Another Integration Thread


7 Years
Oct 6, 2015
I know there are lots of these around, but here it goes again.

Our current flock consists of 3 ~2yr old hens, & 2 ~6 month old hens. The older hens still pick on the younger ones now and then, but nothing bad.

Our current chicken pen/coop setup is not ideal, but it’s what we’ve got. They free range every day. Their pen is 10’ x 15’. There are 2 small coops. One comfortably houses 3-4 hens. We built it when we got the original trio. The other is an old doghouse that we modified. It has 3 nest boxes built on, & we added a perch that fits 2-3 hens. For the most part, the old & young flock roost separately, although at times they do mingle.

We originally had 4 in the younger flock, but lost 2 to predators. We decided to replace those hens, but TSC had a minimum purchase of 4 . So we have 2 Buff Orpington, & 2 Golden Comets, all pullets. They are currently a month old. My husband then decided to get 2 ducklings (not my idea!). They are currently 2 1/2 weeks old.

The new flock of chicks & ducks is currently living in an old run-down chicken house on the property. They have an area approximately 12’ x 20’ with a nice area for a wind break, with 2 heat lamps warming a corner of it. They are doing very well.

Today, we put the little ones in a wire dog crate out on the grass so they could get some sun, & the hens could see them. We’ve done this a couple times so far. But one of the older hens tried picking a fight with them through the cage. Obviously she couldn’t get to them, but I’m worried about moving the littles in with the older ones. They still don’t 100% like the 2 young hens from last fall.

As far as the ducks, I’m not going to put them in with the chickens. I don’t have enough space in there to sacrifice for them to make a mud pit of the whole thing. They will either stay in the chicken house & I will build an outdoor run onto it for them as well, or I might put them in our outdoor dog’s pen, where there is plenty of room. The ducks will likely free range with the chickens during the day.

How do I best go about integrating the new ones? They’re still small enough that I’m hesitant to free range them together yet. With both of our previous sets of hens, we gave them a coop with the wire dog crate attached to it as a small run until they were large enough to turn loose in the pen. This seemed to teach them where “home” is. My dilemma now is that I don’t think the second coop is large enough to sleep the 5 grown hens while the babies use the other one, so I’m not sure how best to go about it.

I’m sure this all sounds confusing. I can post pictures later on to help clarify.

Thank you in advance for any advice.

This is the delapidated old chicken house (I guess formerly used to raise game birds). The left third of it has an existing fence up to section it off from the rest. I think it housed a goat?, pig?, dog? at some point.


This is the inside of the structure, showing the pen. The chicks have access through the little gate to the rest of the area. The low fenced portion has their heat lamps, as well as their food & one of their water stations, the other is in the open area.

The ducks may potentially stay here, but I would build an outdoor pen attached to it with a pool for them.

Maybe I should keep the ducks & new chicks together? Could they free range with the older hens during the day & go to bed in separate pens?

I will get pictures of the chicken pen & coops tomorrow, as it’s dark & rainy now.

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