questions about a new batch of chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by shellybean40, Feb 22, 2011.

  1. shellybean40

    shellybean40 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2010
    Boerne, TX
    I am a new Chicken Mama-have had my 9 girls since last Spring. I would like to get some new chicks this spring, but was wondering several things:

    First, how do you keep the babies separated from the big girls? I have one coop and run. I could separate the little ones (after they feather out), in the run, but then they would have to be carried into the coop and caged to protect them from the big girls.

    Second, how do you keep new Chickens from eating the layer feed that the big girls are on? I understand it is damaging to the younger hens kidneys.

    Third, how old do the new girls have to be to be introduced to the older girls???

    Thanks in advance for your expertise.
  2. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    first question: if you have a spare coop, you can seperate them. if your coop is large enough. chicken wire for seperation.
    second question: at about 8 weeks you can put the new girls on adult feed. i would mix it in with the other stuff, so they get used to it.
    third question: if you free range, thats a great start!!

    good luck.[​IMG]
  3. kitchwitch

    kitchwitch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 3, 2009
    Greensburg, Pa
    I was able to separate my run when my little chicks were old enough to start being introduced to the big girls, so that's what I did. I got an extra large rubbermaid tote and cut a whole in it and put it in the run as a makeshift "coop" for the little ones and all the chickens were able to give each other the 'stinkeye' for a couple weeks as they got used to each other. I was only introducing 4 new chickens at the time. As far as feed goes, I actually lucked out because the hens were in molt and needed the extra protein anyway, so everyone was on grower for a couple weeks before being switched back to layer. After 2 weeks of introductions I moved the little ones in with the big girls at night and they've been doing fine ever since. No big issues at all :)

    As for how old they should be when you introduce them, you'll get a lot of varying answers. You do want to wait until they're fully feathered, and I wouldn't do it before 8 weeks of age. When my little ones were finally moved into the big girl coop, they were 9-10 weeks old.
  4. Livinwright Farm

    Livinwright Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2011
    Carroll County
    Honestly, if you have a medium to large dog crate(or can get one for free- to-cheap off craigslist), put your new arrivals in that and into the coop. I did this with my most recent hatching at 3 weeks old(I live in NH, btw), and at 4 weeks old the door to the crate was opened. There was some minor head pecking done by the pre-existing flock. Normal pecking order stuff. But now, all 7 chicks are doing great! They are on a mix of cracked corn, scratch grains, & BOSS. They live with my goats in our 12x13x13 barn, so my little ones have the advantage of escaping under a stall door if they feel too pestered.

    Most people don't need to feed their hens in the spring through fall months(other than a little oyster shell)... so this will eliminate your worries on chicks eating layer feed. If you wish to continue feeding your existing hens the layer through the good months, you can always: keep their feeder inside, let the pre-existing hens out into the run, set out their feeder, let them eat all they want, then remove the feeder, and let the young ones out. OR you can hang the feeder so that your hens have access to it, but the chicks can't reach it.
  5. AllCoop'dUp

    AllCoop'dUp Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 12, 2010
    Creswell, Oregon
    I kept the babies in a brooder until they were 6 weeks old. Then I fashioned a play pen size area using wire large enough for the chicks to venture out, but where the older ones couldn't get in. Hung the heat lamp over a corner, put in some sticks for them to roost on, added their chick starter and water dish. I also switched to Flockraiser until the babies were 18 weeks old. I was told that the chicks really wouldn't eat the oyster shell until they needed it. Mine took little dust baths in it! With the ability to move in and out of the protected area they can naturally integrate with the big girls.

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