NEW MEMBER! HELP with integrating 2 *brand new* chicks with 5 *slightly older* chicks.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by 5KajChicks, Apr 13, 2016.

  1. 5KajChicks

    5KajChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2016
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    Hi everyone! I'm brand new to this group and to raising backyard chickens, but I'm very excited! I know only what I have read here in the last several weeks and what I have learned from friends with chickens, so I truly appreciate any information, suggestions or corrections you have to offer. I really want to be certain I'm doing this the right way, as to no screw up the whole process on integration. So hopefully a few of you with experience can help me out.

    I bought my first 4 chicks on March 18th, I believe 3 were a week (possibly 5 days) old when purchased, 1 was approximately 3 days old. I decided to get 1 more a few days later because there was more than enough room in the coop that my husband built. So I have 5 chicks that are approximately a month old, 1 a bit younger. 2 have larger/pinkish combs, slight wattle development and behaviors that seem to indicate that they might be roosters. If that is the case, I cannot keep them due to the laws in my county. I have a great home that is willing to take them, but I would prefer to be left with more than 3 hens for laying.

    Soooo......I bought 2 more chicks yesterday. I believe they are only 2 days old.

    I very carefully placed them in to the brooder while supervising. The one suspected rooster started urgently chirping for a few seconds, and the 2nd suspected rooster immediately charged and pecked. While I know pecking is expected, I couldn't let it happen...they're WAY too young. So I had my husband make a divider in the brooder (pic below) so that they could observe each other and get used to one another, while keeping them safe. Both groups are very curious of one another.

    So these are my main questions:

    1. At what age are the newer chicks old enough to put (while supervised) into the brooder to see how they're behaving?

    2. Should I wait until I decided if I'm getting rid of the suspected roosters before trying to integrate the new chicks at all? Or is it fine to integrate and then re-home the "roosters" if necessary?

    3. What should be the expected timeframe of complete integration?

    4. I was originally planning on moving them into the coop in about 2 weeks. Being that there are 2 babies, should I delay putting all of them outside? Or move the older ones and then re-integrate the younger ones again in the coop in 6 weeks?



    I realize that I made this difficult for myself. But I thought it would be easier to integrate at this young of an age, rather than down the road since I don't easily have the means to do this next year.

    I look forward to hearing your advice!
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2016
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yeah, you sure weren't doing yourself any favors by getting new babies at this stage of your other chicks, but your instincts are good, regardless!

    First, plan on hanging on to those two fellas until they're between three and four months old. Keep them with the unit for now, giving them time to grow into size before rehoming.

    You did good by creating a partition in the brooder so all the chicks can be together. This is crucial for flock cohesion. It's much easier integrating them if they all grow up side by side.

    Unfortunately, a month difference makes for a significant size difference, and the smalls are going to be at a disadvantage for a few weeks. I would give the smalls until they're around three weeks, during which time they will all be growing up side by side, and then take down the barrier. Possibly, integration will go smoothly. You won't know until the moment you do it. But the smalls will be much better able to handle it than they would at present.

    Since the bigs should be weaned off heat soon, I would move everyone into the coop very soon, keeping the separation in place with a heat source for the smalls, while giving the bigs the opportunity to live without the heat. It would be so much easier on all of them to heat the smalls with a heating pad system so only they are affected by the heat. Read up on this system over on Blooie's thread "Heating Pad for the Brooder" and you'll see how easy it is to set up.


    As for brooding outdoors, don't worry! Chicks are actually far better off being brooded outside than indoors under artificial circumstances. I think your integration will proceed far better out in your coop. For info on brooding outdoors, click on my link below under "Articles".

    You do have a coop, don't you? If not, you better get hubby busy asap!
     
  3. 5KajChicks

    5KajChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2016
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    THANK YOU for your quick and thoughtful response!! I understand all that you are saying and will check out your links and the heating pad link. We do have the coop basically ready except for a feeding and watering system that he wanted to complete before the chicks went in there. Also, we're in Illinois, so I was waiting for the crazy-cold spring we're having to warm up a bit.
     
  4. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    I managed to do the same thing to myself so I really appreciate the advice too. I was trying not to but you know what they say about best laid plans. Within a week of getting my first bunch that were a week or so old when I got them I knew I needed a few more .....and couldn't find any. The ones at TSC just didn't look healthy to me and I couldn't find any locally. So it was another week before I found any and they were two day old chicks. :( So I have a possible 3+ week gap. Yesterday I moved them side by side where they can see each other. I should have gotten a pic.....the littles were lined up looking into the bigs as if to say, "What the heck?" . The bigs were beside themselves trying to get on their roosts to see the littles better. Today both groups are going about their business as if the other doesn't exist. My plan was to keep them like this until the littles gain some size. So I really appreciate the advice as it helps me figure this out too. :) Oh...and I am pretty certain with the bigs I probably have two roosters. Littles remains to be seen. LOL Will definitely wait for the roosters to get to 3-4 months(or create a problem) before I figure that one out!
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. kgb6days

    kgb6days Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did the same thing to myself - so now I have 2 different groups of chicks about 2-3 weeks apart in age. Being a new chicken owner I didn't realize what a big deal that is. I do have a plan. The bigs are already outside in the coop/run and loving it. I've been taking the smalls out daily for around 45 minutes in the run with the bigs and letting them intermingle. The smalls aren't crazy about it but they are a bit flighty. I have a wire dog coop that I plan to utilize for the smalls when I move them outside this weekend if all goes well. Hopefully a week together but separate will do the job
     
    1 person likes this.
  6. 5KajChicks

    5KajChicks Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 2, 2016
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    I just wanted to post an update to let you know that both sets of chicks did fantastic! They integrated fairly quickly with minimal pecking, and they are LOVING the outdoors and being in their coop!! Thanks so much for your thoughtful advice and patience! I can imagine it's very frustrating answering questions from the newbies, so I appreciate advice from those with experience.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2016
  7. Teresa3612

    Teresa3612 New Egg

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    Mar 22, 2015
    I am so glad I found this thread. I bought 6 Dixie Rainbow chicks at TSC because I couldn't find what I really wanted, Orpingtons, locally. Then a friend posted that she is hatching Lavendar Orpingtons but they won't be ready for a while. My original 6 will be 5+ weeks when the others hatch. I plan to keep the LO in the brooder in the house till they are a couple weeks old then gradually introduce the two flocks.

    How old should the chicks be when I stop using the heat lamp? I have only been using it at night for now. It is still getting into the 40s at night and they seemed cold the one night I didn't turn it on.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Colorado Rockies
    If you desire an easy integration of the two age groups, you'll figure out a way to brood the new chicks alongside the older ones.

    At five weeks old, if you've been reducing their heat source gradually as they grow in their feathers, they should no longer need any heat. So I recommend brooding the babies under the heating pad system alongside the older ones so the big chicks aren't affected by the heat source. This affords the babies the opportunity to become familiar with the temperaments of the older chicks, and the older chicks will accept the babies as being part of their flock.

    When the babies reach age three weeks, they will be old enough to begin mingling with the older chicks, under supervision in the beginning. However, if you choose to brood them in the house apart from the older chicks, it won't be possible to integrate in this manner since the babies will need to be introduced to the older ones, complicating what could have been a simple process.
     
  9. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Birdydeb

    Birdydeb Chillin' With My Peeps

    For some reason I ├žouldn't get the text and picture together. This is what I did in my laundry room. "Bigs" are in a dog crate and "littles" are in two bird cages on a stand pushed up to the dog crate. I have rescued dogs and birds so I had extra crates and cages on hand. :)
     

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