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Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by shannycam, Nov 10, 2015.
Can you coop train new chicken to a coop where existing chickens have their nesting boxes?
How old are the new chickens? How many do you have, old and new? How big is your coop? Do you use a run or do they free range? Are they all female or do you have some males involved?
There may be some integration issues which I’ll not address. I’d need to know a lot more about your unique situation. If you can house the new ones in the coop, either building a pen or using some type of cage, you can leave them in there for a week or more before you let them loose. That should do it.
Another option, if they are locked in a run all day, is to just let them loose. If they do not go back in the coop at night, toss them in after dark. They should be easy to catch them.
Thank you for your response! We have 4 grown hens that free range. The run is not too big, about 8x2x5 high. There are 6 nesting boxes. Our new chickens are only 3 weeks old females. We know we have to seperate them for a good week, (later) but how do we teach them to all go into the actually coop at night/and to lay... when they have been separated and not in the coop? Will they follow the older chickens? Thank you!
So you have to go through integration later when they grow up some. I’ll guess you are brooding the chicks in your house?
What I suggest is that you either fence off a portion of the coop where you can house the young ones for that week or you build a second temporary coop for the chicks where your adults free range for the chicks when they are ready to go outside. Set it up so the hens can see the chicks but can’t attack them. After at least a week of exposure (two weeks would be better but probably not necessary) let the chicks roam with the hens during the day. If they are staying in a separate temporary coop, it’s fine if they sleep there at night instead of with the adults. After they have roamed with the big girls during the day for a month, you should be able to move them to the main coop at night. They might just go to the big girls coop the next night or you may have to move them into the main coop a few times for them to get the message. This is pretty close to how I often do mine.
If that 2x8 is feet and not meters, that is pretty small for that many chickens. You may run into problems when you try to mix them in there. I’ll still go through the procedure for doing this in the coop but I’m a little concerned your space is pretty tight. Usually integration goes a lot smoother when you have more room.
Anyway, if you build a pen in the coop, house the chicks there for at least a week, maybe two, then just open the pen up and let them out. They should be OK and they should return there to sleep at night. It’s possible they may settle down to sleep outside the coop instead of going in, especially if the coop is elevated. I’m going through that right now. I just let some out of my grow-out coop into their run during the day and they huddle up under the door instead of going inside. I had to toss them in earlier tonight. There have been groups that learned to go in after just a nigh or two, but last year I had one group that took three weeks before all of them learned. Those were some stubborn chickens. I hardly ever have any that take more than a week to learn.
As far as them learning where to lay. They are living animals so you don’t get any guarantees, but normally they learn where to lay from the older hens. This doesn’t mean for sure that will all lay in those nests, but they should.
I’ll tell you how I do mine. That may help you some. We are all unique in our situations so what works for me might not work for you, but my brooder is in the coop. The chicks go there straight from the incubator or post office. The sides are wire so the chicks and adults can see each other immediately.
At five weeks or so, depending on time of year and weather, I often move them to a grow-out coop on the other end of my run. I have a 12’ x 32’ run plus an area about 45’ x 90’ in electric netting. It’s not free range but a fair amount of space. After a week in the grow-out coop I let them into a small run that is next to the main run. After they have learned to go to bed in that grow-out coop instead of trying to sleep in the run, I open the gate and let them run with the adults. At about 12 weeks I usually move them into the main coop with the adults though sometimes I leave the cockerels sleeping in the grow-out coop and just move the pullets.
Sometimes instead of moving them all to the grow-out coop at five weeks I only move a portion of them or maybe none at all. For these I just open the brooder door. That’s probably the last time any will be in that brooder. They form a sub-flock and stay away from the adults during the day, but they go into the coop at night with the big chickens. My main coop is 8’ x 12’ walk-in with a dirt floor so they have a fair amount of room.
I’ll mention again that a 2’ x 8’ coop for that many chickens is pretty small to go through an integration especially. I’d make very sure I was down there pretty early to open the door and let them out so they have more room.
Good luck with it.
That was a lot of great information, much appreciated. Yes our run would be too small for all of the chickens to stay in it seems. If we made an area fenced off inside the run it would leave no room for the big chickens. Our big girls are only in there in the am until we let them out early and at night when we put them away. ( ALL but 1 likes to go onto the top of the coop instead of inside) this is why I say , we put them away. So it sounds like we need to build them their own area to walk around and sleep at night until about 12 weeks when they can mix with the big chickens? Or would it be better if we just build a large coop and we can move the older ones to that and use our existing coop for the new chickens? They are really amazing and fun, we may end up with more than 8 sometime.