6 week olds introduced to the flock.. I have questions!

Madimhunter

Chirping
May 12, 2019
17
28
59
Black Hills
Hi everyone!

For the past two weeks, I have implemented the “look but no touch” method of starting introductions of my new babes to the flock by keeping them inside the coop in a small metal kennel.

Today, I let them run free in the coop! I made an opening in the kennel only big enough for the younger ones to go in and out of in case they needed a place to hide.

The babies explored and my hens took to pecking them whenever they passed by. No bloodshed so far but the babies mostly go back and hide in their kennel.

SO! My question is, do I leave them as they are for the night? I don’t know if they will follow my older girls to the roost. The low for tonight will be 50.

Also, how long should does it take to establish the pecking order? Are the babies fine as long as they have their hiding place?

Thanks so much for reading if you made it this far :)
 

swamphiker

Songster
Feb 24, 2020
378
674
161
Florida
It sounds like you are doing all the right things! At six weeks and with older birds to roost with, your pullets should be okay. If you can, try and keep an extra close eye on everyone for a bit. I would expect all of them to have adjusted after a week or two, although the hens will likely continue to keep the younger pullets in their place for awhile.
 

Slm318

In the Brooder
Apr 28, 2020
14
8
13
This is what I did when introducing new pullets to my existing flock. I would just shut the kennel for the night at first so no predator could get them. After they were all acclimated one of my hens was still being a bully to the new ones. She got put into “chicken jail” for a couple nights (Which means she was isolated from everyone else). Apparently when you remove a bird the pecking order changes up. So, when she was reintroduced her status as bully was gone and she was well behaved from then on!
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
Premium Feather Member
Jul 3, 2016
15,200
29,047
1,002
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
Unlikely they'll follow the hens on first day of mingling... they're still big scary things to a chick.

Personally I would continue to let them spend time together during day only, while monitoring behavior, until the hens are mostly not caring/not reactive and the chicks the same. Might be a few days, might be a couple of weeks. At that point you can close the chicks' access to their kennel and start encouraging them to roost in the coop.

As far as pecking order the chicks are bottom rung and will remain in their own mini flock until close to point of lay.
 

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