First freerange for the babies with the big girls....any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Marion565, Nov 1, 2010.

  1. Marion565

    Marion565 Chillin' With My Peeps

    So I started to let my 10 week old babies freerange with the big girls today, just for a few hours and supervised. I thought it went okay, lots of chasing and pecking at the little ones but nobody drew blood and most of the time the big girls seemed to not care about the little ones at all.
    I plan on letting them out together for a few hours each day for the next two or three weeks, hopefully by then they will be "nice" to each other.
    They have been in the same coop for the last 6 weeks and they were able to see and hear each other each day, I really thought it should have gone more smoothly today.
     
  2. donnavee

    donnavee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I did mine much the same way. Moved the 6 little ones at 4wks to their grow out coop and run that adjoined the 8 hens that were a year old. So, they all were able to see each other for a few weeks, I think we did the joint free ranging at about 8wks - let the big girls out first and then the young ones. The big ones mainly ignored the little ones and they actually stayed apart from each other. The few confrontations were as you described, a little chasing, maybe a peck but nothing serious. Then everyone went back to their own run and coop. We actually let them join each other in the run at about 12wks, but made a little doorway for the young ones to escape back to their own area if they needed to. We didn't consider the group fully integrated until about 14wks, when we put the young ones on the big roost at night. I was up at daybreak the next morning to supervise, but all was calm. The 2 groups still kept to themselves for the most part and the older ones were definitely in charge. In fact, they still are, even though at 28wks, the most of the young ones are as big or bigger than the older ones. But after the young girls started laying eggs, the 2 flocks started hanging out more together. We are very lucky to have a lot of space and a generally docile group of hens so we have never had any major problems. We did have 2 RIRs in the 1st group that tended to be a bit aggressive at times. Neither hubby or I liked them that much so we gave them to a friend with a large laying flock and a couple of roosters.

    From what you describe, I would say your first step was successful. Good luck as you move on.
     
  3. Marion565

    Marion565 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Thanks you for taking the time to read my post and reply. I am glad that someone else did this the same way I did and I am even happier to hear that it worked for you, that gives me courage to go out there tomorrow again and let them freerange together LOL.
    My big girls are all RIR or production reds and I really love them, they are really sweet towards us and they love to be picked up and held, even my two RIR roosters are very well behaved (most of the time).
     
  4. artsyrobin

    artsyrobin Artful Wings

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    thats how i did mine too, and they are pretty well integrated now- i do keep an eye on them just in case though-
     
  5. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My flock of 10 were 2 different ages when I got them. At first the 6 older birds hung out in one area & the 4 younger birds hung out in another area. Now that their all the same size their always together. Its definitely easier to keep an eye on them.
     
  6. sheila3935

    sheila3935 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If its not too cold keep a hose nearby. A shot in the butt worked for me but that was in the summer [​IMG]
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I did mine about the same way. By the time the younger ones were 12 weeks old, they were sleeping in the coop on the roosts with the adults on one end and the young ones on the other end. I could sleep a bit late without them having any real problems locked in the coop together, but I had a bit of extra room in there. If you have enough room and don't have a mean nasty bully in your adult flock, integration can go fairly smoothly. It does take a bit of time though.
     

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