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Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by blbgp, Jan 28, 2012.
At what age do you usually put your pullets in with your big girls?
I put my chicks out pretty early, last patch that went out 4 weeks ago was 9 wks old. I put them in a dog cage in the coop for over a week and let them out in the coop when everyone was free ranging slowly let them out all day and put back in cage before the mad dash for roost space happened. Once they figured out where the outside water and food was, I took the cage out. All went well for me, may not for others.
I always wait until the pullets are 19 weeks. They will still be less mature, thus at a disadvantage. They'll get pecked on and chicken politics can be brutal. I want the younger girls to be full sized and not just cower and take all the pounding.
I introduce, through a divider of netting for a week or two. Then, co mingle during outside time. In spite of all this, there MUST be the establishment of the pecking order. Nothing we can do can take this away. Things tend to calm down after a week. Keep an eye out, though. Some younger members just seem too passive and some of the older birds can just be witches.
Different breeds react differently, as well.
About 18 weeks. But them my older girls are little devils to new pullets. It's been months and there has been no change in attitude towards them. It usually takes about a year to get settled in around here.
Don't but your young pullets with old barred rocks, they are mean.
Once mine are feathered and old enough to go outside, they're all in together. I only have one run, so that solves that. It's very large, with lots of hiding places. Yep, the young ones get chased and pecked some, but as mentioned that's just gonna happen. No blood, no foul. They learn quick to get out of the old girls' way and show the proper respect.
As soon as mine can tolerate the weather outside, I introduce them.So, probably anywhere from 8 weeks on. Introduce them too late and the flock doesn't settle as well. Ever introduced a full grown hen? She practically never fully gets accepted, honestly. (but it does depend on breed. Introduce a gamehen and she'll never treat the whole rest of the flock nice) So, my opinion at least, it's always best to get some nice young gals introduced, that way yes they may get chased but as they mature they'll get accepted in instead of being sudden mature strangers.
You just described what goes on in my flock. 4 months ago I introduced two new pullets to the rest of the girls, as expected they had to learn who was the boss and they did...I love watching them interact with the older hens, the moment one comes close, BAM...the two younger ones run to the other side of the coop and if one of them dares to get in the way of any hen,,,ay ay ay...I'm so glad humans don't do pecking.
In the past, I've always introduced youngsters via a segregation and integration coop & pen. (I had several different kit coops in my yard to accomplish this, plus a wooden house I made for the ducks but they never used it, and a plastic playhouse transmorgrified into a grow out coop.) The chicks go out when they are fully feathered, about 6 to 8 weeks old, with their own feed and water inside the pen. (The pen is merely an enclosure of chicken wire or garden fencing held up with garden posts.)
In these segregation areas, they are protected from the older chickens but each group can see, hear, and smell each other. There will be posturing through the fencing material, sometimes even pecking, but none of the youngsters can get injured. After at least two weeks, sometimes more depending upon the age/size of the chicks, I simply remove the garden fencing or open the pen to the kit coop. There will be pecking, chasing, and loud protestations but the chicks are no longer strangers to the rest of the flock. They have their little coop in which to sleep, their own feeder and waterer so the bigger birds cannot block them from eating and drinking.
It has always worked well for me.
I now have just one coop, but it's a garage transmorgrified into a big coop with a whole lot of room. I've had a Chicken Kindergarten pen built inside the coop, where very young chicks can brood with their EcoGlow for supplemental heat, their own feeder and waterer, and they are safe from the adult birds. They'll stay there until they are fully feathered and at least 10 weeks old before I open the door to let them mingle.