Question - adding 2 day old chicks to brooder with 2 week old chicks OK?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Medda, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. Medda

    Medda Songster

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    Hi all,
    Quick question - I got 12 chicks originally shipped from Ideal. They were hatched on Tuesday, March 6th and I got them on Thursday, March 8th. 2 of the littles didn't make it. I now have the chance to add some Easter Egger/Ameracuana chicks tomorrow from my local feed store. The chicks will most likely be 2 days old tomorrow when they arrive.

    Can i just add 2-4 new chicks into the brooder with the 2 week old chicks (10 of them) or will I need to keep the new chicks separate for a few days? The 2 week old chicks are in the garage in a 24 sq. ft. brooder with MHP, on pine shavings, with food/water, a dust bath and chick grit available. Any concerns with having the dust bath (sand/soil) or the grit available for 2 day old chicks?

    Would it be better to add 2 or 4 new chicks (chicken math is working.....)?

    Thanks, Medda
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

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    That brooder size is tremendous. A broody hen would introduce her chicks to grit as soon as she took them off the nest, it's usually about the first thing she does. But she will also have them eating things where they need grit, that's usually the second thing she does. As long as they are not eating things where they need grit you can remove it for a couple of days until they get used to eating real food. Personally I do not feed mine grit, I put dirt in there from the run where the adults are so they can start to work on flock immunities they might need, get probiotics into their system from the adults, and they pick up grit from that. You probably don't have adults so you won't get all those benefits but i'd have no qualms about having that dust bath in there.

    If it were me I'd put the new chicks in with the older ones and see what happens but have a Plan B available. A lot of the time that will go so smoothly you wonder what all the concern was. But occasionally there are problems, even if the new chicks are exactly the same age. You just never know with living animals and their behaviors. If it works, just putting them in there is the easiest, simplest, and best short term and long term solution. But if you have to isolate chicks in there, be prepared on short notice to do it.

    When I see chickens picking on each other, it is often one picking on a specific individual. If something happens and you can identify one specific aggressor I'd be prepared to isolate the aggressor in the brooder for a few days. Sometimes the others feed off of the aggressor but sometimes it is more of a general thing. It usually does go really well but you have to be prepared for anything.

    I would not add additional chicks I did not want just because it might help integration go better. When I see aggression I think it is usually (not always) more personality driven than anything else, one just takes a dislike to another. But you have seen that chicks can die. It is possible that the younger chicks might tend to hang out with each other, so if one dies and you only have two it can be lonely even with the others in there. Not likely, but possible. So I'd suggest a minimum of three.

    Be prepared for the feed store to not be willing to sell you fewer than six. That's a policy many places, mainly to prevent spot purchases when people aren't set up to handle chicks or especially near Easter for someone to buy a chick as a gift for a niece or nephew that cannot have chicks. That policy has prevented a lot of cruelty. You might chat with them to determine their policy, you may need to find someone to split an order with you or be prepared for six.
     
    Medda likes this.
  3. Medda

    Medda Songster

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    Northern Middle TN
    Thanks @Ridgerunner. Of the initial 12 I ordered 2 were Easter Egger (1 of which died). I have 2 Welsummer, 2 Buckeyes, and rest are sex links (red, gold, black). I believe the local feed store would be willing to sell only 2 since I have the 10 already but I will most likely get 4 if I can.

    I'm using a MHP so I'm trying to figure out how I could isolate the chicks or an aggressor within the brooder. I have some left over chicken wire I could fashion into a section but how to section the heat source is giving me fits. I guess I could cut and then bend/fold the wire to divide the MHP underneath so a section would be in the isolated area?
    Thanks, Medda
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Medda, you get my "best post of the day award points" for having a well thought out, spacious, sensible brooder in place! It is refreshing to see such a post! Kudos to you!

    Yes, you can brood new chicks with the older ones, but you should have a back up plan in place. It could be as simple as a table lamp used as a temporary heat lamp set up in your house for a few days. Of course, safety must come first. I absolutely would NOT try to put a divider under/around your existing MHP. That is IMO a recipe for disaster. Generally, new chicks will fit in with the older ones. The biggest risk comes from the "littles" getting trampled by the "not so littles".

    You might want to take your packing slip and/or photos of your current brood with you to the feed store as proof that you have a good set up and flock mates for the new chicks to join. Or call ahead! I would shoot for 4 instead of 2, as long as you have adequate coop space.

    Can you be around for the first 24 hours to check the new ones often to be sure they are ok with the older ones?
     
    Medda likes this.
  5. Medda

    Medda Songster

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    Thanks @lazy gardener. I will be working remotely from home for the next two days so I will be available to keep an eye on them. Other than a couple of hour long meetings, I could pop out to the garage to check frequently. I will be home for the next 4 days thru the weekend before I would need to leave them for 8-9 hours while at work.

    I do have two wire dog kennels that I used initially with the 12 chicks. If necessary, I could keep the new chicks in one of those for the first couple of days. Those are in the house in my office with the temperature at 70 degrees. I do not have a second MHP but if you think a lamp with a regular bulb would be sufficient I may do that instead of trying to section off a portion of the MHP. I do have a second set of feeders/waterers so that's not an issue.

    As for the coop, it's being built and will be delivered in the next couple of weeks. I went with a 10x16 Woods coop so I should have adequate space for 14 total. I will also be adding an enclosed run over the next couple of months once the coop is delivered.
    Thanks, Medda
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

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    Medda, I despise heat lamps in all of their forms! But, as a last ditch, if you needed to separate them for a bit, you could play with a lamp. You will need to play around with that to get the right temp if you do need to separate them due to size difference.

    The more complicated you make the MHP, the more likely you are to have an "issue" with it. I would not try to divide it. I do think that the MHP will greatly ensure your success with the age span in comparison to doing so with a heat lamp. Your nice size brooder will also help ensure your success.
     
    Medda likes this.
  7. Medda

    Medda Songster

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    So the local feed store did not receive their shipment yesterday. I've called and they arrived this morning. I will be going to take a look at the Easter Eggers to see what kind of shape they are in after shipment. I plan on getting 4 new ones.

    I've setup a second MHP in the dog kennel indoors in my office - at least for today/tonight. I can keep an eye on them this afternoon and tomorrow to check for pasty butt, failure to thrive, etc. If all goes well by tomorrow afternoon or Sunday morning, I will try to add them to the 10 two week old chicks in the garage brooder.

    Thanks for all the advice/suggestions. I think I'll just feel better for the first 24-36 hours having them easily watched/accessible until I can be sure they are eating/drinking/pooping.

    Thanks, Medda
     
    Ridgerunner likes this.
  8. Medda

    Medda Songster

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    So I ended up with 4 new little ones - Americana/Ameraucana/Easter Egger, LOL whatever you want to call them. They are in the brooder in the office with food/water and a MHP. These 4 littles are much more vocal so far than the initial 12 chicks I got. But they are all eating, drinking and going under and out from MHP.

    New Littles.jpg
     

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