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When to introduce chicks to hens?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by srutan23, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. srutan23

    srutan23 Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 3, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    Ok, just wondering when its okay to put the chicks in with the older hens and a rooster? I am figuring another month, but I wanted to get everyone's opinion.

    The chicks are 7 weeks old and the 4 hens and a roo are 22 weeks old. They have been next to each other in their coops for a month since I got the chicks. It is my understanding that the chicks need to be a comparable size to the hens when they are put together.

    Also, I still have a heat lamp on the chicks (SW PA). Is it still necessary? We have still been below freezing several nights the last week or so.

    Next question, my chicks are super skittish. Is this typical? I got them when they were 4 weeks old. I try to pick them up and handle them but they freak out and almost leap out of my hands.

    Any opinions are helpful. Thanks.
     
  2. srutan23

    srutan23 Out Of The Brooder

    80
    7
    48
    Mar 3, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    Also, I free range so will be chicks be okay with coming back to the coop? Or do I need to look them in a pen during the day so the hens can still roam in and out of the coop freely?
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Lots of issues.

    You can introduce the chicks now if you can provide them with safe areas to which to escape when they are bullied and chased. I like to use a panic room, an enclosure in the run with 5 x 7 holes only the chicks fit through. Food and water are inside this enclosure so the smalls don't have to compete with the bigs.

    As far as heat, I would wean them off it, decreasing the amount of heat until they no longer use it. Watch their behavior to determine if they are using it or not. Provide plenty of room so they can play and sleep far from the heat source if they so choose. It will be your signal to take it away when they no longer sleep under it.
     
  4. srutan23

    srutan23 Out Of The Brooder

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    7
    48
    Mar 3, 2015
    Pennsylvania
    It was a success, but boy are the hens nasty buggers. The first time I saw them pecking the chicks, I was freaked. But all has calmed down to mild pecks and warning. The chicks are coming out of their hideout more and more each day. The wire cage on the left is the hideout. The chicks have access to it by openings in the back of the cage. Thanks for everyone's comments.
    [​IMG]
     

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