Question about adding chicks to a flock???

aart

Chicken Juggler!
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Nov 27, 2012
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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.
Not true...chicks can be integrated into a flock without a mother hen.
Tho any new bird just tossed into a flock can be decimated.
They all need to be properly introduced...no matter the age.
 

Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
5 Years
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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.
View attachment 1613570
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.
View attachment 1613593
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.

View attachment 1613875
*edit* added this photo to show what the space looks like when not used as a brooder.
Great setup!
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
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I’ve been doing this early integration thing for forever, it seems. When I first did Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder and posted about it, most people were shocked and warned of dire consequences.....and I got some pretty nasty PMs about my cruelty, stupidity, and killing my chicks because I was trying to show off. Then I moved my chicks out with the adults.....gasp, shudder!!! More nasty PMs. If I heard, “The experts say...” one more time I was going to scream! And I still hear it, but I just ignore it.

When I have chicks out in the run in their wire pen, I hang the adult and the chick feeders and waterers right next to each other. They learn to eat and drink together peacefully with the wire separating them. I use @azygous portal doors system. I start mingling chicks with the flock at 2 weeks, they’re out with the adults all day long at 3 weeks, and fully integrated with the flock by 4 weeks - and that’s also when the brooder is removed completely.

The real experts are good broody hens. They get it right 99% of the time if not interfered with. So everything I do is designed to mimic her as closely as possible, including introducing chicks to the rest of the flock. The chicks thrive, and I’m not stressed out and fussing all the time. I hatch ‘em or order them, show them where “Mom” is, move them out and then feed and water them. I don’t depend on anything but common sense, and once in awhile a super helpful idea like the portal doors I stole from @azygous when she started doing it this way. The heating pad for heat idea came from Patrice Lopatin and fine-tuning came from my much-loved mentor, @Beekissed. I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never had an adult even injure a chick, much less kill one. That’s 8 batches of chicks. Same method every batch, every time.

If a two pound hen can do it without experts, books, websites, or any other artificial means, why do we do it so differently and think we’re doing it better? A lot depends on our own personal comfort zones, I get that. This is mine.
 

Blooie

Team Spina Bifida
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One of the portals open so the chicks can wander in and out. Silkie chicks on one side, adults on the other.

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Big ol’ Tank the Light Brahma...always the first to greet the chicks. That’s one of them with her...he’d just come out.

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Most of the chicks out, and one coming out. That’s Gladys, overseeing as the chicks find some scratch I’d thrown out for the Bigs. When I put scratch or treats out, I put some on both sides of the wire, again, teaching them to eat together peacefully. By the way, it was 29 degrees that day. No frozen chicks!

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By now integration has been complete for several days and the chicks wander wherever they want to go. I provide a few hiding places in the run and coop in case they get spooked and are too far away from the brooder, or when the brooder has been totally removed. Notice the overturned wheelbarrow - same purpose. The Bigs can’t follow them into the brooder or the hidey holes. The result is chicks that have taught themselves to find cover if threatened. Some of that preservation is instinctive, but a Mama Hen reinforces it. So do I.
 

blackdog043

Crowing
Feb 19, 2017
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I brood in my coop, it makes it easier to integrate this way. I use the Mama heat pad instead of a heat lamp. I used a dog Xpen and a double door dog crate, to make my brooder. At 4 weeks I made the cardboard panic door and by 6 weeks they were up roosting with the big girls. I had various things in the coop and run for the chicks to get away from any pecking. Yes, there was some pecking but nothing serious.

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Ol Grey Mare

One egg shy of a full carton. .....
5 Years
Mar 9, 2014
20,452
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751
Oregon
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I’ve been doing this early integration thing for forever, it seems. When I first did Mama Heating Pad in the Brooder and posted about it, most people were shocked and warned of dire consequences.....and I got some pretty nasty PMs about my cruelty, stupidity, and killing my chicks because I was trying to show off. Then I moved my chicks out with the adults.....gasp, shudder!!! More nasty PMs. If I heard, “The experts say...” one more time I was going to scream! And I still hear it, but I just ignore it.

When I have chicks out in the run in their wire pen, I hang the adult and the chick feeders and waterers right next to each other. They learn to eat and drink together peacefully with the wire separating them. I use @azygous portal doors system. I start mingling chicks with the flock at 2 weeks, they’re out with the adults all day long at 3 weeks, and fully integrated with the flock by 4 weeks - and that’s also when the brooder is removed completely.

The real experts are good broody hens. They get it right 99% of the time if not interfered with. So everything I do is designed to mimic her as closely as possible, including introducing chicks to the rest of the flock. The chicks thrive, and I’m not stressed out and fussing all the time. I hatch ‘em or order them, show them where “Mom” is, move them out and then feed and water them. I don’t depend on anything but common sense, and once in awhile a super helpful idea like the portal doors I stole from @azygous when she started doing it this way. The heating pad for heat idea came from Patrice Lopatin and fine-tuning came from my much-loved mentor, @Beekissed. I’ve never looked back, and I’ve never had an adult even injure a chick, much less kill one. That’s 8 batches of chicks. Same method every batch, every time.

If a two pound hen can do it without experts, books, websites, or any other artificial means, why do we do it so differently and think we’re doing it better? A lot depends on our own personal comfort zones, I get that. This is mine.
If I had a dollar for every time I "killed" my chickens......
 
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