When we got our first set of chicks out into the coop for the night, we had another 8 chicks that were 2 weeks younger and much slower feathering out than the first set.. We had 6 five-week old chicks in the coop. We also had 8 four-week old chicks in the garage in the recycling bin. The temperatures outside were getting low at night and chicks need to stay warm until they are 12 weeks old. These gals barely had a set of feathers on them but they were outgrowing their recycling bin in the garage.
Looking back I feel extremely silly about how much thought I put into this at the time. However, if you’re like me and have never experienced any of this before you might be slightly freaking out like I was. How in the world do you integrate two sets of chicks and do it while moving them to a new outdoor house?
After hours of forum searches I narrowed the billion suggestions down to a few:
- Put up a barrier between the two “flocks” in the new coop.
- Make sure the barrier is see through (chicken wire or similar material)
- Make sure the barrier is secure and will not fall down and smash the little ladies.
- Don’t put a heat lamp in the coop!! EVER! Way too risky for fires.
- Put lots of fresh clean shavings in the coop. They will help retain heat.
And the best advice:”I figure if Mother Nature gave them insulated down jackets, the common sense to take a break from laying when the days are short with long, frigid nights, and they’ve survived all of these centuries, who am I to alter that?”(, backyardchicen.com forum)
So leading up to the big merge we did the barrier thing outside in the bottom part of the coop. I made a very unstable barrier between the two flocks and well you can see from the pictures below how that went…
So the two flocks were integrated outside together…but at night the smaller ones were still coming indoors to the recycle bin. But the time came to leave them out all the time.
That’s when I freaked out. What if the big ones get territorial and picked on the little ones, what if they don’t get along at night…what if…?
So, I continued putting a barrier up in the coop. I made it stronger, more solid and stable this time. I put the young chicks on one side and made sure the older ladies were on the other side and locked the door for night.
My first peek in at night I saw that the younger chicks had all jumped over and decided to roost up in the rafters! I had a moment and calmed down and figured they know what they are doing.
By the time I came out in the morning everyone was all merged together on one side of the barrier I made. Lesson learned, they are chickens, they will be fine and work it all out themselves. Let them be chickens!