10 wk old pullets anxious to be with older hens


5 Years
Apr 30, 2014
Placerville, CA
My three 10 week pullets are in a small coop and run. They have been introduced to the older girls through a wire fence. for about 2 weeks now. They are very anxious to get into a larger run, they keep jumping to get out.

My other 4 hens are 8 months old. Would you suggest I try to let them out and if I do and it works out will the layer's be able to eat grower/raiser feed until the young ones are ready to do layer? How would I separate the food?
Feed them all grower and provide oyster shell in a separate container. The grower won't hurt the hens but layer will hurt 10 week old pullets.
Do you think if the layer's ate grower feed for 2 months until the others are older would they still lay good eggs?
Absolutely - as long as you meet the calcium needs of the hens there is no reason you can't feed the grower long-term. This is the feed program I use (grower with oyster shell available) - and we get fantastic eggs.
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Grower feed is usually higher in protein than layer. The extra protein, if it has any effect at all will result in larger and possibly more eggs but only marginally. The other difference is calcium percentage. Making sure oyster shell is always available, there shouldn't be a negative effect on shell quality.
Absolutely - as long as you meet the calcium needs of the hens there is no reason you can't feed the grower long-term. This is the feed program I use (grower with oyster shell available) - and we get fantastic eggs.
I thank you so much. This really relieves my mind. But, will the younger pullets eat the oyster shells?
You can manage the food as described above, easy peasy...but the older chickens might be very unhappy about sharing their physical space with the youngers.

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

Integration of new chickens to flock.

Consider medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article
Poultry Biosecurity
BYC 'medical quarantine' search

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
This is good place to start reading:
When I integrated my chicks with the 5 hens this year (there were about 20 chicks... I've lost track) they were 10 weeks old. I'd been letting the hens free range around the chicks tractor, and they checked them out pretty well, especially when the chicks had treats, and the hens did not. Then I started letting the littles out to free range (with supervision) There were a few hackles raised, but no real issues as there was plenty of room. The next step was to put the littles in one section of the bottom of the 2 level coop. That lasted a few days, then I took the partition down. At this point, they were 10 weeks old, and they did great. A bit of scuffling, but no injuries.

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