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When can I put young pullets with flock?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

I have four two-month-old pullets.  They are fully feathered and have been out in a wire cage inside the main coop for almost two weeks...I just couldn't stand them in the house any more.  They are about 1/4 the size of my grown pullets (ranging in age from 1 to 5 years) and I do have a big rooster, who is not aggressive but has "normal rooster behavior" with the grown pullets.  When can I let the pullet babies out of their cage and in with the crowd?  Will the rooster leave them alone until they are a bit older or will he start to try to breed them right away?  I don't want to let them in the general population if he'll try to jump them right away, they are too small.

Thanks!

post #2 of 6

Personally i wait till theyre old enough to take the roosters attention. But ive never seen the rooster mate the young ones. The size thing is important for pecking order tho. I d wait another few weeks.

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post #3 of 6

I'd wait until they're closer in size to your adult birds, they'll be better able to handle the transition - which can get rough while the pecking order is adjusting.

ETA - Remember, it's not just the rooster's unwanted attention that you need to be concerned with, the other hens can be very hard on newcomers to the flock until everyone's place is established.  It can get aggressive, and sometimes bloody.


Edited by blefky - 4/13/11 at 3:47am
"Be yourself, everyone else is taken."
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post #4 of 6

I've had my babies (5 wks) mixed with my flock for about a week now.  They spent 1 week completely separated by a wire pen in the coop.  Then I lifted one side of the pen with cinder blocks.  The babies can get in and out, but the full size hens can't.  This way the babies can mix but have a safe place to go.  I also have orpingtons and they are calm birds.  They will give the peeps a peck if they bother them, but overall it is pretty calm.  I check the babies over and their has been no wounds on them, so it is going well for us.  I also switched the hens food out.  I'm giving them the grower (non-medicated).  Until the peeps are larger, I don't want them to get any large doses of the calcium. 

The first couple of times I let the peeps mix with the hens I was standing there watching.  I did this for about 1-2 hrs. for two days.  The peeps were put back in the cage when I left.  If this went badly I wouldn't have left them unsupervised.  The first day I allowed them to fix freely, I checked them alot.  big_smile

post #5 of 6

I know that people have successfully integrated younger chicks with an established flock, but serious issues are not uncommon.  I would advise that you proceed very carefully and keep a very watchful eye on them if you integrate before they are of adequate size.  Good luck.    http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=482753

"Be yourself, everyone else is taken."
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post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Thanks, all.  I tried it for a few minutes and the big hens were fine but the rooster really went after them, so I separated them.  I don't have the set up for two permanent pens and coops, but I set up a makeshift coop and pen next to the big pen so they can all "talk" through the chain link for awhile.  Kind of strange because the young ones have been inside a pen inside the big coop for almost two weeks, but it still was too much I guess.  I've always gotten pullets at about 4-5 months old and put them right with the flock and never had a problem.  This year I decided I couldn't wait and got chicks instead.  Never again, too much trouble and they only stayed cute for about a day! 

I will either try mixing them during free range time once the young ones are allowed to free range or I'll put them together at night while they're roosting.  Thanks!

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