I didn't count the weeks very well. (Famously terrible at math). Somehow I thought that if I got baby chicks in January I could have them join the flock by the time we leave on a trip in March. Now I'm seeing a lot of caveats about 16-week minimum for integration and I'm not sure I can find a house sitter who is up to dealing with three vulture-like adolescents in a bathroom cardboard brooder plus the four adult hens outside in the coop.
Here are the players:
Adult flock of four. Two are bantams (a D'Uccle and a Silkie), so size becomes less of an issue with them. The other two are a mild-mannered Barred Rock and a not-very-nice EE. She bullies the D'Uccle (who raised her as a broody hen!) mercilessly.
Our plan has been to start giving the chicks forays in the pen while the big girls are out of the pen within the next week or so, so everyone can get a look at each other. (Mild California winters so brief outdoor exposure hopefully not a problem for the little ones.) Then, later (not sure how much later?) we thought we would put the little ones in a cage inside the pen while the big girls are also inside the pen. And then let everyone free range together. And then add the young ones to the coop about a week before we leave so we can supervise the ensuing mayhem. They would be 10-11 weeks old at this point. The BO and the Australorp are going to be fairly sizable compared to my existing flock. The RIR is so feisty I suspect she may be doing the bullying rather than being bullied by anyone.
We are expecting trouble from the EE, and possibly the Barred Rock if she gets huffy, so our Plan B is to put those two in a time-out cage for several days if necessary while the new birds mix with the bantams.
I was hoping to have everyone together by the third week of March. Has anyone had success with this kind of a schedule?
Our pen is 10' x 24'. Hens free-range under supervision for at least a few hours a day. Coop is 10' x 6'. Two roosting bars.
See my chicken blog at: http://polloplayer.wordpress.com/
My little flock includes Pippa, a Belgian Mille Fleur d'Uccle, Ginger, an EE and three babies added January 2016 - Bella the BO, Ava the Australorp and Nugget, a RIR.