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baby chicks with adult chicken

 
Risa Sibbitt
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So we just bought 8 baby chicks. We plan to put them in the coop in a few weeks when they are bigger, and have one adult chicken left (post bear encounter). Is it safe to put the baby chicks in with the adult and lock them all in the coop for a week to acclimatize the babies to the coop, or will the adult hurt the little ones? The adult is about 1.5 years old I think and still laying eggs. Thanks.
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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I wouldn't combine babies with any adult that's not their mother, adults are very hard on babies you'll likely lose several.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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What I would suggest is when you put them into the yard, also put in a sheet of plywood on some blocks. High enough for the chicks to get under, but too short for the adult to easily get under. This way if (when?) the bigger bird wants to be aggressive, the chicks will have a safe haven to run to. Start them under the cover. They will eventually wander out, but know that they have a safe place to run to if shit-hits-the-fan.

As far as moving them into the coop, try to figure out which half of the coop the hen uses. Then use chicken wire, and make a partition. After the hen goes in for the evening, place the chicks in the other half. Every dawn, they will see each other, and eventually get used to each other. After a week or two, (or whenever they seem to be adjusting to each other) you should be able to go in there one evening (AFTER it is dark, and they are oblivious) go in and remove the partition.

Good luck.

 
Guerric Kendall
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Location: zone 6a, NY
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I wouldn't risk it. Adult chickens can be very brutal towards members of their own flock as it is. A chick that's not accompanied by a broody hen to defend it would be pretty vulnerable. And really, it doesn't take much to hurt a chick.

Please keep them separate until they're at least feathered out. By that time they'll be starting to figure out their own pecking order anyway and will be able to deal with a little fighting. Plus the hen won't want to take on all 8 by that time.
 
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