When should I introduce my chicks to my chickens?

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,473
5,479
502
NW Oregon
Your header suggests that you are wondering when to introduce your 13 five-week old chicks to your flock? Do I have that right?

And that they have been staying together for a short period of time. With no ill effect?

In my personal experience, unless you have a very docile flock, I prefer to integrate new chicks to an established flock fully when they are just a bit older. The young ones can spend their whole day running from the adults if the adults are more aggressive.

Be sure to have plenty of feeders and waterers (separated apart) for them to be able to eat and drink.

I seem to do best when they are more "teen size" when I am integrating artificial brooded chicks into an established flock...so about 9 to 10 weeks of age.

However to answer your question more fully, if they are doing well without too much hazing, they are fully capable of taking their place in the flock now. I've gone to natural hen brooding for the last 5 years, and my hens bring them into the flock about day 3 or 4, and I have no integration problems because momma is running interference for them. Then by week 4 or 5, momma has fledged them and they are running wild among the flock with an occasional peck from a cracky hen when they get too wild. They pretty much run as a pack within the flock, nesting together at night in the coop. Nobody raises an eyebrow or beak.

So it is possible now....but only if your flock is pretty chill and won't over haze them.

LofMc
 

HENS-and-MARES

Crowing
Apr 6, 2020
590
5,124
351
Where it snows.
Your header suggests that you are wondering when to introduce your 13 five-week old chicks to your flock? Do I have that right?

And that they have been staying together for a short period of time. With no ill effect?

In my personal experience, unless you have a very docile flock, I prefer to integrate new chicks to an established flock fully when they are just a bit older. The young ones can spend their whole day running from the adults if the adults are more aggressive.

Be sure to have plenty of feeders and waterers (separated apart) for them to be able to eat and drink.

I seem to do best when they are more "teen size" when I am integrating artificial brooded chicks into an established flock...so about 9 to 10 weeks of age.

However to answer your question more fully, if they are doing well without too much hazing, they are fully capable of taking their place in the flock now. I've gone to natural hen brooding for the last 5 years, and my hens bring them into the flock about day 3 or 4, and I have no integration problems because momma is running interference for them. Then by week 4 or 5, momma has fledged them and they are running wild among the flock with an occasional peck from a cracky hen when they get too wild. They pretty much run as a pack within the flock, nesting together at night in the coop. Nobody raises an eyebrow or beak.

So it is possible now....but only if your flock is pretty chill and won't over haze them.

LofMc
There is a little bit of pecking with some hens chasing them for a couple steps. Our rooster seems chill with them. The hens usually attack their poor mama Friday but leave the chicks alone unless they are up in their space( being chicks of course they are ) but have been doing good with them for the most part. turn 6 weeks Thursday. Do you think they will be ok?
 

Lady of McCamley

Free Ranging
10 Years
Mar 19, 2011
7,473
5,479
502
NW Oregon
Reintegration of a broody momma and her chicks obviously takes a bit of jostling in the pecking order. It actually is your rooster's job to make sure things stay under control. A good rooster will make sure the momma and babes are not overly hazed or disturbed by the other hens as he keeps flock order.

As to "are they going to be ok?" I can't make any guarantees with your flock. I can say that in my flock, which I have manipulated for over 5 years to be a good brooding and integrating flock, I can let my babes into the flock as soon as they can stay upright on their legs and keep up. Usually that is day five with momma leading the way and my rooster keeping guard.

By 6 weeks, if your rooster and the broody hen have done their job, the chicks should be part of the flock with just normal occasional pecking to remind them of their place. If there is more hazing than that, then you'll have to make some adjustments such as ensuring areas for the babes to run and hide, plenty of space, or isolating the most aggressive hazer.

Watch and always have a Plan B.

LofMc
 

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