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Week old chicks and 4 week old chicks - When can I introduce? Help!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by JennyPatty84, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. JennyPatty84

    JennyPatty84 Out Of The Brooder

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    Sep 6, 2016
    Hi Everyone!! I am new to the chicken scene so any help you can offer is very much appreciated! I did hatch and raise ducklings, but they are a whole other ball game, and much messier I am learning! I got 7 x one week old Silkie bantam chicks and 7 x four weeks old mixed-breed chicks. (Mix of barred rock, rhode island red, ameraucana, and speckled sussex.) My question is when can I introduce them with each other? The Silkies are so much smaller than the others and I am worried about them getting stepped on. The little chicks and the older chicks are both in brooding boxes separate from each other, but in the same room beside each other so they can hear each other. I have been letting the bigger guys out to play outdoors in an x-pen to let them get some sunshine, grass and exercise. Can I let the babies out in the pen with them? I was afraid it would be too cold for them and didn't want to take them too far from their brooding box. I am on the east coast of Canada and it's still pretty warm here (it will be 26 degrees today) so maybe they would be fine and it would be a good way to introduce them? Help!!!!
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You seem to be entertaining doubts as to the wisdom of letting such new, small chicks mingle with larger, older chicks. Listen to your warning voice.

    The thing about chicks in their first couple weeks is that they are too trusting of any of their kind that happen to be older and larger, and it can get them into trouble. If these new chicks were standard breeds, it would be less of a problem, but Silkies are much too docile on top of being so small, and they would be at a serious disadvantage.

    The best way to handle this is to keep the two age groups side-by-side but separate until the Silkies are around a month old, then try letting them mingle. By that time, the Silkies will have gotten to know the individuals in the other group, and they will be better equipped to deal with them.
     
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

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    Introducing them outside with supervision is a good way to get started. If you have a nice sized brooder, you can then put one of the 4 week old chicks in with the Silkies for a play date. The next time, add 2, and continue until you are satisfied that the silkies will not get beat up. You could also make a divider with wire mesh or door that the silkies could get through, but the other chicks would not be able to fit through. (Check out Azygous panic room) Then, the silkies could mingle, but retreat if things get too dicey for them. Have you looked at the Mother Heating Pad brooder? Enter that topic in the search bar and you'll get lots of info. Blooie wrote an excellent article about outdoor brooding (works inside also) with a heating pad. This would be perfect for your situation if you put the MHP in an area that the bigs couldn't get into, but the littles could come and go into both areas as they please.
     

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