When to Integrate with Pullets? (4 Week Old Chicks)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by speckledegg728, Dec 31, 2016.

  1. speckledegg728

    speckledegg728 Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 14, 2016
    Rural Ohio.
    I have three chicks that are four weeks old, almost five weeks. (An Australorp, an Easter Egger, and a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte.) They live in the coop now, but in their own little pen separate from my 16 week old pullets. When will it be safe to integrate the chicks?

    I feel like I read somewhere that six weeks is a good time to introduce, but maybe I'm crazy.

    We've had one pullet biting them and I'm afraid she'll hurt them more seriously, too.

    Also, the pullets would probably eat the chick food and vice versa. Anyway, I'm worried. Can I get some advice on this, please?
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Let them live next to the grown ups for at least two weeks. Then you can let them have access to the adult run, but keep the opening small enough that only the chicks can go back and forth between the two pens. This way, they can spend time with the bigger birds, but they still have the option of escaping to their safe zone if needed. Once the chicks are joining the flock at roosting time, they no longer need the safe zone.
    1 person likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    What June is describing is what I call a panic room. It works just dandy to keep the chicks safe from bullies. Their food and water remain inside this enclosure so the older chickens don't bully the chicks away from getting enough to eat.

    In my setup, I have 5 x 7 inch openings, several for safety, and that size accommodates chicks until they're nearly three months old. By that time, they are quite ready to cope with the pecking order on their own.

    Click on the link to the article on brooding outdoors below this post to see photos of my setup.

    It's far more efficient to establish your safe pen or panic room out in the run itself, instead of in the coop. You want the chicks to have maximum exposure to the older flock members and unless everyone spends all their time inside in the coop during the day, the run is the best place to integrate chicks with older members. It's not hard to teach the chicks to go back into the coop to sleep at night after they're successfully mingling with the flock during the day.
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

    Feb 25, 2014
    Northwestern Wyoming
    My Coop
    Good advice. They both know from whence they speak! I also raise chicks in the run, using the portal system in my brooder pen so they can escape if they need to. I also have a huge half log, hollow in the middle placed with the hollow side down on the opposite side of the run if they need hiding place but don't want to risk hightailing it back to their pen. They use that to duck under so the Bigs can't follow. Conventional wisdom says wait until they are the same size as the adults, but doggone it, then they see them as threats and it can make matters worse. They don't seemed threatened by smaller chicks. I start integration at a couple of weeks old, and by 4 weeks they are fully integrated with the Bigs, which is the way others do it, too.

    About the food. You'll never keep them out of each others' foods. Not happening. And having multiple feeding stations is a must during integration anyway. So put the entire flock on Starter/Grower or All Flock. You can offer oyster shell for calcium to the layers and both of those choices are just great for feeding mixed flocks.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I too have a 'panic room'...but I call it the 'coop partition', formed by a temporary wire and wood wall that splits off 4 foot section of the main coop.
    ...and have 'portals' too...but I call them 'tiny doors' and found that 5x7" would let my slimmer hens thru with no problem so made them adjustable with sliding doors.

    I also feed 20% all flock to everyone so no problem there...but a creep feeder is not to hard to devise if needed.

    But brooding chicks in coop starting at 1 week, then opening the tiny doors at 4 weeks allowed me to remove the partition wall at 6 weeks.
    The coop partition also has it's own separate run about 6 feet away from the main run, so chicks learn to go outside and use the ramps I have going from the raised coop down to the run areas. Was the easiest integration I'd ever done.

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