Apparantly 8 wks is TO SOON!!!

waitin on eggs

9 Years
Sep 29, 2010
Well, I let my girls meet each other last evening and it was HORRIBLE!!!
I have 3 RIR hens that are a little over a year and seven 8 week old pullets.
They have been co habitating in the same coop with chicken wire dividing them for approx 2 wks now, the babies also have and enclosed run w/hardware cloth, which they can always see and hear the big girls and vice versa. I decided last night to let the little ones free range about an hour before bed to mingle w/ the big girls who always free range.
They just went crazy and practically attacked the little ones, I had 3 little ones who were bleeding (cleaned them up and gave them some lovin and they are all fine just shaken up and scared) I thought I was doing this right. UGH! Does it get any easier or will they always want to kill them? Now this morning I let the little ones out for a couple hours (just to get some free range time) the big girls are still locked up , then I will lock the babies up and let the butt heads out!! Any advice Please!!
sorry for yours troubles! this is my first time putting babies in the big girl coop too. they were just getting too big for thier grow out pen so i decided lastnight to move them in the coop. now theres only 1 adult hen in there because the 2 others went broody! she seemed fine with them, they stay away from her mostly, but i never saw her attack. im thinking maybe i had better luck because shes a lone hen, so she doesnt have any others to team up with and bully on the babies.

maybe when you go to free range let the babies out, then one hen and let them mingle for a bit, then another hen, then the third.. worth a try. im sure others with much more experience will chime in, like i said this is my first time too! good luck hope it works itself out soon!
Last year, I let mine free range together for short periods gradually increasing time over 2 weeks, before I moved the younger ones to the older pen. There was still a lettle pecking, but not to bad. The younger ones have to learn who is in charge.

This year, I had them in the hen-house in a pen only seperated by chicken wire. Then I opened up to let them mingle when the girls turned 9 weeks. It's been a little over a week now and no serious bullying. I also have a hen who semi-mothers them still and she watches for bullys. It's a little hard though when she is trying to keep track of 35 chicks that are ready to be independant!
Oh no! I'm putting my two groups together in the coop this weekend. I'm using a wire dog kennel in the coop for the little ones. My oldest ones are 11/12 weeks old, but my dark brahma will peck the babies. I'm assuming it's going to take approx a month to integrate. Good luck to you, I hope all goes well.
Some of this is dependent upon the breed and temperament of the older chickens. I've had some breeds that were reasonably tolerant of younger, new comers, but I've also had some that were severely dominant and displayed distain. When the older hens are really nasty, I find it best to just wait out the introductions and integration. I have multiple pens in the barn, so I have the luxury. Once everyone is laying, I find it easier to integrate.
I put mine together at 12-15 weeks, never tried earlier, but at 12+ they are roughly the same size as the smallest of my large fowl. So far have had no problems. I also have eight weekers and they are way too small to put in with my big chickens..
There will always be pecking but I think 8 weeks is too early, one reason is at 8 weeks they are still making peeping noises and the hens do not like that and will go after then. You need to wait until they are all making adult noises and that will be after 12 weeks give or take a week. But remember there will be a pecking order , my hens still peck each other at times that is just normal for chickens.
RIRs are very dominant, even with birds their own size. I would think they think the babies are intruding on their tidy little family.
Free ranging is the best way to introduce if the babies have space to get away.
I'd wait till they're older(bigger) then remove the most dominant hen or 2 for 3 or 4 days to make her the newbie.
You could even try to put the babies with a single hen.
imho 8 weeks is way too soon. They do need to be close in size for it to work well. Some hens do have terrible mean streaks. When you try again put the meanest hen into a cage. The others may relax a bit and be more accepting of the new chicks.
I've read two things about introducing new chickens: put the new ones into the coop at night when they are sleeping. And/or Lysol the coop down then put all the chickens in together...neutral odor apparently helps.

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