when and how to introduce chicks to larger chickens


9 Years
Oct 5, 2010
Hi i have recently bought my first backard chickens and am just learning the ropes with them i have 2 isa brown pullets and one bantam leghorn that is 3 weeks old. i had 4 but my dog got to the other ones this was the reason for buying the browns. my question is at what stage should i put the chick in with the pullets and what is the best way about it. i have had them in the yard together but the bigger ones go for her occasionally and im worried that there will be a problem when i put them together in the coop.
Chickens are such individuals. It makes sense that the older ones would tell the little one that they are in charge, by pecking but not drawing blood. This will happen no matter what you do, it's chicken protocol, just the pecking order. If that is all they are doing, the chick might do fine. Watch them some more, is what I'd suggest. If they wanted to kill the chick, they would probably have already done so.

Read here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=2593-adding-to-your-flock
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I have always found night time to be the best time to introduce a newbie to the established flock. A flashlight in their eyes keeps them from seeing what you are doing and when they wake up, they usually think everyone there is supposed to be there.

I find where everyone sleeps and put the newbie in the middle and by morning they're all friends.
Hope that helped.
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Well, I separate new chicks for 30 days before adding to the flock. But after that here's what I do. I put them in an area where they are separated by a fence for a couple days. After that period and a little before my small flock would head into the coop for the night. I'll lock the new bird(s) in the coop for a while. That gives them time to get used to it. Then just before dark I let the older birds in to join them. Seems they are so busy finding a roost they don't notice the new birds. I let them all out early the next day and wathc them for a little while. Generally there is no problems.
That's how I manage broodies after the chicks hatch. The chicks can get in their pen but the big ones can't. Not my plan; I didn't realize they would be able to go through or under the chicken wire. After a few days of this I let the broody out with the others. Then it's just a matter of having the layer feed too high for the chicks to reach. The hens also eat the chick feed to some extent, of course.
Just as important as safety is providing adequate food for the chick. You need to locate it in a spot where the bigger ones can't bully the chick while it's trying to eat.

If a chick is bullied away from the feeder, this can result in the older ones "teaching"the chick that it doesn't want to eat, and it won't get enough nutrition for full development. Worst case would be it could actually starve.

What I do is install a little "panic room" in the corner of the pen with openings that only the chick will fit through. It will quickly learn to run there for safety and food. Once it attains close to full size, it will be able to fend for itself.

Right now I have three ten-week olds that aren't able to get enough food during the day, being chased and bullied away from all the feeders. So I've taken to offering them food three times a day in the safety of the coop without the others breathing down their necks. Believe me when I tell you they take full advantage of these special feedings and pork up!

When you have different ages merged together, it requires constant vigilance, and yes, even meddling.
Good point. As well as monitoring their eating, I always add additional feeders when introducing new birds to a flock. That doesn't mean the original birds won't eat from those feeders, but it does give additional places for all to eat. These are usually just temporary.
First of all...

I agree, the new chicks should have places to hide and get away from the bigger hens. I introduced two younger chicks to two other chicks I already had and they did just fine. I was a little concerned about the bigger hens pecking at the younger chicks but it really wasn't bad. They established a pecking order and all went well. Yea, they do chase them around sometimes, and boy do the little ones make a lot of noise when they do, but there is never any blood drawn.

Good luck! And again WELCOME!

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