When are chicks old enough to join the rest of the flock?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by LestersFlat, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    Curious to know what others have done when introducing new chicks to an existing flock?

    We currently have 9 hens and 1 roo, all just about 1YO. We recently acquired 5 chicks, supposedly all female. They are just starting to get their big-girl feathers, so they are not quite ready for the outside cold weather, but how old should they be before I let them hang out with the others? Right now, they are in the house in a wire dog crate (with 2 incandescent 60 watt lamps for extra heat, and right in a sunny window). I am thinking that when we start having warmer days, I can put them out, in the crate, with the bottom open so they can get used to the grass under them, instead of the bedding we have now. But should I get them used to the outside away from the others? Or is it better to maybe put the crate in the run behind my coop, and then in the coop at night, so that they all get to know each other before I set them all free?

    2 Araucana/Ameraucanas, and 3 RIRs—In the first photo, they are a week old. The other photos are from today, when they are about 3 weeks old. I find it very adorable how their feathers go from downy baby feathers, to little barbs with downy fluff sticking out, to what I call big-girl feathers. I am guessing they will change again before they are full grown?
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  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    8 weeks is when I would suggest doing it. I've done it at six weeks with no negative issues what-so-ever. A couple of pecks here and there. If you introduce enough at one time, it usually is a breeze (in my experience). I've added chickens many times. My flock seems very good with change.
     
  3. LestersFlat

    LestersFlat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 17, 2011
    Schuyler Lake NY
    I like the one at a time idea. If I wait that long, should I just set them free (one at a time) in with the others? Or should I do it gradually, introducing them first, but not letting them free range until I know everyone is getting along?
     
  4. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 12, 2011
    NJ
    I dont remember the number of weeks old, but it was rather the size. I introduced the young-uns at 1/2 size of the adult and it did not work. Introduced at 3/4 and there was the pecking order jostle but worked.

    I think that it also helped that there was a number of the young ones so not one was getting all the pecking.

    The bantams unfortunately stays at the bottom of the order, probably forever. But they too have adapted and know how to evade the full size birds.
     
  5. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens


    My bantams are sassy! My silkie rooster outranks my barred rock rooster, and my silkie hens outrank many 4 times their size :lau
     

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