Suggestions for introducing chicks to established hens and roo...?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by happychickenlady, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. happychickenlady

    happychickenlady Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm planning to add a few more chicks this spring and am wondering:

    1. How to successfully introduce them to the coop (hens and a roo).
    2. How old should they be before I introduce them? (I have a brooder in the garage they can stay in until they wear out their welcome with DH and his "man cave".)

    Thanks! [​IMG]
     
  2. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's my opinion that chicks should not be put in with adult birds. The adults can seriously hurt or even kill the chicks. As long as the chicks are peeping and not clucking, they are targets to be picked on. It is best to wait until the chicks are close to adult size, if not when they fully reach adult size.
    They will have to establish pecking order, but at least they will be big enough to protect themself. That's just my opinion and others may have advice on how to intergrate successfully.


    just wanted to add that I keep my chicks in "the baby section" of my coop. They are seperate, but the big birds can see and hear them and know the babies are there. I have a room sectioned off with chicken wire so they can easily see each other.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  3. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

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    1. What I do (and it has worked [​IMG] ) is when they are @ 3 mos old, I keep the youngsters in a pen adjacent to the older flock for a couple of weeks. Separate them with a fence they can see and hear each other through, but they can't physically interact. After a couple of weeks of this, I will choose a day that I know I can be there and put the newbies into the coop with the older girls the night before, and let them "wake up" together. Then I get up early and hang close by so if anything gets too out of hand, I can separate them. There will usually be normal "establishing of pecking order" stuff, but as long as it doesn't look lethal I just watch and let them be.

    2. I would wait to introduce them until they are @3-4 mos old. Before that, they just can't defend themselves against the older girls.

    Good luck [​IMG]

    There is a post somewhere on here that goes into much better detail on this. If I find it, I will post the link for you.
     
  4. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    My chicks go outside to the chicken tractor close to 3 weeks old (with a heat lamp, obviously) but they stay in the tractor where the other birds can see them but not attack them.
    Around 6-8 weeks they are getting big enough to free range together with the adults. At first there is some pecking as the adults establish their dominance, but so long as the youngsters can get away from them they seem to do ok. They free range together in the daytime, but they stick to their respective groups, and each group goes back to back to their own coop at night.

    They are about 3 to 3.5 months old now and I think that they might be big enough to put in the big coop, but I really see no reason to rush things. They probably won't be locked in together until I am ready to butcher the extra cockerels at around 20-22 weeks.
     
  5. happychickenlady

    happychickenlady Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you! Your answers will be very helpful. Does having a roo in the mix with the established hens make it more complicated when the chicks are ready to be introduced? I guess one of my concerns is that he will be ready to "get it on" with them before they come into laying and aren't wanting that yet or that he'll hurt them. Should I separate him from the flock prior to introducing the chicks?
     
  6. popcornpuppy

    popcornpuppy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It's been my experience that the roo will try to establish pecking order with the youngsters, but wont try to mate with them until they are sexually mature. My roos just knew when the pullets were ready for mating. If you try to introduce the youngsters and the roo seems to rough, then seperate him. But see how he is first.
     
  7. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

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  8. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Quote:I think my roo is more gentle with the little pullets than the hens are!! He doesn't mess with them in a mating way at all (yet)

    There's really not any competition between the cockerels and the mature roo either, it's like they know they can't take him!

    Really, it's more like having two flocks I guess. The adults have their pecking order and they follow their rooster, and the babies have their own pecking order and their own head cockerel. The only thing is that the lowest rank in the adult flock clearly overrules the highest rank in the baby flock. They all seem content that way so no real fighting amongst groups.

    I scatter their treats over a large area so that the babies can be sure to get in on the action [​IMG]
     
  9. happychickenlady

    happychickenlady Out Of The Brooder

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  10. little_grey_bantam

    little_grey_bantam Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My experience is I just toss them out with the older birds - I play "Mama" hen and they all know if they mess with MY babies, I'll "peck" their little butts!

    My birds all get along, I've never had any bloodshed. I don't stress out my layers by new introductions though (pecking order and all).

    All I worry about is the weather... too cold = dead newcomers (if they are babies).
    I make sure they are fully feathered out; I have a lot of "Bottle babies" as my pets [​IMG]
    Right now I have a BCM pullet who walks out of the cage too follow me [​IMG] <3 my little baby!

    If your birds are more aggressive, I'd wait or watch it and see how it goes. It took me a LONG time before I kicked "Gretchen" out into the other birds territory; I'd take her out and let her hang out with the birds for an hour the first day and kept at it until finally it was 6-8 hours;then I checked on her at night too make sure she knew where the coop was! [​IMG]

    G'Luck!
     

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