When you have two different age groups......

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by ThinkingChickens, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    I have six week old babies and 21 week old layers. When they live in the same walk in run (working on it) and they are integrated what happens with food. Do I offer both to all girls or do I have to separate the two groups until the little ones reach 16 weeks? I guess this is the one question I never really thought to research.
  2. Erica

    Erica Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 5, 2010
    I guess many of us don't integrate until they're all on the same diet. Too much calcium too early can cause laying problems later (like soft shells).

    One way to handle this is to use a general purpose flock raiser feed, and keep calcium (shell grit etc) in a separate hopper so only the laying birds eat it. Sometimes the layers take a while to get used to eating shell grit so there can be some shell thinning until they work it out. But they'll get there in the end.

    You'll also need a high protein feed for the young ones to grow properly.

    I reckon the big problem will be integration... I don't do it until the younger ones are right at point of lay as then they're big enough to handle bullying. But that's just me, you would know your birds and their temperament.

  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    That is pretty much the age differential I facing. My older laying hens are 10 months old and my "next up" flock is 13 weeks old. I've been introducing them to each other, outside where there is no pressure and its' going pretty well. Since Flock Raiser is the easy answer, one could go that way. I am just going to keep them apart for another month or so. At that point, the feed becomes irrelevant.
  4. littlecreekfarm

    littlecreekfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 1, 2011
    I would say you should move them in around 12-13 weeks, depending on their size, if they are the same or close to the same size as your layers at that age it is perfectly fine. They may peck for a few days but will get over that. As for feed, you could keep to seperat feeders one with grower and the other with layers or mix the feeds until about 14-16 weeks.
  5. sharol

    sharol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 13, 2010
    Admire, KS
    Same here. My 11 month olds are in the coop and the 9 wk olds are in a tractor. I plan to combine them in maybe 8 more weeks. They will be nearly 5 months old by then, and the calcium shouldn't be a problem.

    Mine aren't ranging together yet, but maybe in a few more weeks. I'd like them to be closer to the same size as my dominant chicken (a Golden Campine -- smaller than the others -- go figure).
  6. ThinkingChickens

    ThinkingChickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 18, 2011
    My big girls keep reaching through the dog pen bars and eating the baby chicks food! No joke, it's like the grass is always greener mentality.
  7. giggleboxfarm

    giggleboxfarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Central KY
    I free range my chickens, but have little ones that are outside in mini tractors getting socialized.. having let them out of there is a problem of the older chickens wanting the chick food. The big chickens just get scratch down by the coop, the little ones don't venture that far. Somebody was talking about having a chick area.. A covered area with a smallish opening that the big chickens can't get into. I think I may do something like that. Once I make my nicer and bigger outdoor brooder, I will have a small opening to let them out. Then the chicks can escape back in there and will be free from harassment. Though really, the harassers have only been my broody mommy and my older guinea. I feed back the eggshells down by the coop, with kitchen scraps, and have oyster shell they can get down there as well. Once they get a bit bigger, they will start venturing down there, but for now they stay close to their pen.

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