When can i move my 14 week old chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by building15, Oct 24, 2011.

  1. building15

    building15 In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2011
    Can i move my two 14 week old chicks in with my two bantams, and if yes how do i keep the growers pellets and layers pellets seperate? will it matter if they eat layers? At the moment they are still with mum but would like to put them all togeather ready for winter.

  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    First, the fairly easy one. Instead of feeding both Layer and Grower, when I have mixed age flocks, I feed them all Grower with Oyster Shell on the side. The ones that need the extra calcium for the egg shells can get it while the ones that don't need it don't eat enough to damage themselves.

    Will Layer hurt 14 week old chicks? Probably not, or not much. There are plenty of studies that show that feeding Layer to chicks can cause serious damage to the chicks. These studies always start off feeding nothing but Layer to day old chicks. I have not seen a study that looks at starting to feed Layer at 8, 10, or 14 weeks, so I don't know when the cut-off date for damage is. And it will be important what else they are eating. It is not the percentaage of calcium in the feed that matters, but how much total calcium they take in. If they are eating a lot of other stuff besides the Layer, they may not eat enough calcium to harm themselves. And the effects of the extra calcium is not due to just one time of eating a lot of calcium. The damage is going to come from a continued exposure to extra calcium. A lot of times the damage is internal, if it is there. In these studies, some chicks die because of the effects of the calcium, but they have to look at the internal organs to see a lot of the damage. It is not always evident.

    I can't tell you if feeding Layer will harm your chicks. There are just too many unknowns. But I just feed Grower with oyster shells on the side until they are ready to lay so I don't have to worry about it.

    Now the hard one, introducing new chickens. A broody hen may wean her chicks as early as 4 weeks of age. These chicks are fully integrated with the flock, but since they are so low in the pecking order, they get picked on a lot. If they have enough room to get away from the older chickens, they do quite well, but they will keep their distance to keep from getting pecked on. I have no real problems integrating 8 week old brooder raised chicks with my flock, but I have a lot of room and I house them side by side from Day 1. My brooder is in the coop.

    It helps tremendously to house them where they can see each other for a while, at least a week. Chickens can be territorial and defend their territory from intruders. It does not always happen, it depends a lot on the individual personality of your chickens, but when you get a territorial hen, it can get bad. If they are used to seeing other chickens in the area, they are less likely to go after them as intruders. Or if you introduce them in strange territory where the older flock does not have a territorial attachment, it can help, but I really like housing them side by side for a while.

    You still have the pecking order issue. It is perfectly acceptable in chicken society for a chicken higher in the pecking order to peck a lower ranked chicken if her personal space is invaded. It does not happen every time two chickens get close together, but if the higher ranked one feels challenged at all, she is expected to defend her social position or get knocked down. So she pecks. If the lower ranked one runs away, all is good. But if it does not run away, that is a challenge to her priviledged position and it can get pretty rough.

    Since a more mature chicken will automatically outrank a less mature chicken, you need to give the younger ones a chance to run away. Space is a big help, but not all of us have unlimited space. Give them as much as you can. A lot of times the lower ranked chickens spend a lot of time on the roosts, up out of the way, so plenty of roost space or an extra perch in the run might help. Mine also hide a lot. Try to give them things to hide under or behind. Some way to avoid the older ones.

    I find that providing extra feeding and drinking stations helps reduce areas of conflict. Sometimes older chickens will not allow the younger to eat or drink. It's part of the intimidation process.

    The worst times for mine are on the roosts as they are settling in for bed. If the roost space is a bit limited, they cannot get away from a bully and stay on the roosts. This will sometimes cause the younger ones to try to find a safer place to sleep, maybe in the nesting boxes or even outside the coop. I put up some roosts away from the main ones and a little lower down so the young ones can get away.

    Sometimes integration goes so smoothly you wonder what all the fuss and concern was all about. Sometimes it gets really bad. The personality of your individual chickens and your circumstances and set-up is different than mine or anyone elses. I can't tell you how it will go with yours, but I wish you good luck when you try it.
  3. building15

    building15 In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2011

    Thanks for the info, the pens are next to each other, and i do let them out all togeather but they keep in there groups. Fingers cossed that they get on.

    Once again thank you.
  4. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Ridgerunner great infor!! X2 How do you type so fast and much FANTASTIC!! I can only cut and paste that much!! [​IMG]
  5. bobbieschicks

    bobbieschicks Chicken Tender

    Jun 24, 2011
    King George, VA
    My Coop
    I've got a group of almost 15 weeks (2 a roo and pullet), a group of 11 weeks (3 pullets or so I think) and now a group of almost 2 week olds (8 chicks - no idea what these will be! 3 silkies and 5 lav orps) - so I am going through a similar thing. I will be integrating my newest clutch into the coop at the same time the oldest starts laying (hopefully) and shortly before the middle ones get ready to lay. I had wondered the same thing about feeding them different foods and hoped to put everyone on layer food, but from what I've read it's better to keep them all on the Purina Start and Grow until the babies are laying since they all share the same feeders. I didn't know about the supplementing with oyster shells - but I will want to do that too. My guess is the older roo and the younger pullets/roos won't want to eat the oyster shell like the older pullet will otherwise I'll have to figure out how to feed the oyster shell so the others can't get into it.

  6. JodyJo

    JodyJo Songster

    Sep 27, 2010
    Ridgerunner nailed it....I too feed grower/starter with oyster shell on the side till my 19 week old EE pullets start to lay, then I will switch over....not enough proof for me to determine if it is harmful or not, so why take the chance...no big deal.

    He is right on with the integration issue as well....

    good luck and let us all know how you do!

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