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Raising chicks with older chickens

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by triplepurpose, Nov 23, 2009.

  1. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    Hi Folks,

    I was wondering if anyone has had any experiences raising chicks with older birds. We have about 20 hens (soon to be closer to a dozen, some are getting a little ancient) and a rooster in a pretty good size coop and pasture (pasture is about sixty by twenty feet, plus a ten by twenty covered area, and an eight by eight house with nesting areas). I'm incubating some 35 eggs currently, and was planning to keep the chicks inside until about 4 to 6 weeks (like we've done before) before putting them outside. I've heard about putting chicks in with older birds at night, but never had the guts to try it. We've always waited until they were big enough to stick up for themselves, but I was thinking it would be so much easier to keep and feed them together, rather than rig up a separate area for the little ones, as I've done before. (BTW, we live in the tropics, so we don't have to worry about heating or any of that, fortunately) Anyone have any tricks up their sleaves?

    Thanks for your ideas,

  2. TXmom

    TXmom Songster

    Chickens and flocks seem to have very different personalities...what works for one person doesn't always work for others, so you might have to experiment a little. I have been so fortunate...I haven't had much trouble integrating chicks.

    I added 3 young pullets to my flock by just putting them in the coop at night. I heard a little clucking in the coop since I was disturbing them a little, but no one came down off their roosts. I went outside early the next morning to see how everyone was doing, and my chickens were checking out the new girls...a little peck here and there, but no violence. The 3 young girls stick together...eat together, walk around together, but they get along with everyone else just fine.

    When I ordered more chicks in August, I kept them in the house in a brooder for a couple weeks, then started letting them go outside in the backyard during the day. I watched them to make sure they didn't get hurt. They stayed close to the house most of the time, while the bigger chickens were all over the (fenced in) yard. Every once in a while a bigger chicken would peck at a chick, but the chicks just learned to stay away from them. Nobody ever got hurt...just a feather plucked occasionally. They gradually stayed out for longer and longer periods, and then I just started putting the chicks in the coop at night with the big ones.

    I hope this helps you...
  3. sillyaboutchickens

    sillyaboutchickens In the Brooder

    Aug 16, 2009
    We are new to chickens, but we needed to integrate some young chicks with older chickens so when the chicks were 7 weeks old we put a small dog crate into the coop and propped the door open enough so only the 7 week old chicks would fit inside. If the older chickens started "picking" on the babies, the little ones ran into the dog crate and the bigger ones could not follow. We let them all free range together outside and there were not problems. Although as another person posted, all flocks are different and I believe we have some pretty gentle, docile birds. While there does appear to be a "pecking" order, I have not witnessed too much pecking/picking just for the sake of doing so. The younger birds still stick together, but they do follow the flock and at night occassionally end up separated by the older birds on the roosting bars and that seems just fine.

    We too had gotten the advice to go in at night and really "stir up the flock", leave the chicks and check on them in the morning.

    Good luck!
  4. triplepurpose

    triplepurpose Songster

    Oct 13, 2008
    Thank you guys for the responses! I'll have to suss it out when the time comes nearer, but you've given me some great ideas to work with. Thanks again.

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