Anyone have luck right off the bat adding chicks to older hens?

chickgarden

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 1, 2012
98
2
84
We've got 3 one year old chickens - they are our first, and have had them since they were chicks. We now have 4 new chicks (although one looks to be a rooster so he'll be moving elsewhere). The new chicks are 6-7 weeks old and have been spending time in a pen outside when I'm there to watch them. A couple of times I've brought the "head" chicken in with them and she seems completely uninterested. Today I made a small pen in the chickens enclosed run, and then brought the bigger girls back in their run. As of right now the three older chickens have peered in at them, but otherwise don't seem to notice them.
Is this just beginner's luck on the first day? Or is it because the little ones are penned up inside the run?

Our older chickens are a Black Sex Link, Brown Leghorn and Ameraucana
The chicks are a Buff Orpington, Gold Sex Link, Light Brahma and a Barred Rock (rooster I think)

I've done lots of reading on here on how to integrate the younger ones, but am just wondering if it ever just goes smoothly or if once the chicks are free to roam the run and coop the older ones will then start bothering them.

Thanks!!
 

Eggcessive

Addict
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Apr 3, 2011
58,845
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southern Ohio
Once they are together, there will be pecking. That's just establishing the pecking order, but sometimes it can get kind of brutal. Roosters are good to have because they will step in to break up fights. When you do open the barrier, make sure you are going to be around a lot to rescue anyone who gets pecked bad. It is best if they are close to the same size. Idealy, it would be best to keep the young ones in their own area inside the coop, so that they know where home is and learn where to roost. I have used plastic netting or fencing to keep them in the back of my coop.
 

maggiemo

Songster
7 Years
Sep 1, 2012
829
95
171
Front Range Colorado
I had a broody that I gave three chicks to and she stayed with he flock to raise them. I just got 13 seven week old chicks, they are the same age as the brood's chicks. They were from an NPIP person so I just quarantined them for a week. last week I opened the doors to the quarantine coop to allow them into the main coo. The new chicks are wandering around the main coop like they were born there. No problems at all.
They are starting to explore the roosts and nesting area today and none of the older hens seem to care, nor does the broody or her chicks.
I would just let them out and watch them for a while. I bet you will be fine.
 

chickgarden

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 1, 2012
98
2
84
Thank you both! They did great it their separate pen today. Near the end I opened one end so they could go out with the bigger chickens. One of the bigger ones tried to peck a chick, but that was about it. I brought the chicks in afterwards and they were exhausted. I think this weekend we'll get some chicken wire and make a pen up in the coop for them to stay in.
 

Cknldy

Songster
7 Years
Nov 6, 2012
1,489
110
158
Appalachian mtns
I have 3 rhode island red hens and 2 black giant hens. They were in separate coops, I started letting them out to scratch around. When everyone was let out at the same time for several days everyone got along fine after one challenge to each other. On the third day when I went out to close them up the b.g. girls were roaming around in the r.i.r. coop with no problems until I stepped into coop. My rir girls went to chasing out the bg's like they weren't supposed to be in there if I was in there. So after several days of getting along I went ahead and put the b.g. girls in the rir coop to integrate for later breeding to one roo. As a note- roo was not present yet. The first two days the bg's stayed in top nest box. Rir's would pounce when they came down. I figured everyone would establish pecking order and be fine since they got along good when let out. On the third day my guess is that since the rir's wouldn't let the bg's come down to eat/drink one of them got brave enough to go for it. When I returned from work that day this is what I found. These girls are NOT going to be together and I hesitate to introduce the rir daughters and sons that hatched around Easter. No winter mixed flock hen house here:-(
400
400
 

Cknldy

Songster
7 Years
Nov 6, 2012
1,489
110
158
Appalachian mtns
She was still laying eggs every day that she was in rir coop. I thought with the stress she wouldn't lay but she is recuperating so now she has stopped laying. I have been giving acv w/the mother and extra treats w/ protein for feather growth. Triple antibiotic salve is rubbed on her head daily and her bg pal doesn't bother it at all. She looks horrible but is healing fast. Please use my experience as a precaution- the girls can be protective of 'their' home even if they allow free roaming and occassional visitors when the door is open!
 

chickgarden

Chirping
7 Years
Apr 1, 2012
98
2
84
Oh wow! Poor thing. I'm hoping things will end up going better for mine. The Brown Leghorn we have is the only one that seem bothered when I let the chicks into the rest of the run for about 10 minutes while I was there. I'm going to go about it slowly keeping them separated, but in the same coop, and then wait until the chicks are bigger.
Thanks for your input!
 

newchicksnducks

Songster
11 Years
May 19, 2009
805
10
171
Richfield, Summit Co.,Ohio
Over the years I've added several "batches" of babies in with the older girls. After the 3rd or 4th group of babies in the house, my hubby said "No More!" So I've come up with a brooder that doesn't make a dusty mess of the house. I sectioned off a 2 1/2' x 4' section in the coop with panels of hardware cloth and 2x4's. These easily screw into a mini-coop that I keep inside the main coop. I have a plywood top with a hole cut out. I hang the heat lamp from the rafters and through the hole in the plywood to the desired height, raising as needed. Eventually it will be outside the "mini-coop" and I cover the hole with an old window screen. The babies are in constant view of the older girls, but protected and eating chick feed instead of the older girls' layer pellets. By the time they are around 4 mos old, I let them all out together in the run. Having seen each other for so long, there are few squabbles, but the young ones do learn their "place" with a few well aimed pecks! Good luck
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Cknldy

Songster
7 Years
Nov 6, 2012
1,489
110
158
Appalachian mtns
That is an awesome idea! I'm going to have to build something like that. I had put the b.g. girls in a smaller cage in the coop before but they were still pecked at incessantly with no way to get away so I tanked the idea. Hardware cloth seems to be key here too. Easier than lugging the cage in and out. Thanks also.
 

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