roostingand introducing the babies to an old hen

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sunnypooh, Oct 4, 2014.

  1. sunnypooh

    sunnypooh Out Of The Brooder

    17
    1
    24
    Jul 4, 2014
    Hi,

    I live in California where the days are still in the high 70s to 80s and the nights drop to high 50s. We have three six week old chicks that are getting too big for their brooder and just too dusty.

    When can I move them outside? We have a coop and an outdoor run that cannot be wired with a heat lamp.

    Can we house them in the same coop as an older hen who was the top of the pecking order before her sisters passed on?

    Lastly, do I make them a separate lower roost?

    After reading other posts, I don't know if mine are fully feathered. They've never been outside and they're an easter egger, rir, and buff Orpington
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,723
    2,687
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    With those temps you can move them out 2 weeks ago.

    The lone hen may very well welcome the company, just keep an eye on them for a few days and provide extra feed and water locations.

    They may want to sleep on the floor for a while, when they're ready to roost, they'll get up to where she is.
     
  3. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    Yes, at 6 weeks they are more then ready to go outside. I agree that the older hen may welcome some company, but I'd still fence off an area of the run for the new youngsters, let them go out during the day and be next to her for a week or so. Let everybody have time to get used to each other, this will minimize the risk of the older bird seriously pecking any of the young ones. She may be an only bird but she may still be territorial about her space, especially if she was top hen before. There will still be pecking order scuffles when you do put them together but if given a little time to get acquainted first those are usually minor.

    Off subject but something to keep in mind since you mentioned your chicks have never been outside: When chicks move out and are on the ground for the first time, especially where other chickens have been, they are at high risk of coccidiosis. Keep some Corid on hand and watch closely for any symptoms so you can treat asap if there's a problem.
     
  4. MotherOfChkns

    MotherOfChkns Out Of The Brooder

    26
    3
    26
    Oct 3, 2014
    Santa Cruz mountains
    Many people recommend introducing new birds by keeping them in a separate area in view of the others. Another way that is highly recommended is to introduce them at night. When the hen is sleeping you can put the youngsters in the coop with her and when they wake up altogether they are family. I don't know if that would work as well with only one bird in the original flock though.
     
  5. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    I have tried that whole "pop them in the coop at night" thing, it has never, ever worked for me. Anyone who tries it should make sure they are right there, early in the morning to supervise when birds get off the roost. When it gets light the older birds are smart enough to know there are strange, new birds in the coop. This method might work fine in a large flock, not so much in a small flock. The potential for disaster is high. I'd say try it if you want to, but be there when they get up and be prepared to keep them separate for a week or so if it doesn't work out.
     
  6. kim10261

    kim10261 Chillin' With My Peeps

    104
    2
    78
    Apr 20, 2014
    I will be getting some baby chicks and they will not be with the flock until they are fully feathered,(mainly because it will be the starting of winter here) my chickens have not fell to any illness as to date,why would my new babies be at high risk of coccidiosis? what are the signs of this and what can I do to prevent this?
     
  7. sunnypooh

    sunnypooh Out Of The Brooder

    17
    1
    24
    Jul 4, 2014
    Thanks for the tips. Anybody ever worried the hens will smoosh the chicks by jumping down on them from the roost?

    Also regarding the coccidis, I thought that all chicks are carriers. Why would it matter if theyve been exposed to dirt?

    Thanks
     
  8. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

    21,723
    2,687
    466
    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Keeping the bedding bone dry is the best defense.

    Healthy chicks are tough, they've been through rough treatment for 10s of thousands of years.

    Regarding coccidiosis. Chicks are not carriers. Eimeria protozoa invades the digestive tract. It isn't transmitted vertically from the hen to the chick through the egg. It has to be consumed by a live bird. They don't come out of the egg defecating the protozoa.

    There are many species of Eimeria that exist everywhere in the world. All livestock are vulnerable but there are nine species that are responsible for coccidiosis in chickens. Not all species exist everywhere. A bird will be exposed picking things up from the soil and as long as it isn't overwhelming numbers, the bird will develop resistance naturally.
    When a bird with resistance is moved to a new location, they can be exposed to another species that can cause infection. It's a good idea to keep Corid on hand for those occasions.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by