Can different age chickens free range together.

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Delmar, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    I have a group of adult chickens and a group of chickens that are 8 weeks old. Currently I keep them in two different tractors and free range them in shifts. I am aware that I can't house them together, but I was wondering if the adult birds would leave the young ones alone while they are free ranging?
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    They can be free ranged and housed together too, if proper introductions are made.

    Right at this moment outside, I have 3 year old hens, 1 year old hens, some 5 month olds, some 14 week olds and some 9 week olds, all freeranging together. In just a bit, the 3 year olds will head in to their coop. The younger ones stay out a bit later, but they will all go in their coop together - the 3 year olds are the only ones housed seperately in the original coop.

    You just have to hang around a bit when you first introduce them, to make sure all goes well. Some pecking is normal - usually older birds on younger - blood drawing is not.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2011
  3. chicken_noob

    chicken_noob Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Out of our chickens we have 10 that free range together..well sorta. We have them in seperate pens. 3 white rocks that seem to be about 4+months, then in pen#2 we have roo/hen mille fleur and a giant black hen, they are near 9wks and the bg is around 6-7wks but every bit as big. And in pen#3 we have 3bantam frizzled cochins about 6+wks and they are lead by a 2mo white crested blue polish. They seem to all do ok together but stay with their own lil groups.. they may take a peck at each other but its all good with them.
     
  4. franklinchickens

    franklinchickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have 4 grown hens and 3 12 week old chicks that free range together fine. I actually just posted a question for help on pecking when they are on the roost (one hen is being really aggressive). But out in the yard during the day - just fine for the most part. What's interesting is that the 4 big girls and the 3 little girls keep to their own flocks in the yard. We started with the little ones fenced in adjacent to the big girls for a while, then did supervised mixing of them, then let them be. Very few issues (except that one hen at night).
     
  5. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Do you think I can assume that, if one of the young ones wanted to go in the big girl tractor in the evening, that the big girls would escort her out, if they have a problem with her being there.
     
  6. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Proper introductions would be made out in the yard, I'm guessing. I tried to introduce 9 week old birds with 20 week old birds in the tractor, before we knew better. That did not go so well!
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Quote:I think chances are good that the older girls would make sure she felt unwelcome. Depends really on the hens though. When my younger birds invade the older hens coop, some of the older gals immediately escort them out. Others of the old gals could care less.
     
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Quote:I agree. I make a safe place where the younger birds can go to get away from the older birds. I have done this several times and eventually they mingle more and more until the older birds are less interested in the younger ones. There is always going to be some chasing and pecking. If a bird gets too aggressive I sometimes remove the aggressive bird and reintroduce it after it has been away from the flock for several days. I also swap coops sometimes where I put birds together in one of the other coops so it is new to everyone. They will squabble some as they are re-establishing their roosting order. All birds are different and what works for me might not work for another person. Good luck and have fun!!!
     
  9. Delmar

    Delmar Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:I agree. I make a safe place where the younger birds can go to get away from the older birds. I have done this several times and eventually they mingle more and more until the older birds are less interested in the younger ones. There is always going to be some chasing and pecking. If a bird gets too aggressive I sometimes remove the aggressive bird and reintroduce it after it has been away from the flock for several days. I also swap coops sometimes where I put birds together in one of the other coops so it is new to everyone. They will squabble some as they are re-establishing their roosting order. All birds are different and what works for me might not work for another person. Good luck and have fun!!!

    So all 3 groups of my birds have been free ranging together except at night for almost a month now. They do stay in there groups though and I have to feed them in separate regions so the smaller birds get to eat too.

    Will the groups tend to merge into one as the younger birds reach adulthood? I am going to do away with my adult rooster at some point because he is a little too hard on the girls and I am thinking of keeping one from my youngest group to be the man of the house. Will this help them become one group?
     
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2011

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