What age to integrate newbies

Erin80

Songster
Apr 16, 2017
770
854
221
I haven’t integrated in a couple years so can’t remember. I have two chicks who are 2 weeks old, and one (if it turns out to be a pullet) I want to keep for sure as it is an ameraucana cross BCM and I’m up for some olive eggs! The other is an Ameraucana cross SS.....and I have strong suspicions is a roo.
Anyway... best age to integrate? Obviously they need to be off heat so I have a good while.

ETA - they are being added to an established flock of hens ranging in age between 1-3 yrs.
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,224
33,894
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WA, Pac NW
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My Coop
Guess it depends on how you set things up. I brood right in the run and am working on phase 1 of integration with chicks under 2 weeks old. They've already had face to face encounters with two hens after slipping away while I was setting up the pen for them.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
best age to integrate?

When you can without them getting hurt. I consider an integration to be successful if no one gets hurt. What age will depend upon your set-up and how you go about it. How much room you have and the personality of your individual birds will go a long way toward how successful you are. What do your facilities look like?

Until my pullets reach maturity they tend to form a sub-flock and avoid the adults. That's usually when they start to lay. It gets more complicated if you only have one. They are social animals and like to be with others. One juvenile can be pretty isolated in a flock.

The more room you have the better. That's room in the coop and room outside. They also need access to the room outside or it doesn't help. Having separate feeding and watering stations helps, the adults sometimes bully the young by keeping them away form food and water. Having clutter (places to hide under, behind, or above) to break line-of-sight can improve the quality of the room you have. Housing them across wire so they can see each other but not hurt each other helps.

My brooder is in the coop so the chicks basically grow up with the flock. I have a lot of room and clutter inside the coop and a lot of room (over 50 square feet per chicken when it is really crowded) outside, and I have the weather that they can be outside all day every day. By 5 weeks mine are integrated with the flock. They still form a sub-flock and avoid the adults but no one gets hurt. I have had as few as eight but usually have around 20 chicks in a brood.

Erin I don't now the best way for you to go about it. We might be able to make some specific suggestions if we knew what your facilities were like. Even if that other one is a cockerel I'd probably try to keep the two together for the initial phases of integration.

Good luck!
 

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