When should I integrate one 3 week old chick with five 11 week old pullets?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by briannanoelle1, Apr 21, 2016.

  1. briannanoelle1

    briannanoelle1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Right now the 3 week old is in the coop but separated from the other chickens with a wire wall. The five 11 week old pullets grew up together, the 3 week old is all alone. She has been separated from the others for about a week and now they hardly notice her. When should I remove the wire wall between them?
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    3 weeks ago, now or when they are the same size. 11 week olds have now established a pecking order and have an established flock. You could try it now but they may not take kindly to an outsider.
     
  3. RumpShaker

    RumpShaker Out Of The Brooder

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    What age is pecking order established?
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    It depends on the batch but can start by about 6 weeks but may be much later. They don't consider themselves a flock that is not to be messed with until about 10 weeks. A lot of introduction has to do with how much space they have. The more, the better.
     
  5. briannanoelle1

    briannanoelle1 Out Of The Brooder

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    So we ended up cutting a small opening in the wire so that the young chick can go out and interact with the bigger chickens if she wants, and go back in her space if they are mean. So far every time she goes out there they peck at her little face! They even drew a little blood! Should I cover the opening until she is bigger? Or just see what happens? I'm scared they will peck her to death :/ so far she runs to safety but she might not get so lucky all the time!
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2016
  6. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    I'd give her another week or two to grow a bit more before letting her mix with the older chicks. Chickens instinctively pick on the youngest, smallest bird around. That's just how they are. There is quite a big size difference between 3 month old chicks and a one month old chick.
     
  7. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    You created what I call a panic room when you cut a small entrance into the younger chick's pen. It's a great way to provide a refuge for chicks to retreat to as they are learning to mingle with older chickens for the first time. If you can cut several entrances so the chick can access it from all directions, it will provide more safety than just one hole. Three weeks is usually old enough for a chick to understand the dangers related to older chickens, and she will likely be very agile in evading them.

    Your problem is that this is the only chick of this size and age in your flock, and she will be singled out and focused on relentlessly for the next six months, at least. For this very reason, there is a cardinal rule in chicken keeping that you do not ever introduce a single chick or chicken to an existing flock. It's unbelievably hard on the single bird.

    Besides that, this solitary chick has no cohorts by which to gain its own self confidence, since that comes from being part of a unit of chicks one is brooded with. So your chick has two counts going against her. Because of this, she may grow up to be a timid chicken and timid chickens are destine to be picked on, just as timid kids often are victims on a school playground. There is a slim chance that your chick has a spunky temperament, but it would likely be tampered down by it being a lone chick.

    I hate to be such a wet blanket, but you need to understand what you're facing. Chicken society has strict rules, and this chick, being a loner, is breaking a big one. Is there any way to find another two chicks of the same breed, and age so this chick has a chance at a normal life?
     
  8. briannanoelle1

    briannanoelle1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2016

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    *Update*

    Our little baby is starting to fit in with her big sisters. Last night she climbed/flew on top of her (safe house) wire wall enclosure to sleep on top with the big girls :) I think she'll be ok. She's a brave girl!
     
    1 person likes this.

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