Aging layers... thinking pullets

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
22,073
12,269
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
You have been given some great advice. This isn't going to be an easy task. Can you add to your existing coop? Many years ago when I was introducing some pullets to some older hens, one hen in particular would beat up the pullets if she had the chance. I put the bully in jail for awhile a couple of times but when I put her back in with the flock she would start beating up on the pullets again. A few times when she beating up on a pullet I had a fire hose nozzle on the hose, and squirted her with a nice blast of water. She was so intent on beating up the pullet that I really surprised her but didn't completely stop her. She would run into the coop. I eventually cut a second pop door into their coop because she would guard the pop door and not let the pullets go in to eat. She couldn't guard both doors and I put another hanging feeder in the covered part of their run. I finally took her to an auction with some males. Some transition fine and others not so well. I have several coops but back then I didn't. I did get a second coop. Even though the birds could go into either coop, usually the pullets would go into one coop and the hens would go into the other. Now I have the luxury of moving birds to different coops so when I'm integrating I can clean out a coop and blend two flocks into one and very few problems because the coop will be new/different to all of the birds I put into it. They still have to establish their pecking order but it usually goes pretty good. If I have an unusual more aggressive bird, I can move her to another coop with other birds then it's one against the flock but usually goes pretty well. Good luck...
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
My way has been using a dog cage. I would get one for a large dog, keep it in the garage or basement or shed, somewhere safe from predators and weather. Quarantine them there for a few weeks. Then use the same cage inside the run to let them see and be seen without being bullied. I put a tarp over mine at night and during the day I left the tarp cover the top only to keep out rain and so the older chickens couldn’t perch on top and poop on the pullets. I never only introduce 1 chicken. 2 is better so they have a buddy when they are finally introduced without separation. 3 is best in case something happens to 1 so the remaining chickens still have a buddy. They are very social birds. I have 2 in particular that were introduced at the same time in this manner. To this day they are best buds. Where one is you will find the other. If the one lower on the pecking order is being bullied a bit too much the other will step between them.
Thank you. We have a huge dog crate that would be perfect for this set up you describe.
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
You have been given some great advice. This isn't going to be an easy task. Can you add to your existing coop? Many years ago when I was introducing some pullets to some older hens, one hen in particular would beat up the pullets if she had the chance. I put the bully in jail for awhile a couple of times but when I put her back in with the flock she would start beating up on the pullets again. A few times when she beating up on a pullet I had a fire hose nozzle on the hose, and squirted her with a nice blast of water. She was so intent on beating up the pullet that I really surprised her but didn't completely stop her. She would run into the coop. I eventually cut a second pop door into their coop because she would guard the pop door and not let the pullets go in to eat. She couldn't guard both doors and I put another hanging feeder in the covered part of their run. I finally took her to an auction with some males. Some transition fine and others not so well. I have several coops but back then I didn't. I did get a second coop. Even though the birds could go into either coop, usually the pullets would go into one coop and the hens would go into the other. Now I have the luxury of moving birds to different coops so when I'm integrating I can clean out a coop and blend two flocks into one and very few problems because the coop will be new/different to all of the birds I put into it. They still have to establish their pecking order but it usually goes pretty good. If I have an unusual more aggressive bird, I can move her to another coop with other birds then it's one against the flock but usually goes pretty well. Good luck...
Thank you.
 

CBorden77

Chirping
Sep 8, 2019
30
140
69
Lincoln County, Montana
I have used a huge dog carrier too. They work well. I always quarantine any new birds I get.
Yes. Quarantine makes sense - even if all my research didn’t talk about it - as a foster mom for stray cats and dogs, I know how important quarantine is for all animals. I just didn’t think a dog crate would be big enough for pullets. Considering the amount of space recommended for coops per bird, keeping pullets in a crate (knowing its temporary) seems grossly insufficient.
 

cmom

Hilltop Farm
12 Years
Nov 18, 2007
22,073
12,269
641
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I also put the young birds in a cage and made a small temporary pen for them. I have also used melon boxes I got from the grocery store.
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Cryss

Free Ranging
Nov 12, 2017
3,991
9,787
707
Northwest New Jersey
Yes. Quarantine makes sense - even if all my research didn’t talk about it - as a foster mom for stray cats and dogs, I know how important quarantine is for all animals. I just didn’t think a dog crate would be big enough for pullets. Considering the amount of space recommended for coops per bird, keeping pullets in a crate (knowing its temporary) seems grossly insufficient.
Odd that quarantine wouldn’t show up in research. Good thing you have experience with animals so it’s not a foreign idea to you.
Young pullets are smaller and yes, it is a bit small in a cage but 6sqft is big enough for 1 or 2 fully grown birds for about 2 weeks. 3 smaller pullets would be ok for a few weeks. Bring them home from the breeder when they are able to be outside without heat. That should be about 5 weeks old, sometimes younger depending on how they were raised. By 9 or 10 weeks old they could be through quarantine and see-no-touch introductions. You try letting them join the older ones and put them back in for another week if it doesn’t work. At these ages it’s more size than age that could be a problem. Smaller birds are seen as weak and are picked on. Different breeds can be different sizes at the same age.
How big did you say your coop was?
 
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