When Is It Safe To Put My Young Chickens In With The Adults?

farmgirl563

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
6
0
7
Ida,Michigan
I've had chickens for two years now and last year I added some more to the flock. But this year I'm concerned that my Silkie/Wyandotte hen crosses are going to be to small. (The roosters from the same batch are normal size.) They are four months and only about a quarter of most of my other hens' weight. I've tried the "cage in the coop" thing, but my older hens still try to peck them through the bars. And being as they're so small I'm afraid to try it without the cage. What should I do?
 

Peeps61

Songster
5 Years
Apr 19, 2014
1,369
974
236
NW Florida
Do they sound like the other birds? If so, I'd try letting them range in the yard with the hens so that they can run away if needed. When they go in to roost, it's usually peaceful because they all go to sleep. That's how I got my two younger Ameracuana chickens integrated with the seven bigger hens. They were smaller, but sounded like big chickens, so they were accepted fairly quickly (like 1 week or so). There was some pecking and chasing, but it all worked out.
 

farmgirl563

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
6
0
7
Ida,Michigan
I'll try that although sometimes the chickens higher on the pecking order won't let others come in the coop at night and it'll get quite nasty.
 

farmgirl563

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
6
0
7
Ida,Michigan
At eight weeks they were only a few inches tall. But I think I'll just make sure I'm there the first day, making sure nothing too serious will happen.
 

DaveOmak

Songster
6 Years
May 18, 2013
643
89
128
Omak, Washington
My Coop
My Coop
https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/raising-your-baby-chicks

Integrating them With the Older Flock

If you want to mix them in with the older hens, have the chicks in a little chicken tractor(or separate pen)just outside the older flocks run, when they are old enough to be outside. You can put your chicks outside when they are about 3 or 4 weeks old, but they still might need a heat lamp. So they will be in there, growing up beside your older flock, until they are two months old. The older flock will get used to the chicks presence there, and this will help them to get to know each other a little before you mix them in. Once the chicks are 2 months old, or stop making baby chick noises, you may put them in with the older flock at dusk by setting them on the roosts.

Adding chickens to an already existing flock will trigger the reinstatement of the pecking order. The adolescent chicks will most likely not even put up a fight with the older chickens. Although the chicks will be very submissive, and run away when an older hen comes near, not being aggressive makes them easy to get along with the older hens over a period of time. Two months is kind of the sweet spot to integrate young chickens with the older flock. If the chicks are too small, the older chickens will kill them, and if the chicks are already full grown, the older chickens will kill them. They wont necessarily "kill" the full grown chicks, but they will fight allot, and this sometimes results in death of a younger chicken. At two months old, they are not too vulnerable, and they are not to feisty, so fighting or death should not be a problem.
 

farmgirl563

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
6
0
7
Ida,Michigan
I've done that same thing before. Just I'm concerned about their size. Is it safe to put small bantams in with large breed chickens? Because that is about their size.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,299
406
Conway SC
Everyone has their way of doing things---"Me" I Never mix chicks with older chickens---the younger stay in a separated pens till they get grown, then I ""Might"" introduce them by placing them in a pen next to the older chickens---the wire between the pens is big enough that they can stick their head through---I then start feeding them on this wire/wall----they will eat together and the younger can back away if the older pecks them. After a few days they get use to eating together through this wire. I then move them together. The reason I said "Might" is if there is about 1 year difference between them--I don't ever mix them, I wait till the younger hens start laying good, then I sell the older chickens. I do this every year.
 

farmgirl563

Hatching
5 Years
Apr 14, 2014
6
0
7
Ida,Michigan
One of my chickens hatched a batch last year and everything went fine. But this year I had someone watching my chickens while I was away and one of the hens got out of the pen and layed a nest of eggs. When I finally found her I didn't know how long she had been sitting on them so I figured it wouldn't hurt to have another batch like the year before. But this year I got puny hens with huge ''afro's'' and huge feathered feet. I must say there are no other chickens in the world like them.
 

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