Classic integration thread


Jun 14, 2021
So, I have 3 4 year old hens. 2 RIRs and one barred rock. I also have 2 9-10 ish week old chicks-one pullet and one cockarel. The cockarel is honestly VERY nearly as big as my smallest hen (and the smallest is the meanest of course)already.

I've had the chicks inside the big chicken run, inside a dog pen, for about 2 weeks. Every night I move them back to their brood box in the garage. I've been doing supervised socialization whenever I can. There have been some squabbles but nothing that required me to intervene. I have multiple food and water stations because most of the fighting seemed to happen around the food dishes.

At what point do I try to leave them alone? Our run is 18x8 and it seems to give them enough space to spread out if theres an altercation. I'm quite tired of moving them to the garage every night. I have an automatic door so they can all get out right away in the morning instead of being trapped in the (10x10, used to be a shed) coop.

The little rooster and hen are quite attached since they've been together since they were almost killed right after hatch. The hen is smaller, but sticks RIGHT by her rooster friend. I figure he somewhat helps keep her safe.

One of the RIRs is particularly feisty (ironically it is the smallest chicken. But the first to start a fight!). The second RIR is freakishly huge but overall very chill. The barred rock is mid size and mid temperament.

I also have 3 one year old buff orpington hens....but they are separated (but still in view-just another dog pen-they used to try to fight through the wire but have chilled out some) for now. I am tempted to just put them all together and let them hash it out, but I sense there would be more injuries than I want to deal with!

Short while later update: I have been in the run with the old hens and new chicks for about an hour, just observing. It is going well, a few squabbles but nothing major and I haven't needed to get involved.

I opened the buff orps pen. The big old hens have been surprisingly ok with the new ones so far. The buff orps are very docile, but big enough that the other hens seem to think twice before going at them. If they do, its a few pecks and squawks, but once again nothing crazy. The new ones have been nice to the little chicks, even when DIRECTLY face to face.

I guess now I'm just gonna sit out here the rest of the day observing and see what I see 🤷🏼‍♀️ it seems there is enough space in the run that if theres a squabbles, they all just retreat to their separate areas. They have done some side by side scratching/eating, particularly our big RIR has been friendly with the little ones.

Further update: I needed to go do other stuff, so I put the little chicks back in their inter-run pen. I left the 3 orps and 3 resident hens in the run to do what they may. I watched them for quite awhile and they seemed to be doing better than I thought they would. I'll run out and check on them a whole bunch. I still didn't want to leave the little chicks out there unattended though.
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Mrs. K

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
If you get a heartless one, put her in the pen where you had the chicks.

Post a picture of your run. Is it a bare rectangle where all the birds can see each other 100% of the time - if so add some clutter - ladders, roosts, totes, wind breaks, mini walls, places where birds can get away from each other and out of sight momentarily.

See if this helps give you ideas?

Mrs K

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