Advice for mixing old, and new chickens together

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by l1ttle01, May 3, 2017.

  1. l1ttle01

    l1ttle01 In the Brooder

    Feb 17, 2016
    I have 9 older hens, and 9 chicks. 3 Ameraucanas, about 6 weeks old are still in the brooder, as they are still fairly small. The other 6 3 Dixie rainbows (they are HUGE), and 3 black Asians around 8 weeks old. The 6 older chicks are in a separate coop right next to the big hens. The door has a chicken wire window to be able to look at each other. They are getting pretty big, and I'm not sure how to start mixing them together. The 6 older ones I feel like they are almost to the point of being able to go in the coop with the big hens. But the 3 smaller ones I'm kind of worried about. If I mix the 6 with the big hens I can move the 3 smaller chicks to the separate coop. The part I'm worried about is will those 3 be picked on because it took them so long to be mixed with everyone else?? Also when should the 6 bigger girls be mixed with the hens. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated!
  2. autumnbee17

    autumnbee17 Chirping

    Jan 6, 2017
    The bigger ones I would put them in your coop because they should be fine. And the smaller ones you can mix them together it if your worried they can stay separate and they should be fine. Also they should peck at each other because they need a pecking order other than that they should be fine.
  3. azygous

    azygous Crossing the Road

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I'm not real clear on whether the two age groups of chicks have ever been together. If they have been separate until now, your first step is to introduce them and integrate them. I don't know how long it will take, but they need to be a unit to be able to take on the adult flock.There is strength in numbers. Just the sheer number of new chicks will make it harder for the adults to pick on individuals.

    The ideal integration of chicks would occur as the chicks begin to understand the danger of adults around age two weeks. Chicks brooded in proximity to the adult flock have an advantage over indoor raised chicks who have never met big chickens. They integrate while they're still too small to present a threat to the big girls. Therefore, day trips to a safe pen will give your chicks time to observe the adults and to learn the different temperaments before you throw them all together.

    Integrating the two chick groups with a barrier at first out in the run with the big girls would be the first step. While they're getting to know one another, they can also be observing the adults.

    After about a week of being in a safe pen, you can then let them mingle with the adults for increasingly longer periods under supervision. Provide plenty of perches so they can fly out of the way if adults get it in their minds to bully. I use the panic room method, a safe pen with 5 x 7 inch openings so the chicks have a safe refuge to retreat to, but your chicks are already getting too big for that. Instead, a card table in the run with food and water on it will have to make do. This gives the chicks a place to eat and drink without being hassled.

    After the chicks have adjusted to being around the adult flock during the day, you can then move them into the coop with them if that's your plan. You seem to have a complex problem with no straightforward solution. If you do it in steps rather than all at once, you have a better chance of success.
  4. Fairview01

    Fairview01 Songster

    Jan 26, 2017
    Dallas, TX
    In each flock there is a chain of command. The dominant hen/rooster gets the best and the rest figure out their place in the flock. Squabbles occur when one wants to move up in the order and displace a more dominant chicken, When I merge flocks the first consideration is size. The second is number in each flock. Chickens are viscous when it comes to much smaller strangers being introduced.

    With a small flock of mature large hens I'll break up that unit and introduce them one at a time to an established younger flock of similar number one at a time. By introducing the more mature larger hens individually they need to find their new place in the new flock, usually they become the dominant hen immediately without exception. I always start with the smallest one first working up to the more dominant ones. As I introduce the remaining hens the major squabble generally occurs between the mature hens figuring out there place in the flock generally ignoring the younger ones that aren't a threat.

    If I have a whole bunch of young pullets when I think they are of appropriate size I'll just chunk the young ones into the mature flock and let them figure it out. The idea is that the number of new moving targets is so great that no one new pullet becomes the only target to go for. There's going to a lot of feathers flying for a bit but as long as there is enough new distractions running around no one gets the worse for the wear. Just make sure there is enough feed/water options so the new ones can have acess.

    When it comes to roosters. Just put them together and walk away. I've never had different roosters fro different flocks be happy.

    Good luck, No matter what you do it won't be without a few lost feather,
  5. aggiemae

    aggiemae Songster

    Mar 18, 2012
    Salem Oregon
    I put new hens into the coop with the older girls during the night when they about 15 weeks old. No drama, no dust ups, no injuries... I don't know why this works but it does...
    Last edited: May 4, 2017
  6. DogCatChickMom

    DogCatChickMom Chirping

    Feb 8, 2016
    Centertown, MO
    I have a small flock of 3 hens, 1 rooster. I put the two new pullets (raised from egg) that are 8 weeks old into a metal dog crate (basically all open) inside the coop for three days. Finally the third night I put the two in the coop on a lower roost and in the morning it seemed when they got too close to ANYONE (rooster, or hen) they got pecked. I understand they have to find a pecking order and I watched for about an hour with this happening over and over. My run is about 4 ft high, 4 ft wide, and 10 ft. long. When I got home one of my little pullets had a gash in her head. About 3/4 of an inch by 1/4 of an inch wide (open, but not bleeding). I researched on here what to do with that etc. I am worried this will take a long time to heal. I have the second pullet in with this one (they are not happy to be seperated). I heard a water bottle can work if the older hens are picking on the new ones. I will try the crate again again at a later date (once all healed up). I had them sleeping in the coop for two nights but worried I wouldn't get up in time and they would peck her wound again. Super worried this wont work out because I love them all!

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