They have out grown the brooder box! But baby it's cold outside! HELP

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cjatthefarm, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    99
    Aug 26, 2010
    Tucson
    I have read and read about new chicks with the older hens. So, here I am with 4 week+ old babies and 8 week old+ hens & roosters.

    It is 60 outside. I took the babies outa the brooder box into the house; the big kids are in the run--door closed.

    I have one of those 'playpen' thingys for my dogs, that I planned to put them(the babies) into, inside the run. But, what IF the babies were hanging out in the house/coop, when the big girls came in? Bad idea? Would there be blood?

    I can, of course, put the babies back in the box overnight; and do the playpen in the morning.

    The temps in the desert are gonna drop in four or five days, and I would love to speed up the process of getting the babies out of the box--they are huge! But I dread the stress for everyone! Me included!

    Thoughts, please?
     
  2. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    99
    Aug 26, 2010
    Tucson
    Really? No one has an opinion to share? Wisdom? Guidance?![​IMG]
     
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    I am not sure I understand - please help me [​IMG]

    You have two clutches of chicks - they are 4 weeks apart. Correct?

    Your 4 week old chicks are too large for their brooder and you want to put them in the coop with the 8 week olds. Correct? - are they fully feathered and off of heat? What are the night temps in your house vs. in the coop - how cold is it going to get? Do you have a heat source in the coop for the 8 week olds?


    If the 4 week old chicks are in the coop when the 8 week old chicks come in - can the younger ones be trapped any place? A trapped chick can be killed.


    I have had good luck with mixing groups with this 4 week age difference. Once the youngest group is fully feathered, and there is plenty of space - the two groups generally merge. For a day or two I keep them apart - but they can see each other. When I let them together I stay with them for a bit (hour/two hours) so I can watch them. I want to watch the excitement, and then let them get bored to see if one starts to pick on another. Check on them often thru the day - 2 times an hour or more. Make sure there are lots of food and water dishes, so a bully cannot guard one/two of them and starve out the little ones.
     
  4. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    13,295
    18
    291
    Aug 25, 2008
    SC
    Quote:I'm thinking, I'm thinking! [​IMG]

    Okay. I never mix flocks until they are all the same size, or mighty close to it. Other wise it's not a fair fight. And when I do, I put the newbies in a pen next to the oldies for at least 2 weeks, then I let them free range together a while. After a week or two of that I start locking one pen so they all have to go in together at night. It seems like ages, but it does work.

    It sounds like you need to slow down a bit on the integration, because the chicks are too young and the temps are too cold for them. Given the situation, I'd do it the PITA way. Put down old carpet and plastic inside, put the playpen on top and just cuss at them daily when you clean up the pen. Cardboard, etc around the bottom will help contain the mess, sheets over the top will deter drafts and keep the lively devils in.

    Either that or find a way to provide heat to the chicks outside, where the older birds cannot get to them.

    Good luck!
     
  5. ranchhand

    ranchhand Rest in Peace 1956-2011

    13,295
    18
    291
    Aug 25, 2008
    SC
    Quote:She's got a much better grip on it than I do. Apologies, I was reading the 8 as months, not weeks. At 8 weeks they are still cockerals and pullets, chicks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010
  6. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Quote:I am not sure I do, ranchie. I first read it as months also, but then caught the weeks [​IMG] Hence I was confused - or more so than normal [​IMG]
     
  7. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

    229
    0
    99
    Jun 13, 2010
    I'm a bit confused too... but no matter what the older group's age... 4 weeks is probably too young to be outside in a dog playhouse with no heat. I put my four week old chicks outside in the coop - but it was draft free and I had two 250 watt heat lamps running round the clock.

    Also, if your older ones are 8 MONTHS old, definitely do no mix the two groups. Your older ones could cause damage to the younger ones. If your older ones are 8 WEEKS, they're still chicks and shouldn't be *that* much bigger than the babies. You could potentially create a separate space in your coop for the littles and allow them all to share the run during the day.
     
  8. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    What cynanthus said.
     
  9. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    99
    Aug 26, 2010
    Tucson
    Okay! Thank you! I was pretty sure it was too soon to put them together; even overnight in the coop.

    I will go back to the original plan of allowing them to see w/o touching one another in the run--outside when it is warmer!

    I know now, why I read most people prefer to start in the spring. At four weeks; which they were 12/22, is 70 degree temp ok? These gals are as feathered as my first batch--the 8 week+ gals were in late November----or whenever it was!![​IMG] But, we had many 77 & 78 degree days in November.

    I am grateful for the replies.

    I'm gonna go out now and catch my 15 little girls and put them into their brooder box for the night! I hope to try the separate pen within the pen tomorrow while I can supervise. The project will have to be abandoned Thurs. Fri. and Sat. this week. We are having a cold snap.

    I have read, however, some of you have placed the new ones in the coop at night. Right? After everyone is settled?
     
  10. cjatthefarm

    cjatthefarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    175
    0
    99
    Aug 26, 2010
    Tucson
    Quote:Yes. 2 groups 4 weeks apart.
    I think they are fully feathered; maybe some down on their necks....
    There are two nesting boxes near the floor, that is where half of them hid this morning when I first set them free--1st time in the coop! weeee!
    I see than I must go put them up for the night and start the process slowly....thanks.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by