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when to mix chicks that are in brooder to coop with rest of the flock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by sager:)silkies, Oct 16, 2011.

  1. sager:)silkies

    sager:)silkies Songster

    Oct 1, 2011
    I need help i don't know when i should move my baby chicks with the free range chickens plzz help

  2. allmychickens

    allmychickens Just'a small town girl

    Aug 4, 2011
    i moved mine into the coop about 4 to 5 weeks. that's quite late but we have cold climates so i wanted make sure none would freeze. i would move them just a little before fully feathered. do you have any other chickens? if so i would watch carefully because some can be VERY territorial. 0.o good luck [​IMG]
  3. sager:)silkies

    sager:)silkies Songster

    Oct 1, 2011
    Ok i was thinking at 2 monts but they should be fine at a month
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    This depends so much on your specific circumstances and what you plan to do.

    Yours should be able to take the weather and such without supplemental heat around 5 weeks old. Most chicks are fully featherd by then. It helps to acclimatize them, but as long as they are out of breezes and have good ventilation, they should be OK. That kind of depends some too on how many you have to keep each other warm and how cold it really gets. But in general, 5 weeks is a good minimum age.

    If you plan to keep them in a separate pen from the adults but let them free range together, I suggest keeping them in the 'grow out" pen for about a week or so before you let then free range so they know where home is. I think it is extremely beneficial for them to have a separate place to sleep for a while.

    You have two different aggression issues to worry about. One is pure integration. This is where the adult chickens do not recognise the newconers as part of the flock, but more as intruders. It does not matter if the newcomers are chicks or other adults. Until they recognise them as belonging there, they may defend their territory from them. They may seek out and try to destroy the intruders. You'd expect this to be the rooster but surprisingly it is usually a hen that takes this upon herself. This is where housing them for a week or more where they can see each other can be really beneficial. They can usually get past this basic integration thing while the older ones cannot get to them to hurt them, though sometimes you have a hen that is a real brute.

    If you get past this phase, you have the pecking order to deal with. A more mature chicken is going to be higher in the pecking order than an immature one. If a higher ranking chicken considers its personal space invaded by an inferior, it has the right to peck that chicken to maintain its place in the pecking order. If the inferior runs away, all is right and good in chicken society. But if the inferior does not immediately run away, it is considered a challenge to the dominant chicken's position in the pecking order and it can get pretty severe. That's why having plenty of space for the chicks to get away really helps. You'll find that the younger chicks totally avoid the older chickens most of the time if they can at all. They may stay on the other side of the yard, in the coop while the older ones are in the run, hide under nests, stay n the perches while the older ones are on the floor of the coop, whatever they can do to stay away. Eventually they will mature enough to carve out their own place in the pecking order, but while they are immature, that place is on the very bottom.

    One obvious thing you can do to help is to give them as much ability to get away and stay away as you can. Whether that is unlimited space, extra roosts or perches, or places to hide, that depens on your circumstances. Something else I highly recommend is to provide a few separate eating and drinking stations. The older ones will often keep the younger away from food and drink. It's part of the pecking order intimidation. Make sure they have places they can eat and drink withut having to challenge the older ones.

    The one place I have the most trouble is on the roosts at night. The older hens lower in the pecking order will sometimes aggressively go after the younger ones on the roosts. I like to give the younger ones an alternative to the regular roosts. Either put some other roosts up across the coop, keeping them lower than the main roosts so the mature chickens will not want to use them, or give them a totally separate predator proof sleeping place for a while.

    Broody hens often wean their chicks at 4 weeks old. These chicks are fully integrated with the flock but have to go through this pecking order ordeal. I integrate brooder raised chicks with the flock without waiting until they are fully mature. It is sometimes rough, but I have not lost a chicken yet doing this. But I do try to give them a chance to stay away.
  5. CountryCentinel

    CountryCentinel In the Brooder

    Oct 14, 2011
    Great information!

    So in the chickens 101 tutorial she talks alot about the first 60 days, we live in N. Idaho and the temp is beginning to lower.

    We will receive our new girls the second week in Nov, I do have some supplemental heat out in the coop, but just how warm and how long should I keep it heated out there when I transfer them from the brooder...?

    I read an article here this morning that sort of said that heated coops are unnecessary, create condensation, and are not needed unless it got brutally cold...

    I do also have a heater for the their water feeders...
  6. sager:)silkies

    sager:)silkies Songster

    Oct 1, 2011
    Ty ty that was a lot of things to consider and good facts. i think i will let them out at 5 weeks or so but the only thing is its fall and it is starting to get pretty cold outside will this effect them
  7. SteveBaz

    SteveBaz Songster

    Aug 6, 2011
    Pacific North West
    Ridgerunner I do not know how you type all the stuff you do. You must be a speed typer while I hunt and peck like my chicks.

    X2 everything Ridgerunner said [​IMG]

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