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Discussion Starter #1
When can I let my four-week-old chicks interact with my older birds? I first introduced them yesterday, with the chicks in a wire mesh enclosure. A couple of hens came over to investigate but they mostly just walked around the yard like normal. The hens and chicks all seemed fine being in the same space, the hens weren't aggressive and the chicks weren't terribly scared. The head hen did lightly peck most of the chicks when they were at the edge of the enclosure saying hi to her, the chicks became a bit more wary but didn't seem scared. I'll likely keep them in the enclosure for at least a few more days, but what would be a good indicator that I can let them out for some supervised free ranging time?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I left a small opening they could leave through, they stayed inside while the hens were nearby but did spend some time outside. When the hens left for a bit they left the enclosure and had their first dust baths, though one of them took a while to figure it out. One hen came back to eat some layer feed, the chick that wasn't dust bathing tried to eat some as well. The hen (one of our sweetest girls) just looked at the chick and didn't seem to mind.
 

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Usually when they're that young the older birds don't seem to get too defensive. If peeps have a place to retreat to if they get nervous things should go pretty smoothly.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Will they fight when the cheeps get older or is it likely that it'll be relatively tame as long as I continue letting the babies outside for a while each day?
 

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You never know what they're going to do. Them seeing the peeps as they grow up will certainly help keep things quiet.

There will be the usual hierarchy thing between them when the younger ones move into the coop. From there it's just up to the adults and their personalities.
 

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The more time they can spend together while they are small and the earlier you can start letting them out together the better. Jmo. I’ve gotten several ‘batches’ of chickens so I’ve been doing this several times the past year! It seems the more time they spend together growing up the less your existing flock will see them as outsiders or strangers.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I've started letting them out to free-range during the day, not for as long as the older girls but they spend more of the day outside than in their cardboard box. They will be five weeks old tomorrow, I'm thinking I'll move their cardboard box into the coop once they reach six weeks (It should provide separation from the big girls).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Wouldn't it be better to keep them in their box and away from the big girls? They have been free-ranging together for a few days without any issues but the peeps haven't yet been in the coop.
 

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They should be fine. Instincts will kick in for what they should be doing, like roosting with the rest.

They've all spent some time together without incident so it's not like you're dumping new birds on an established flock.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I guess I'll leave the top of the box open enough for them to fly out and onto the perch then, I'll put it near the shorter perch where the sweeter girls usually sleep.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I ended up putting them into the coop for a few hours during the day to introduce them to the space (they found the lower perch somewhat comfortable), my concerns are mainly about temperature. They have wing feathers, tail feathers, and patchy neck, back, and head feathers. Is that enough for them to stay comfortable when it gets to 50 degrees at night? They'll have their brooder box for familiarity and to separate them from the hens, it won't be heated though. By the 5 degrees a week rule they are ok in 70 degree temps, they've dealt fine with 60 while free ranging though. While they were in the coop, one of the hens noticed them and started yelling at the top of her lungs (baKAW bok bakaw). She didn't attack them but it makes me nervous.
 

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Sorry, I'm laughing. That one hen is going to need to have things explained to her.

I wondered today how it went with them. If they find it too cool they'll cry about it. But if you're uncomfortable putting them out now there is nothing wrong with waiting a bit longer. We all do what we are most comfortable with.
 

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Yep! It doesn’t hurt them to be babied for, let’s face it, a few extra days, max. They just grow up so fast, they’ll be out there with the big girls in no time.
 
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