When to mix different aged chicks in brooder - timing and strategy?

Fire Ant Farm

Get off my lawn
May 5, 2015
6,170
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South Texas
I have a solo pullet (Paula) who is 10 days old - she's been on her own since Sunday night, when her sister died. I've played with her every day, and got her a mirror for short term company (based on advice here - she's a big chirper!). I managed to get another order of three chicks which arrived today. They are exactly one week younger than her (3 days old).

I have them set up in a shared brooder with a screen between the sections - Paula has a red lamp to keep her at ~90F, and the babies have an Ecoglow (which they love). Here's a photo of the set up.





Paula is lonely and very anxious to meet them (as I think you can see in the photo). The two new girls are likewise quite interested in her now. There's also a baby boy who had some leg problems, so he moves more slowly - the baby girls push him around a lot at the feeder. I think the girls might hold their own if Paula pecks, but I'm not sure about the boy. (One of the baby girls tried to fly today - crazy!)

I wasn't going to put them together in the first couple days, but after that, I'm interested in opinions/thoughts/experiences regarding when I should put them together. When babies are 1 week? Sooner? Later? All at once, or supervised playdates at first? I was thinking that it might be best to do it on a Friday night, since I'll be able to monitor them closely all weekend if something goes wrong. That would be either this Friday (Paula 12 days old, babies 5 days old) or next Friday (Paula 19 days old, babies 12 days old). Paula is really lonely, but I don't want that to lead me into not doing this thoughtfully...

- Ant Farm
 

Fire Ant Farm

Get off my lawn
May 5, 2015
6,170
2,558
356
South Texas
Just a follow up: I took them all out, removed the partition, cleaned out the brooder and set it back up with bedding, etc., with everything in a different spot (to avoid territoriality). Then I put them in together, They are ecstatic at being able to be together and getting along great. The little two girls are so bossy and pushy that I don't think Paula will be a problem. (She's just so relieved not to be alone anymore.)

Thanks for the tips!

- Ant Farm
 

manychitlens

Chirping
5 Years
Feb 27, 2014
249
14
71
Northern California
So glad to hear they are happily getting along! I wouldn't worry too much about adding chicks like this in the future, although it's always great to be cautious. :) I added chicks in 3 sets (2 first, then added 3 more that were about a week younger, then added 1 more that was around the same age). All chicks were under 3 weeks when the additions happened and they were all just happy to have more friends. :)
 

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