What age to allow little ones with big ones

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Anny, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. Anny

    Anny Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    At what age would you normally introduce your new little chicks to the flock? When are they old enough to stand their own?

    At what age would you allow them outside all day as well? (in the fall months never falling below 60ish)
  2. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    It usually works best to introduce new chicks to the flock when they are the same size.

    There's a couple of ways to introduce them:

    1) Put them all together on the roosts, after dark, so they wake up together the next morning.

    2) Separate your coop into two sections and let the older chickens see/hear the new chicks for a week or so before introducing them.
  3. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    I free range, so my results may not be typical. I placed my chicks outside in a brooder next to my coop at age 1 wk. This brooder had a window into the big hen's coop, separated by wire.

    At 4 wks they were free ranged with the bigger gals. No problems there, as they each had their own feeders and waterers in their respective pens and seemed to favor these...for 2 wks.

    Then I took away the younger chicks feeder and opened the window leading from the big house into the little pen, shut their outside access to their pen. This way they had to go through the big house to get to their little pen. They still sleep in there but they eat and drink with the big gals.

    Soon I will close off their pen until they get used to sleeping with the big gals. Then I'll open up access to the other pen for all chickens and they can flow back and forth, if they please. I don't think they will get the hang of roosting unless they watch the big girls in action.

    So, first, visual contact only. Free range contact next. Then, eating and drinking from same source. Next will be sleeping together. This is the worst scenario for little ones, as the pecking order for roosting seems the most stringent for these big gals. They are now at 7 wks and are over half the size of the older hens! They are quicker and fleet of foot, so they can pretty well hold their own in a chase and peck situation.

    I don't know if things would have gone so smoothly if these birds had been confined to a coop and run situation.
  4. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    They need to be fully feathered before staying outside, usually around 8 weeks.

    I usually put them in with my older flock at around 12 weeks.
  5. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    I would never put little ones in with the big ones until they are about the same size. SOmeone here just lost a baby due to adding the chick to bigger hens area. They killed it [​IMG] It's just not worth it and the poor baby pays a huge price! Wait for a few weeks and then try adding the chick in a cage in the hen house first for two more weeks and then while you watch add it to the hen's area. If they peck and peck then put the little one back in the cage for another few weeks. Sooner or later they will accept them. Also hens tend to not let the younger ones eat and drink so watch that carefully too and make sure they get their food and water. It was a month of crazyness when I added my little ones to my teens...and they were about the same size. They still really picked on them and I sat in there run for hours with a stick and would shoo the big ones away and show them that was NOT something they would get away with. Good Luck
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

  7. eggturner

    eggturner Hatching

    Jun 22, 2008
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Quote:Maybe different breeds fledge a little early? Mine were fully fledged at 4-5 wks. Maybe the exposure to the outside causes a little acceleration for this stage?

    My chicks went outdoors @ 1 week under an outdoor brooder where they can enter and leave the heat from the lamp as they wish, It seems like their feathers have come in faster, and their bodies are larger than previous hatches kept indoors at the same age. I like my outdoor brooder there is much less work involved and more freedom for developing chicks.
  8. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    The Parson's Wife had made the statement that she puts hers out at a very early age and they fledge quicker as a result. So, I tried it and it works!

    They didn't even need the heat lamp when I put them out at 2 wks and the temps were in the 50s at night, around mid-70s in the day. They will be 8 wks old on Mon. and they are enormous and so very healthy and active. I'm glad I took her advice, as I want a hardy flock...no sissies allowed! [​IMG]
  9. thepetpaw

    thepetpaw Songster

    Jul 27, 2008
    My babies are about 3 weeks old - fully feathered throught the body but a few coming in on the head. I am not going to put mine out until they are about 2 mo nth old!
  10. cactus-hen

    cactus-hen Songster

    Jun 21, 2008
    My chicks go out with the flock when they are fully feathered. I have two hiding areas for the chicks so that they can keep away from hens who pester them. I put a sheet of lattice on four six inch high pier blocks. They can rn under the lattice and the hens can't get to them. I also put their food and water under there.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: