1st Timer's Introducing (15) 8 wk old girls to (9) 12 wk old girls

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by GaudeGals, Jun 12, 2016.

  1. GaudeGals

    GaudeGals Just Hatched

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    Jun 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    Here is our main question: Will introducing a larger number of younger birds into an older flock make the integration easier or harder?Here is our situation: We have 9 girls that are 12 weeks old in a large coop and run. We have 15 girls that are 8 weeks old in a small coop and run that shares a wall with the bigger run.
    The little girls are about 1/2 the size as the bigger girls but their small coop is getting cramped. We still have one little girl that is getting her feathers in and has areas of bare skin still showing.

    The big girls are:
    Ameruacanas x2
    Buff Orpington x1
    Black Astroplorpes x2
    Silver Laced Wyandottes x2
    Gold Laced Wyandottes x2

    The little girls are:
    Olive Eggers x2
    Cream Legbars x2
    Blue Copper Marans x2
    Cuckoo Marans x2
    Welsummers x2
    Silver laced Cochin x2
    Blue Cochin x1
    Buff Orpingtons x2

    Do we need to wait until they are the same size? I'm not sure the little coop will contain them much longer.
    The Green house w/ white trim is the bigger coop. There are (2) 6'x6' runs behind it. We have attached the smaller coop to one 6'x6' and the bigger girls have the other 6'x6'.

    Any insight would be greatly appreciated!
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  2. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Are the two 6x6 runs connected.....a 6x12 run under one roof split in half??
    Looks like it.
    Can you connect the smaller coop to one side of the big 'split' run?
    Let the birds live like that for a few weeks then open a door between the two halves of the run?
    Spread feed/scratch right at the separating wall to get them used to feeding near one another
    Do you free range at all?

    ETA: How big is the big coop? Maybe 8x8? That's tight quarters for 24 birds.
    6x12 run is tight for 24 birds too.
    What is your climate?
    Putting your location in your profile can help folks give better answers/suggestions.

    Oh...and...Welcome to BYC!!
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
  3. GaudeGals

    GaudeGals Just Hatched

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    Jun 12, 2016
    East Tennessee
    Yes, the 2 6'x6' runs are connected with a "people" door between them. The picture doesn't show it but we have connected the smaller coop to one of the 6'x6' runs and the big coop is connected to the other. They have been beside each other for a little over a week now. We feed "treats" in the runs beside each other...like frozen watermelon, mill worms, raisins.

    We haven't free ranged yet...we have a fenced half acre lot that we will eventually let them in, but currently it is a dog lot, it will be a couple more months before it will be converted to a chicken run.

    The coop is 8x6 and the nesting boxes are externally mounted. It is small but we plan on keeping 3 or 4 (probably the ones that get picked on the most) in the smaller coop and turning it into a chicken tractor.

    We have plans for expansion too, but that will have to wait until our wallet expands :)

    Oh and we live in East TN - plus the area under the coop is open for the girls to get out of the sun.

    I hate to disrupt the harmony that the big girls have...we spent a lot of time with them when they were younger and they are all very docile. When we got the little girls we were too busy getting the coop/run ready to spend a lot of time with them. They seem to be more excitable than the bigger girls.

    We came across a suggestion last night on one of the forums about using a "panic" room. We thought about making a couple holes between the (2) 6x6 runs that would allow the little girls to come and go freely into the bigger girls run/coop. That would give them a safe place away from bigger bullies. Any thoughts about how that might work?
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Sounds like a great set up, I'd keep on just like it is for a couple few more weeks.
    Chickens don't like change, so if you go slowly it really helps

    Expansion plans sound good too...run expansion should have priority IMO...in case predators become an issue free ranging.
    Do those upper dormer windows in your big coop open? Would be great for ventilation if they did.



    'Panic room' or chicks doors in separation wall can work very well, I used them to integrate 4wo chicks this year and it was great!
    ......but, not sure your birds are of disparate enough sizes for that to work at this point.

    If you do make chick doors, make them so they are adjustable in size so you can fine tune them....
    ...start small and show littles how to go thru, open them up until littles can just fit thru, then hope biggers cannot.

    I learned that the hard way this year, when one of my full size but slim hens fit thru a 4" x 4" door 8-0....
    ....luckily it happened during testing before chicks were in coop....hahaha!

    Put a separate roost in big coop if you can, that will help integrate them into the coop.
    Multiple feed/water stations inside and out will help too.
     

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