Question about adding chicks to a flock???

tacothechicken

Crowing
Apr 2, 2015
840
2,013
256
Anacortes WA
My Coop
My Coop
(Warning:This is long, I dont even know were I went w/ this o-O) I've done all 3 ways(in coop/house/brood) and for me using a broody worked best for the flock and the chicks. Hens don't really care for chicks if not broody or prone to brooding heavily! And they re predators so a small random chick gets about the same response as a small wild bird stealing food, aka peck and chase it till it disapears or stops moving :/ my birds know im the flock leader when present even to our roos so when introducing house raised chicks theyd generally stay willingly seperate till theyve been forced to bond over time through experiences and get over the new upstarts. Coop raising was a bit easier socially wise but chicks still took a beating if a upper hen got put off. Slipping them under my broody worked shockingly well! She did everything and anything required and chicks didnt get more than a poke cause mom was body guard. She also teaches them all dangers, plants to not eat, calls etc so it lowers risk of chicks poisoning themselves by chance if there's some plant not cleared away or a predator grabbing a naive bird whith no knowledge of fear cause mom teaches them. I love chicks but I will never raise them in house again and honestly if I have enough birds continously brood for infinite future I may just leave it all to them! Having brood raised chicks have probably been my healthiest fastest growing whith least lost batch of birds in a few years sad to say (we've been having a ton of issues preds, parasites, etc) 6 months into to my current broody raised chicks and theyre finally rediscussing flock pecking order(especially w/ 3 roos currently 0x0) but all birds are in perfect shape and know to only tussle amongst themselves and our 3 older pullets mom and our Dominant RIR hen dont put up whith none of their teenage hormone crap XD!!!
 

Mrs.Megan

Songster
Sep 10, 2018
119
250
116
Northern Virginia
You’ve gotten lots of great advice here. I did my research over the last several months as I’m integrating chicks as we speak and used all this advice most importantly the look but don’t touch approach. My chicks are 8 weeks old and becoming a part of an established family of 4 chickens.
I found when the chicks were little ~ days old ~ their curiosity would have gotten them in trouble with the older girls but luckily the chicken wire protected them. Now they have learned to run into their little protected area I’ve created with a chick sized doorway. I also keep water and food in there for them. I’ve also created a chicken wire divider on the roosts so they can sleep next to the big girls safely.
Chicks need protection to eat and sleep from the older ones. They are running freely and the big girls ignore them for the most part unless their roosts or food are involved.
Good luck!
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
21,834
11,813
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I'm lucky, I have a chick/grow-out coop to raise the youngsters and when they get large enough they go out to one of the outer coops and pens. When I have added them to other flocks there will be some squabbling until they figure out their new pecking order. Adding them at night has worked pretty well.
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Premium member
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,187
932
Northwest Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
I brood in the coop, in sight of the adult flock, and begin integration at three weeks....it works similar to the natural integration of chicks raised by a hen in the flock.

This panel hangs from the poop board, creating my brooder space....when not needed the panel stores away and the space is just part of the coop
Brooding inside the coop is awesome!! I'd seen this idea before and so when I built my new coop I made sure to design a versatile area like that under the poop tray for this exact purpose. I see the heating pad cave in there too! My brooder's not quite as big as yours, but I only raise 3 chicks at a time.
I also gave them their own pop door (partially blocked in this pic) so they had their own run space too.
12.jpg

During the day, even at only a week old, I'd let them all free range together for short supervised intervals. At about 3-4 weeks, I switched the HWC panel with a picket fence panel I made from lath strips... the big girls couldn't fit through those 3½" spaces, but the chicks could and they'd always perch on the center cross support.

Then, by 5 weeks, the chicks were done with heat and roosting.
brooder-integration.jpg

I'm sure everyone has different experiences, but I was pretty pleased with how smoothly this integration went. The roosts are now changed to be the same height.
I still think having a broody hen raise chicks is probably the best way, but not everyone has a broody readily available at any given time, especially with such little space and few hens.

brooder-space.jpg
*edit* added this photo to show what the space looks like when not used as a brooder.
 
Last edited:

lulu_lulu

In the Brooder
Oct 10, 2017
26
26
49
dont do that, i ve lost several chicks doing that before, even if the chick already 6 weeks old or more.

maybe the older hen and roo dont kill them but they still dont have a chance to eat. even if u put multyple feeder at separate place, the older chicken will just split to eat. and even if there only one old chicken on feeder, the small chick will still afraid to eat because the chicken will peck at them.
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Premium member
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,187
932
Northwest Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
dont do that, i ve lost several chicks doing that before, even if the chick already 6 weeks old or more.

maybe the older hen and roo dont kill them but they still dont have a chance to eat. even if u put multyple feeder at separate place, the older chicken will just split to eat. and even if there only one old chicken on feeder, the small chick will still afraid to eat because the chicken will peck at them.
Did you have them safely separated but within full view of each other for several weeks before putting them together? It works well to have both feeders (or more) right next to the divider on each side so they get used to eating together without being able to touch each other.

Some links to great articles have already been left earlier on how to integrate young birds. Here they are again:
Integrating at 4 weeks old

Start Raising Chicks Outdoors


You Certainly Can Brood Chicks Outdoors
 

Toothpick

Songster
Premium member
Aug 15, 2016
429
636
157
TN
One of my young nieces threw a baby chick in with the grown flock once. I just happened to walk outside and noticed a couple hens pecking and clawing something so I look closer and it's a baby chick. I quickly got in there and rescued it. They would have no doubt killed it. It was already bleeding. You can't put baby chicks and grown chickens together. UNLESS they were hatched with the flock and have a mother hen to protect them.

I had a hen go broody and she hatched 3 chicks. Raised them from day 1 with the rest of the flock. It was awesome because I didn't have to do anything! And the other chickens left them alone. Now they are grown and a part of the flock. Fingers crossed I have another go broody.
 

Latest posts

Top Bottom