a way each day to slip extra food to them so they don't fall behind in development.

This is already too long. So, if you have any questions, feel free. Others will be along soon to chime in with other good ideas.
I liked it. It is an easy read for all ages and explains exactly how things work. In fact, I am going to book mark it for future needs.
 

StephanieB1220

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
46
40
30
Here's how it works in Chicken World when new chicks enter the world of big chickens. They observe and learn. It is, after all, incumbent upon them to learn how to fit into the hierarchy of a flock. So, first step is to watch and learn.

I raise my new chicks from day one, usually they are one day old, in my enclosed run. They have their own chick brooding pen, safe from the older chickens, but they are completely exposed to the flock. This serves the purpose of letting the older ones become used to the small ones being members of the flock, therefore they belong and are not outsiders.

The more important lessons being learned, however, are ones the babies are learning about the adults. At day two or three of these lessons, baby chicks are still more instintively drawn to any warm, fluffy, chicken underside, and can't be trusted not to get into tragic trouble by trying to scoot under the wrong butt.

The chicks are discovering which chickens seem to be more fired up and dangerous and which are mellow and pose little risk. By the end of week two of observing the adults and having become a bit more savvy about safety, they can then begin to mingle with the adults.

With your older chicks, I suggest you do something similar. Set up a play pen for your chicks in the midst of where the adults spend most of the day. If you aren't set up to house the chicks in the coop at night in a safe enclosure, it's fine to let this "meet'n greet" take place just during daytime.

For older chicks, it takes about a week for the chicks to size up the adults. Now we talk about how you make it safe for the new ones during this phase of integration. You provide a "panic room". This is any setup where the safe haven has two or more chick entrances that are too small for the adults.

The chicks' food and water is inside this haven, and it will insure that the chicks get all the food and water they need without the bigger chickens eating it up before they get their share. This should continue with an alternative feeding station until the youngsters are fully grown and can compete for food and get what they need. I have five-month olds that still haven't grown enough confidence in muscling their way to the feeders, and I have to find a way each day to slip extra food to them so they don't fall behind in development.

This is already too long. So, if you have any questions, feel free. Others will be along soon to chime in with other good ideas.
This makes perfect sense and makes me feel better about putting all my girls together. I have a coop where my big girls were raised and now thats where the lay their eggs and the sleep on top of it at night. I then built a small run for them just in case they wake up before me (which they always do lol). I have thought about taking the )little chicks cage outside and putting it next to the coop so my big girls can get used to the little ones and vice versa.

My big girls are free range chickens so they are released at dawn and locked in at night. I know they lay their eggs in the morning to mid morning so after that I think I can lock the big girls out of the pen and release the littles to give them some extra space while still keeping them available to observe.

I know there is a pecking order but does it HAVE to involve pecking?! 🤣🤣

Thank you so much for the advise on everything. The day my big girl, Nugget decided to peck Rosie it was around the baby girls food. Nugget decided to partake and Rosie wasn't happy and tried to buck up lol. Hopefully she learns without getting hurt in the process!!

Thank you thank you thank you!!!!
 

StephanieB1220

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
46
40
30
I mixed my 3 month old chicks with the 6 month old chicks and they fought a little to establish the pecking order and now they seem to be doing great. I don't know how to get them to go into the hen house. I guess that will come in time.
I remember have to guide my older ones into the coop every night for a couple of months but now they put themselves to bed around dusk. But they usually want a good night hug first!!
 

DMOTS

In the Brooder
Sep 19, 2020
40
90
46
Sanger, California
My girls free range out in the pasture most of the day. The new ones haven'y yet wondered out there to far yet. There is an outdoor pen they all go to, but only the big girls go from there. I'm am going to start putting them in the coop at night when they are all settled down with hopes they will be ok. Don't know how long it will take for them to get relaxed and get on the roost bars.
 

DMOTS

In the Brooder
Sep 19, 2020
40
90
46
Sanger, California
I remember have to guide my older ones into the coop every night for a couple of months but now they put themselves to bed around dusk. But they usually want a good night hug first!!
My hen house or coop is off the ground and so it would be difficult to herd them in. I wait until dark and then just pick them up and put them in. My chickens aren't picker uppers. I have over 20 at this point, (I had 30 last week) so it is a little more difficult to work with them. My chickens are not pets to me. They are free rangers. I have 5 acres of great pasture and they are all over the place.
 

StephanieB1220

In the Brooder
Sep 28, 2020
46
40
30
I wish I had that much land, that's amazing. Pets or not I'm sure they are happy with the space. I can't imagine having to try and pick up 20 or 30 little squirmy chicks to put them in for the night!
 

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