Opening the Cage...?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ears73, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. ears73

    ears73 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    Westchester, NY
    Hiya folks.

    I am wondering when to open the cage that houses our new polish chicks and let them mix with the flock -I think they are about two months old - fully feathered and used to outdoor temps, etc.

    We have a 10x10 coop in flux right now with 5 1-year old laying hens, 8 five-month old laying hens and 1 five-month old roo.

    The year olds came three weeks ago and keep mostly to themselves. We just removed an alpha roo last week so everyone is changing their order, and the cage with the 2 little polish are inside the coop (first full day was yesterday) and moved to an outside cage during the day. Roo keeps going over to them and cooing, we think trying to add them to his flock.... We also got a four month old partridge cochin with the polish, and we integrated her right away because of her compatible size, however as she was badly shunned by her previous flock (which is why we took her in) she is often off by herself -I wonder if the polish and her would stick together?

    So back to the original question -can I open the cage door for the polish and let them fully integrate? The are too small to roost with the big girls, but I could make a smaller roost...?

    Any thoughts?

    Here's a pic of the sweet things:
  2. dixiechick

    dixiechick Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would go ahead and open the cage. Our chicks are two months old and have been integrated for about a month...I'd be supervising, though, in case a quick intervention is needed!

    Good Luck!

  3. ears73

    ears73 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    Westchester, NY
    Oopsies, I forgot to mention that we free range -there is no fencing to keep them within a confined area outside. We have made stick shelter areas and have tall trees above, but they would need to learn fast to listen to the roo and run for cover when he signals the warning... From what I read I will have to trim their crown feathers a bit so they can see where they are running!

    We also have our dogs roaming about -two are FANTASTIC with them but there is one who needs to be watched with little things (the big birds he leaves alone).

    *sheesh* this is getting more complicated! And, I guess I have to make them a ramp to get back into the coop? Not sure they are big enough to hop up in there yet...

    Didn't think this all through, huh. Just said "ooooooh, I'll take them and we'll love them good!"
  4. skand

    skand Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 29, 2008
    Odessa, Tx
    Since you got rid of your dominant roo, are you sure you have one who will sound the alarm if anything goes wrong?
  5. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master

    Feb 8, 2007
    You could give it a try, supervised of course. Keep in mind though that your polish will be the lower end of the pecking order due to size, age and most importantly vision. My polish I had were way to docile to live with my standard mixed flock and they were constantly pecked on. I eventually had to house them with the bantams until I could find them a home. Event he bantams pecked on them.
  6. ears73

    ears73 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2008
    Westchester, NY
    Good to know..... I will certainly look out for them but I think they will stay in the cage for at least a few more days.. Awww, I don't want to give them up, the wee things. Sooo cute! I can imagine finally taking down the old tree house and making a baby coop.... hopefully we won't have to do that, but it is an option down the road.

    As far as the roo, I have been very surprised that he stepped right up and started to look after them incredibly well.

    I hope the little ones get to live a happy and good life and not get pecked and picked!
  7. whatsup chickenbutt

    whatsup chickenbutt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 9, 2008
    im not so sure about letting them free range just yet with your dog that needs to be watched. Im only saying this from my experience right now with my dog. I let him have access to my chickens about 2 months ago i guess. He is fine, with all of them. He's not interested in them at all, however I have 8 babies now about 5 weeks old and he is obsessed with them, and I dont think its in a 'fatherly' way. I think he is interested in a light snack.
  8. hinkjc

    hinkjc Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    Jan 11, 2007
    You also want to consider feed requirements. 8 week old birds still need chick/grower nutrition, while layer requirements are completely different. Putting young birds on layer ration too early is not good for them and can lead to problems.


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