preparing to introduce babies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ahilling, Feb 13, 2014.

  1. ahilling

    ahilling Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 29, 2013
    A have a mixed flock of 7 1/2 year old chickens. I have ordered 9 Rhode island reds for this spring. A have a big chicken house made of a shed attached to a run that is 8x12. Typically they are not in their run as they free range. The question I have is how to integrate the new chicks to the old group. I know exposure for a week or so is best but I don't know how to do that since they free range. Should I just keep them locked in the run? I'm concerned about into to newer ones being injured
  2. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    You are ordering day-old chicks? I'm assuming that they'll be in a brooder under lights until they are fully feathered?

    You can't introduce chicks to older hens until the chicks are big enough to withstand the pecking that will happen as they integrate into the flock. In fact, if you try to introduce just feathered chicks (5 weeks) to older hens, the older hens may very well kill the babies. You need to wait until they are at least 16-18 weeks old.

    Since you have the space, I'd divide it. Put up a chicken-wire barrier across half the space and put the new chicks in there until they are old enough. In fact, if it's not drafty, then you can use that area as a brooder, too with a little cardboard corral at first while they are too stupid not to wander too far away from the lights. They will be OK not free-ranging until they are old enough to mix with the older girls. Or, divide your pasture, too.

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