When can I add them?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Bmp1328, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Bmp1328

    Bmp1328 Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 23, 2017
    Hi, I was wondering at what age I can let the chicks run around with my hens? I've never had chicks before so I'm not too sure what age I can let them live with my hens. I've got 6 hens that are 6 months-1 year old. They are 2 those island reds, 2 australorps, 1 barr d Plymouth and 1 ameracauna. The chicks I'm looking at getting are 6 weeks old. So how long will I have to wait before I can put them with my girls? Do I need to make a special area for them for now? Thanks so much for the help!!
     
  2. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Overrun With Chickens

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    I usually wait until 8 weeks to let mine go free range but they dont go in the coop with thr layers until 16 weeks.
    I would make them a special area especially if you don't free range otherwise the chicks would be confined with the older birds and that can lead to disaster sometimes. The chicks should be kept in chick feed until 16 weeks usually so make sure they are getting that. It depends on the breed though
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    If you're adding six-week olds to an existing flock, you need to provide a safe pen for them during the day so the flock can get used to the idea of them belonging. After a week of this, open small chick-size openings, about 5 x 7", (more than one) so the chicks can come and go but the adults can't get in. Keep food and water inside this pen (called a "panic room") until the chicks no longer fit through the openings (around ten weeks).

    Makes sure there are no dead ends or places a chick can get cornered in the run without an escape. Provide additional perches in the run around three to five feet off the ground. This is important for safety.

    Take the chicks indoors to sleep during this first week. They won't need heat.

    As for sleeping in the coop, at six or seven weeks, they can start learning to roost. After the first week of being in a safe pen during the day, you can install the chicks in the coop after the adult hens have finished laying for the day, letting the chicks explore their new home. Lock the adults out until almost dark, then let them in. Referee to keep the chicks from panicking and to make sure they are safe. It will help if you have a perch away from the older chickens where you can place the chicks. Everyone should settle down pretty quickly.

    After that, you will need to show the chicks how to go into the coop at night for the first few nights. After the big girls have roosted, get into the coop and coax the chicks in with a flashlight if the coop is darker than outside. Before you do this, it would help to teach the chicks to respond to a verbal cue using treats. It only takes a few minutes and they will learn. Reinforce this lesson off and on for one day. Use the same verbal cue each time you offer a treat.

    If the chicks don't want to roost, let them sleep where they want. Again, no heat necessary. In the morning, after being in their panic room for a week, they will know to run into it.
     
  4. Bmp1328

    Bmp1328 Out Of The Brooder

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    They are australorps. My girls free range in my yard all day (it is fully fenced in so they can't get out and go into the neighbors yards). Should I just make them a little blocked off area and let them go outside (just keep them separated until 16 weeks but allow my hens to see them each day)? And I'll need to make them their own coop and run? Thanks so much!
     
  5. Bmp1328

    Bmp1328 Out Of The Brooder

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    Azygous-
    So Since they are about 6 weeks they don't need any heat source right? And when you say take inside do you mean in the house or put them in their own separate coop outside? Thanks!
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Yes, no heat as long as it's not way below freezing where you live.

    You should have them sleep separately from the adults while they are being introduced to the flock. Either in your house or in the same coop with the adults in a safe enclosure, or their separate coop. They need a week in a safe pen during the day to observe the adults and for the adults to get to know the chicks. After a week, then you can try letting them roost with the adults if that's where they will be living. If they are going to be living in their own coop, then you will teach them to go into that coop at night after they begin to free range during the day.

    The first week of look but don't mingle is crucial for flock dynamics. During this time, the adults are getting used to the idea of the chicks belonging and the chicks are learning which adults may pose a threat and which ones are safe to ignore.
     
  7. FlyWheel

    FlyWheel Chillin' With My Peeps

    What I did, which turned out to be quite successful, was once the pullets had outgrown their brooder was to put them in a cage that was inside the chicken's run and let them live there for a few weeks (I used an extra large dog cage, but you could also fence off a corner of their run too). They could see the other hens, and the other hens could see them. When I let them out there was a random squawk or two as they worked out their new pecking order, but other than that they all intermingled nicely. It also helped that by the time I let them out they were not so little compared to their older siblings

    Be sure to roof the area where you sequester them so that any adults that hop up on top won't poop on them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
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