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When to indroduce new chicks to my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by moesanderson, Jun 2, 2017.

  1. moesanderson

    moesanderson Just Hatched

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    Just wondering how do I go about introducing my chicks, ranging from 4 months to almost 3 months, to my one year old hens? My flock of one year old hens are red sexlinks, a amberlink, leghorns and a golden nugget. I would be introducing a Silkie roo, a black old English game bantam roo, 3 Silkie pullets, 3 EE pullets and 2 autralorp pullets. This is my first time adding new babies to my flock of 6. My hens free range supervised and have seen the chicks for short periods throughout the day since we brought the chicks home. They've all free ranged a couple of times together for short periods of time too. All of the chicks are fully feathered and I'm in Texas so weather shouldn't be an issue. Also how do I keep the hens from eating the chicks grower crumbles and vice versa with the chicks and the layer crumbles? Also first time having roo's...what do they eat once all pullets start laying and are on layer feed? Any advice would be helpful. TIA!
     
  2. 13ChickenGirl

    13ChickenGirl Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our chicks are about 21/2 months old now and are being introduced to the flock free range. We kick the hens out of the coop and let them use a giant dog igloo as a nest box and for shelter. At the end of the day I let them all out together so they can all run around the yard. Some get targeted like my silkie Cochin frizzle Roo and the young turkeys. But they have learned their place so they stay out of the big girls way. It's so cute because my Buff Orpington Roo protects my chicks like a big daddy!!!
     
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  3. peopleRanimals2

    peopleRanimals2 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You should introduce them when they are all about the same size, so the younger ones can protect themselves. They could get a little more free range time together, and if that goes relatively well, you can introduce the younger ones at night. Make sure to give the younger ones plenty of places to hide, and make sure they can eat and drink without being bullied. If you provide a separate feeder with the younger ones' feed, the older girls should eat their own food. They will naturally want to eat the food with the nutrients they need. However, if you notice them eating the wrong food consistently, you could separate them to eat. I don't think it will be a problem, though.
     
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  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Actually, it's possible and advantageous to introduce chicks when they're as young as two weeks old. The advantage is that they're so small, they don't present a threat to the adults. You do need to provide a safe pen for the chicks and give them time to observe the adults and give the adults time to adjust to having chicks around.

    Then they get to mingle using small chick size portals from their safe pen. They freely roam among the adults and return to their "panic room" when they feel it's necessary.

    Now that yours are nearly full grown, the best way to introduce them is with a safe pen so both groups can size up one another. The youngsters observe the different temperaments of the adults and when you put them together after a few days, they have a better notion of which adults they need to be careful around.

    It helps to have a high platform like a table so they can have their food up above the adult chickens. That way they won't be bullied away from the feed and run the risk of starving.

    During this period when the two age groups are together, most of us feed everyone grower with oyster shell on the side for the layers.
     
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  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    My Coop
    Ditto the younger the better...with the right set up.
    Tiny chicks are no threat...plus a smaller target and they're fast and can get away easy.
    Here's how I do it:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/

    Ditto also on the grower feed with oyster shell on the side..I have that all the time anyway.
    My Feeding Notes: I like to feed a flock raiser/starter/grower/finisher type feed with 20% protein crumble full time to all ages and genders, as non-layers(chicks, males and molting birds) do not need the extra calcium that is in layer feed and chicks and molters can use the extra protein. Makes life much simpler to store and distribute one type of chow that everyone can eat. I do grind up the crumbles (in the blender) for the chicks for the first week or so.

    The higher protein crumble also offsets the 8% protein scratch grains and other kitchen/garden scraps I like to offer. I adjust the amounts of other feeds to get the protein levels desired with varying situations.

    Calcium should be available at all times for the layers, I use oyster shell mixed with rinsed, dried, crushed chicken egg shells in a separate container.

    Animal protein (a freshly trapped mouse, mealworms, a little cheese - beware the salt content, meat scraps) is provided once in while and during molting and/or if I see any feather eating.
     
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  6. lutherpug

    lutherpug Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This was life saving advice for me. I tossed something together with some scrap wood that would accommodate a separate feeder and waterer. The pullets basically lived up there and on another perch while the hens ruled the floor of the run. They really didn't integrate themselves until they were close to laying age. I think @azygous gave me this same advice when I was having integration issues and I am so very thankful I listened. Good luck.
     
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