When to integrate chicks into existing flock??

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Joker69377, May 30, 2010.

  1. Joker69377

    Joker69377 Out Of The Brooder

    May 2, 2010
    I have not found anything telling me when to integrate my chicks into my small flock of 3 hens. My Araucana's, 6 of them, are around 3 1/2 weeks old. They are starting to feather. For the past 2 weeks, I have been putting the chicks in the coop, in a fenced off section, with my 3 black sex link hens. at first there was peck attacks through the fence when the chicks got close, but now they are left alone. I put them out first thing in the A.M. and bring them in around dinner. I was thinking of giving a SUPERVISED trial run around five weeks old. Is that too soon? I would also like to move them to the coop permanently around the same time. Is that too soon?
    Last edited: May 30, 2010
  2. felidaet

    felidaet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 10, 2008
    Vancouver, Wa.
    Many people have posted replies to this question saying that the chicks should be nearly the same size as the hens before integrating them. The older birds can kill small young birds.

    I don't have first hand experience with this yet. I am going to try integrating my new flock with the existing flock when the chicks are about 18 weeks old. For now I have the run divided in half with poultry wire. The chicks (now 6 - 9 weeks old) are in their own new coop and using 1/2 of the run. The 1 year old flock is using their coop and the other 1/2 of the run.
  3. mad4chix

    mad4chix New Egg

    Oct 26, 2009
    I am SO glad to see others having the same issues/questions as I am. We just got 6 new chicks(3 Silver Comets, 2 Aurecannas, and a Barred Rock) that are now just 5 weeks old. They are almost fully feathered and way too big to continue in the space we started them in. I also have wired off a (too-small) space within my coop for them to hang out, separate from the other 7 hens. The hens take turns squawking at them it appears but do not look aggressive. But they are still 3 times the size of the chicks and my hens are not the slightest bit broody. I'm concerned about mixing them too soon but a friend said she puts them in right away because if she waits until the chicks are bigger its THEN that the others peck at them. If they go in small the hems leave them alone. Has anyone has THIS experience?? I don't want to lose any of the cute chicks! Sure would like to hear a definitive answer if there is one ..... 18 weeks seems like a long time to wait, especially in my limited space. Thanks.

    Mad4Chix [​IMG]
  4. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    I don't integrate younger with older until the younger ones are 16 weeks old.
    1 person likes this.
  5. bturbo87

    bturbo87 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2010
    id say hold off until they are about the same size, ive got a flock of 10 fully grown and i just made a little add on to the outside of thier run with some "leanto" shelter for my group of ten thats about 6 weeks they can see each other constantly and theres no fighting between the fence but im till gonna hold off till theyre the same size.... my issue right now is that on top of the 20 outside, there are 20 inside in the 1 - 4 week range that will ned somewhere to go when theyre ready to get outside full time, cause i dont want the 6-7 week old picking on them.
  6. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    I'm also trying to decide on the "right" time to introduce my 6 "little girls" to the 7 "big girls. Currently, I'm doing what many of you are doing - the six 6wk olds have a portion of the run and their own little coop and the seven 1yr olds have the rest of the run and the big house. For the most part, the big ones are now bored with the little ones and don't pay that much attention to them. We actually got brave - crazy- one evening and let one of our really tame EE's in with the little ones and all was well until one of the little girls just ran up and pecked her. Naturally, she gave her a big old peck in return. We immediately ended the "meet and greet". No chickens were hurt, but it scared the heck out of us. So we are thinking we will go with the wait until at least 16 wks old suggestion. Realizing there will be fights, but hoping with close supervision we can keep any blood from being spilled.

    Definintely interested in reading about experiences others have had though - I would love to mix them at an earlier age, but I don't want to lose any of my babies.
  7. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 31, 2008
    if it's any help, last year's broody offspring were always integrated with mama, and free ranged too. They always kept themselves separated inside the coop and free ranging until the young hens started laying and by then i had removed the extra roosters. They just seemed to prefer their own age group and no one bothered with the other until it was maturity time.
  8. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    Central NC
    Well, a strange thing happened today with my 6wk olds. Penny, my little BO, somehow got out of the little run into the run with the big girls. I was walking by and saw her along with one of my 1 yr old BSL's and they were scratching happinly together. I nearly fainted. Immediately I caught her and put her back into her space, as she complained loudly. Thank goodness, it was one of my sweeter chickens and not one of the RIR's. So, even with that positive experience, I'm not brave enough to integrate them yet.
  9. pkw

    pkw Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2010
    North Edwards, CA
    I have 12 four week old chicks and lots and lots of one week olds and 3 day old chicks that I won't mix together. I put the 3 day olds in with the week olds because they are so close in size but my four week olds are so huge compared to the younger ones that I will be waiting until they are bigger.
  10. KKatknap

    KKatknap Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    Quote:Me too. And even then, I put them in the coop with a divider for the first week or so. I know there are people who have done it younger, but i have also read several posts where it ended badly. I choose to err on the side of caution.

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