Flock integration strategy...will it work?


10 Years
May 4, 2009
I currently have four 6 week old chicks that sleep in the coop at night and free range when I'm home or are penned outside when I'm gone. I also have three 1 week olds in a brooder within the coop, they have the run of the coop during the day. I have released the little chicks with the big chicks in the evenings under supervision, but things got scary and I just looked like a giant mama hen feigning off attacks, so they are not allowed out in the coop unsupervised with the big girls.

To compound the problem, I have 11 more week old chicks coming by the end of the week. I was hoping to just be able to put them in the brooder with the 3 that I already have, fingers crossed. I'm wondering what would be the best route for integrating the little ones with the big ones.

I was thinking that I could put one different 6 weeker locked up in the coop with the little ones each day, that it would mix things up quite well. After four days of rotating the big girls, I would try and put them all in together and see what happens. Am I crazy to think that this might work?

After I get past this hump, then I will have to deal with the new chicks that are still growing in the bator! Ugh! What have a gotten myself into! Lol! I can't sleep at night trying to think up strategies of how to best house, feed and care for these little suckers!
I would combine both the smaller batches into one flock. Brooder raise them until they are feathered out. Then I would pull the six older ones, and put them up somewhere else, and let the younger flock aclimate to the coop, feel comfortable there, own it so to speak. Then I would put the older birds cage in the coop, where they could see the babies all acting normal and not scare them, and the babies could get used to seeing the bigger hens and not running, and then let out the bigger hens, and immediately pull out any that show aggression and put them back in the cage, you may have to pull back two, or even three, but just do it. And then the next day, let them back out and watch. If any attacks, just put her back in the cage, and so on until she is the outsider and everything is sorted out. Also, make PLENTY of places for the smaller birds to hide behind, and under. Careful you dont' accidently make traps, like places they can get wedged in and suffocate. Try something like a half sheet of plywood up on bricks that the little guys can go under easily, but the bigger birds can't. Put food where the little guys can reach it from under the plywood and bit by bit they will get integrated.
Hey, thanks! I will definitely give that a try. Since the little ones will have the run of the whole coop during the days while the big ones are outside, they will get quite comfortable to it quickly. I never thought about penning the big ones in the coop while the little ones were roaming free though! I have a very large dog crate that will work perfectly as long as I can fit it through the narrow door.

Ahhh, now maybe I can get some sleep tonight. Wonder what chicken related problem will keep me up tomorrow night?
I would do the intro while they free range on neutral turf. Then they get used to eachother over time and its not such a big deal. That works great for us. Good Luck however you try it.

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