Questions about introducing/integrating 6-week old chicks with 9-week old chicks.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Falcon Chickens, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    Hello everyone. Long time lurker, 2nd time poster.

    I'm very new to all of this, and I have read everything I can find about this topic. I have a few questions that I hope your expertise and experience can help me with.

    I've received two separate orders of 4-week-old chicks. The orders were 3 weeks apart. Five of the chicks are now 9-weeks old (had them for 5 weeks), and three of them are now 6-weeks old (had them for 2 weeks). The younger ones are still quarantined to my garage in a small coop, and I had planned on keeping them quarantined for another 2 weeks, then migrate their small coop/run near to my large coop/run so that they could get used to each other but not touch each other.

    My confusion:
    - I'm supposed to keep the young'uns quarantined for 30 days, but I've read that if I got them from a reputable hatchery, I don't need to do that. I got all 8 of them from the same hatchery, and they are supposed to have all been vaccinated for the same things.

    - I'm supposed to keep them separated until the youngest ones are big enough to defend themselves, but the older ones are still growing too. It will be a long time until they are all full grown.

    - It will soon be winter where I live, and if I don't get the young'uns out of my garage and into the COOL weather soon, they will have a tough time of it once the COLD weather gets here. Their small coop is not insulated and only has a small heat lamp. The big coop is insulated and draftproof, and is much more suitable for our winters.

    Does the fact that my "oldest" chicks are still so young and not very much bigger than my "youngest" chicks change the rules about how long to wait to introduce them? Seems like maybe since they are all so young they may have significantly different dynamics to their introductions, as opposed to introducing young chicks to mature laying hens. It almost seems like the longer I wait, the even more-difficult it may be due to the older chicks getting closer to laying age, and I'd hate to do this in the dead of winter (Dec-Jan).

    Not that it should matter, but the older chicks are 3 BOs and 2 Red Stars; and the 3 younger chicks are BAs (although two of them look like Speckled Sussex or Barred Rock chicks).

    I'm sure I've totally overthinked/overthunk this whole thing.

    How would you go about introducing them? How much longer to quarantine? How much longer would you wait before letting them sleep together?

    Any advice from your experiences would be very much appreciated!
     
  2. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    I realize now that I somehow posted this in the Random Ramblings forum rather than where it should've been posted, but I can't figure out how to change it. Sorry.[​IMG]
     
  3. Bunnylady

    Bunnylady POOF Goes the Pooka

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    Wilmington, NC
    It's OK, a mod will move it to the right section.[​IMG]

    First off, welcome to BYC![​IMG]

    Just my thoughts, here. If the chicks came from the same place, I wouldn't think you'd need to quarantine them from each other. Two weeks should be enough time for them to get acclimated to you and your place.

    I'd be inclined to advance the introduction of these two groups, because of the reasons you stated. I'd also prefer to get them together at a time when I could watch them interact, just to make sure the smaller ones don't get bullied too much.
     
  4. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    Thanks, Bunnylady. I guess that is probably what I was hoping to hear. I have a long weekend coming up in which I'll be able to spend a lot of time with them, so I'll probably let them see/hear/smell each other the first day or two, and depending on how that goes let them actually touch each other the day after that.
     
  5. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    So, yesterday I took my three youngest out of their small coop in my garage and put them in a large dog kennel outside of my big coop/run. Had it very close to the other 5 chicks, so that they could see, hear, and smell each other, but not touch each other. There was obviously a lot of curiosity, but that wore off pretty quickly.

    I then put the dog kennel inside of the large run so that they could all get a little closer for a while. Hand fed all of them some lettuce to keep them distracted, but after an hour or so, my alpha-female from the established flock pecked the alpha-female from the new chicks right on the beak to a point of drawing a little blood. Immediately separated them again, and they spent the night back in the garage.

    Going to try it again today now that her beak isn't bleeding anymore. Thoughts?
     
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Grifton NC
    Put them all together and let THEM sort it out, because in the end that is what will have to happen anyway
     
  7. heidisue

    heidisue Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You are doing good :) keep them so they can see each other but not touch for a week or so.
     
  8. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    So, since my last post it has become too cold/windy to be able to put the new chicks outside with the older chicks. The young ones are now 7 weeks old, and the older ones are now 10 weeks. I was putting the young chicks outside in the dog kennel for soft introduction, but the older ones are able to run into the coop when it is too cold, whereas the young ones locked in a kennel don't have that luxury. I've had to go back to keeping the young ones in their small coop in the garage until it warms up some. Now my concern is whether these young chicks would even be able to handle being outside at night; it's been getting down to 28-35 at night now, and probably 40-45 in the coop at night. Garage is 55 or so at night, and they seem cold, even under a small 40W red lamp. The 10-week-old chicks all seem to be doing fine with the temps/wind.

    Not sure what to do, but putting "them all together and let THEM sort it out" doesn't seem like the right method based on all I've read. I'm afraid of having 3 dead 7-week-old chicks.
    Really second-guessing myself about my decision to get young chicks in September now. Just seemed like trying to introduce young chicks to other young chicks in the Fall would be easier than introducing young chicks to adult hens in the Spring would've been.
     
  9. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    Had a warm day today, so took a few hours off work this afternoon to try to get back into the integration process with the chicks. Since it had been a few days since we'd last tried any integration, I went back to Phase 1, young'uns in the dog kennel outside of the main coop/run. After an hour or so of no interest from the older chicks, I put the kennel inside of the main coop/run - my Phase 2. They seemed to remember each other, definitely wasn't as much pecking at each other or as much interest in each other as there was a few days ago when we had to separate them because of the baby getting her beak pecked to the point of bleeding. I sat in the run floor with the elders (10-week-olds) and fed all of them some lettuce to keep them distracted from the young'uns. After a while, I opened the doors on the kennel, and eventually the young'uns got brave enough to walk out into the main run. Everything seemed to be going well for a couple of hours.

    The two alphas from the older chicks gave the young'uns some pecks on the lower back and made them run around, but I'd read enough to expect that this would happen. The young'uns were able to easily get away because of the various obstacles that I had put into the run's sand floor. After a few hours, the older chicks seemed to not even have any interest in the young'uns, so I removed the kennel from the run and put it back into the garage. I continued monitoring them, occasionally feeding them some treats to keep their attention off of the young'uns, but I soon noticed that the young'uns were being kept away from the food and water but my two Red Stars (the alphas). The three BOs seemed to be getting along fine with the three new BAs.

    I eventually decided to take the two Red Stars out of the primary run, and put them into the smaller coop/run in the garage. This left the three new BAs in the primary coop/run with the three BOs, and they all seem to be getting along fine; the pop door is closed on the coop for the night, but I've been checking on them periodically through the windows. The two Red Stars seem pretty confused about what is going on and seem lost in their new "small coop" in the garage.

    Anyone have any suggestions on how long I should leave the two bullies in the garage before reintroducing them back into the primary coop/run with the 3 chicks that they've spent the last few weeks with and the 3 new chicks that they've been picking on?

    Thanks for any advice.
     
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2013
  10. Falcon Chickens

    Falcon Chickens Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 11, 2013
    Falcon, Colorado
    Well, since we didn't receive any advice on how long we should leave the bullies separated to the brooder, we took them out after two days and put them back in the main coop/run with the young'uns and the other three older chicks. They immediately went back to being bullies to the new chicks. Didn't want to regress on the two days worth of integrating we'd done, though, so we left them in there. After three days and two nights of them all being together, they are still chasing them everywhere, and the young'uns seem to be terrified. They aren't bleeding though, so we're letting them stay together.

    Any ideas on how long it will be before the 11-week-olds warm up and be a little nicer to the 8-week olds?
     

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