When are chicks big enough to be in with the rest of the flock?

CyndiChick

Songster
6 Years
Apr 18, 2013
483
44
113
Florida
I have 11 chicks, ranging in size from barely smaller than my full grown hens already in the coop, to just about the size of my two fists together. I'm trying to figure out when it is safe to put them in with the rest of the flock. We have two hens and a rooster in the main coop already, and they killed one of the chicks when it got out of the baby pen, as we call it. I know the two largest chicks will be fine. They are feisty and are the same size as the smaller of my two hens, but I'm trying to figure out how to tell when it is safe to let the rest out in the main coop. They are all different breeds, and the chicks were purchased after we had the three others for a number of months.
 

sumi

Rest in Peace 1980-2020
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Jun 28, 2011
39,154
26,099
1,302
It's better to introduce younger chickens to the flock when they are more or less the same size. What you can do to make later introductions easier is keep the younger ones within sight of the rest of the flock, or even better, in their won separate "cage" in the pen with the rest of the flock. This way they can get used to each other before you let them loose together. There will be some bullying as they sort out their pecking order, but don't intervene unless they injure each other.
 

CyndiChick

Songster
6 Years
Apr 18, 2013
483
44
113
Florida
Our baby pen is inside the main coop, so they have been getting to know each other since we got them :)
I will try introducing the two bigger chicks (same size as the hens) this weekend, when I can keep an eye on them for a bit. The rest will just have to wait! Appreciate the help!
 

debid

Free Ranging
10 Years
Jan 20, 2011
7,560
6,898
516
middle TN
There is no "safe" age. You do what you can to minimize risk and realize that there is risk no matter what.

If you let your chickens out of their coop at all, that would be the best time to let them meet beak-to-beak. More room to get away from each other that way and it's less of a territory invasion. This is what I am doing with my chicks and adult flock. They interacted through a fence at first and now when out for range time with me standing in for mama hen. They are six weeks now. I intend to continue this until they seem to be getting along and have the order worked out. Lately, the youngsters are going in the big girls' run and are being tolerated there by most of the hens. It's good progress. But, since I had a fatality in my first (and last) attempt of "just sneak them in at night if they are fully grown", slow is the way we're going and I'll want to see them being tolerated inside the henhouse.
 

gardendufus

Songster
8 Years
Nov 28, 2011
793
36
123
CO Springs-First Chics 3/2/12
I have a fence separating my old flock and my 4 week olds (They were actually 2 weeks old when this started). It is a 2 X 4 utility fence, so the little ones are able to run in and out between the 2 sections, but the older girls are kept out. This gives the babies a safe area to run, and believe me it only took one aggressive move by the old gals for the babies to figure this out. They still go over to visit the area and scarf up any scratch that may have been left behind. The larger they get, the braver they are about staying there with the big gals. I'm hoping that in a few weeks I can remove the fence and allow total integration.

Good luck with yours.
 

aldarita

Songster
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Aug 2, 2012
649
209
211
Brenham TX
I am waiting for my chicks delivery sometime in May, I am planning to keep them at home for 6 weeks before I move them to their new coop. They will be sharing the run with my older flock of 9 one year old hens. There is a partition in the run so they will be able to see each other for a while until the new ones get bigger and I can integrate them. I would like to turn them loose in the coop earlier (cool temperatures won't be an issue since I live in Texas and June heat will be more than we can bargain for) however I am more concerned about the development of their immune system and I have read in BYC that 6 weeks is the standard for quarantine.So I will have 20 little boys and girls living in my solarium (DH not too happy) pooping and playing around and making tons of dust but I think they will be better off when I move them into their coop right next to my older girls

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RedfogsFlock

Songster
10 Years
Jan 17, 2010
617
7
166
Wittmann, AZ
My chicks were born March 5th, & ours went out 2 days ago with our flock. Now I bring them in to roost ONLY because they can still fit throught the chain link & small fencing. I bring them in at dark, & they go out at 5am. I'm just paranoid something may carry them off in the night.
 

ThaiGai

Hatching
6 Years
Apr 17, 2013
2
0
7
I have a couple of areas fenced off within the main chicken run for broody hens and later their clutches of chicks. I used to keep them isolated from the main flock for two or three months until I thought the chicks were ready to handle themselves. Now after only a couple of weeks I let them integrate as I found that the longer they were separated, the more problems the mother hen had with re-establishing herself with the flock. I have never had any problems with the cockerel or hens attacking young chicks, but found that the mother hen would be bullied mercilessly from the other hens in the flock, with nasty fights developing until the cockerel sorted it out.

Our hens roost in the roof beams of the chicken run and I have found that as soon as a mother hen and her chicks are integrated with the flock, she prefers to take even very young chicks up to roost with the main flock in preference to sleeping in one of the hutches at ground level. Young chicks seem remarkably resilient from what I have found.
 

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