How do you introduce the new chickens to the old? : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

I have some chicks that are a month old and I want to eventually house all the chickens together. How will the older chickens react to the new ones? I don't want to have to house them separately and they will need each other for heat later in the fall. I have three roosters and three hens from last May and three newcomers. How old should the new ones be before they go outside with the others. This is Alaska so it will be a while before the chicks can be warm enough outside on their own. Appreciate all the info and points of view. Thanks.

-- Jody Hatch (, April 03, 2000


3 roosters to 3 hens seems like alot of roosters. Are your hens missing feathers ? Well anyway you can put the new ones in a cage for a while in the hen house or seperate them some how in the henhouse.As long as the new ones are big enough to defend themselves there shouldn't be to much of a problem as long as they are hens.

-- Patty Gamble (, April 03, 2000.

My pullets are 5 weeks old. We just built a temporary cage in the chicken coop and put them in it Saturday. Much to my surprise, the older hens don't seem to be very interested in them. When they get a little older, I will let them out of their cage with the older hens. Hopefully, they will be used to each other by then and the new ones will be able to hold their own. I imagine it is still too cold in Alaska for the babies yet. The two nights my new ones have been out, it has been in the low 40's. Tomorrow night is supposed to get in the 30's so I will close the door to the coop before night to keep it a little warmer inside but so far, the change in temperature hasn't seemed to bother them although I had been getting their temperature inside lower for them to adjust. They were in the basement so that was easy to do.

-- barbara (, April 03, 2000.

Generally speaking, young chicks can handle temps pretty well when feathered out, about 3 to 4 weeks. Getting along with the older birds depends to a degree upon the space available, and whether the young ones have a place to hide, such as under a nest box or sopmewhere the older ones can't peck them. I usually wait until 6 weeks under any circumstances. And I agree - one rooster to 6 hens is plenty. But don't tell the other 2 roosters I said that. Good luck!

-- Brad (, April 03, 2000.

Jody-- I would just build some temporary pen that seperates those 3 newbies for a little longer, and when they are big enough to run away quickly, (a couple of weeks) and scavenge food last, let them run together. They will be at the bottom of the pecking order until they are full sized.

As a side note, I have 25 chicks that are from McMurray and are 10 days old, and then yesterday I had a nest hatch out naturally, to a bad momma hen. I tried to mix the day-olds with the hatchery chicks, and it was a no-go. The 10 day olds pecked and stepped on the little puff balls, and I had to seperate them. Fiesty.

Lest anyone think I'm foolish to take the new chicks away from their momma, she had already killed two fine chicks, and our barn cats and rats got every single one of our chicks hatched on the floor last year. I did leave her a few. I took seven.

-- Rachel (, April 04, 2000.

Jody. as usual lots of really good answers. The proof will be in the releasing of the younger ones and watching to see what happens. Oh yes, you have too may roosters or not enough hens[ha]. The hens should start looking a little frazled pretty soon. But when I take my roosters down to the right amount something kills my only rooster and here we go again. I have two red Cochin roosters [banty] that I would love to find a home for them. I would even throw in the one little red Cochin hen. karen Ps the chickens should do all right if the younger ones can get away from the older ones.

-- Karen Mauk (, April 04, 2000.

Thanks for all the help! The chicks are being watched very carefully by my Aussie. She thinks they are hers. She even goes so far as to come get me when they spill their feed. I won't try to put them together for a couple more weeks as it snowed last night again. I know I have two too many roosters but they were supposed to be hens and I think they were just extras. The hens have no problems with the roosters so far. They started laying about a month ago. As soon as the weather improves they will be getting a new chicken house hopefully. I will try to incorporate a place for the new ones. I have one Light Brahma, one White Giant, and one Black Australorp. Will any of these set if they have the opportunity or should I just try to get an incubator? I really appreciate all the help I find here.

-- Jody Hatch (, April 04, 2000.

It depends on the hen. Some breeds are broodier than others, but it still depends on the hen.

-- Rachel (, April 05, 2000.

Hi Jody, When my chicks are old enough to go outside in the daytime, I put them in an old playpen. I removed the bottom and put chick wire all around it. I can move this pen anywhere and put a warming light in it if it gets too cold. An old blanket will cover it at night if I have too many to bring back in the house. The older chickens will get used to the little ones, especially if I "spill" some goodies around the outside of the pen. My chickens are free range- if they weren't I'd just put the pen in the barn as someone else suggested.

-- Peg (, April 05, 2000.

Jody, I have introduced new chicks to my flock almost every year. What I do is I put a smaller cage inside or next to the chicken coop that holds the baby chicks. The hens all are interested at first then they just ignore the chicks. When the chicks are at least 1/2 grown I turn them all out together in a neutral area, like my garden. I do this a few times then I leave them together in the chicken coop. This seems to work. Carolyn in Las Vegas

-- Carolyn Elizabeth (, October 14, 2000.

If you put your new chickens on the roost with the other chickens at night by morning they should be part of the flock. Has something to do with the senses mixing.

-- Corrinne Brown (, October 16, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ