Getting paranoid about combining existing hens with the chicks

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by sheeshshe, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. sheeshshe

    sheeshshe Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2009
    I had it all planned out, what I thought would work, and now I'm reading all these articles and stories on here and getting paranoid! I have 5, 3y old hens. I got 8 chicks and 1 grown silkie. My "plan" was to integrate the chicks and the silkie when they are fully feathered... but now I'm reading that they should be close to fully grown?? And if not they might kill each other. BAH! I can't leave them in the basement forever. I don't know how I could make a temporary coop for the new ones without spending a lot of $... or um, any money. I told hubby that new chickens would not be a $ project. I had it all planned out etc and it was the only way he'd let me do it LOL. Is there any way to do this without making a separate coop?
  2. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

    Feb 24, 2009
    Strasburg Ohio
    That's a toughie. Can you divide your existing coop into two separate rooms?

    You could maybe check Craigs List for some free building materials......And maybe build something for them?

    What about a plastic swimming pool in the garage, with some cardboard around it to keep them in?
  3. sheeshshe

    sheeshshe Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 6, 2009
    We don't have a garage.

    Not sure if I could make something with pallets?
  4. farmin4fun

    farmin4fun Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 23, 2012
    Jackson, Michigan
    how big is your coop and run? The older hens might leave the younger ones alone (most of the time) if they have enough room. Individual personality in the older hens would also make a big difference. If you have 5 easy going older birds you may be just fine.

    Also, because you have more younger ones than older ones no single bird will get continuously picked on. That's usually the only time you have to worry about one getting killed. The younger ones will learn to avoid the older ones pretty quickly.

    I would attempt to integrate them and just keep a close eye on them. Remember that a little pecking is going to happen at first as the older hens will want to establish the pecking order, but it will likely lessen over time. Also, make sure nobody gets a bloody spot. Blood will draw further pecking from everyone. If one gets a bloody spot remove it quickly and keep it seperate until it heals.

    Best of luck!!!
  5. luvmyEs

    luvmyEs Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 9, 2011
    North Carolina
    A couple of days ago I put my 9 week old chicks with my older chickens. I just chanced it, they either survived or didn't. They have been perfectly fine. It's like I have 2 seperate flocks. The younger ones stay together and don't hang with the older chickens. If they get close of course they get pecked, but nothing serious. I also free range too so plenty of room to get away.
  6. ChickendeVille

    ChickendeVille Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Northwest
    I created a temporary separation in my coop to accommodate the current hens and the new chicks without any drama. I started the new chicks in my house for the first 2 and a half weeks and moved them in the coop with the heated lamp. They have been there for almost a week now and so far everyone is doing good. I catch the hens looking at the chicks from time to time but being fairly indifferent to them. Below are some pics:



  7. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2011
    we had our seperated until they were "teenagers" 12 weeks or so. My DH built a coop in the coop, however if thats not an option, you could always buy or borrow a large wire dog crate and put them in there for a couple weeks so the older hens get used to having the little ones around.

    another trick is to do it at night when the big girls are roosting, theory is they will wake up and assume that the small ones have always been there.

    I've also read that you should create some places for the small ones to hide, hang some low branches, maybe a small cardboard box with a hole just big enough for the babes. This way if they do get picked on, they can run away and hide.

    good luck!
  8. Albanese07

    Albanese07 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2012
    Tonight I'm going to integrate my 2,4 week old chicks with my 2, 9 week old pullets. I'm sooo nervous! I'm doing it around 10 pm so they don't notice them til mornng( hopefully). I'm praying this works! I have no way to divide the coop or even put a Box in it, so I'm just going to do it and hope it works!! Nervous though!!
  9. PrairieGirl1

    PrairieGirl1 New Egg

    Oct 11, 2011
    Sheeshe, I totally understand your nervousness!

    We just added two 16-week old pullets (Basques/Euskal Oiloas) to our two 3-year old hens (a Sussex and an Ameracauna). I started them out in a temporary coop (made out of wire squares that I zip tied together), and put it beside the big coop. After two days, I put the little ones in a large wire dog kennel inside the run with the big girls so that (1) they can be in the same space, and (2) they can see each other but can't peck. I let them free-range in the yard together in the mornings, so that when the pecking does happen, the little ones have lots of space to run away. I'll probably keep them like this for the next week or so. It's still chilly at night here, so I bring the pullets in to sleep in the basement. Until they can cuddle up with the big girls in the coop at night, I need to keep them warm.

    I was super scared, so I did my research, and so far, so good. Just take it slowly. And be wary of some of the information out there - there are some videos on YouTube where people just dump new hens into an existing flock and don't seem to care if one or two get mauled/pecked to death. I think that's irresponsible and abusive.

    I'm posting a quick video of our setup.
    I hope you can find a dog kennel or some cheap building supplies. We managed to build our entire coop for about $50 (recycled wood, leftover shingles and insulation - it's amazing what people are wanting to get rid of - just ask!)

    Good luck!
  10. featherz

    featherz Veggie Chick

    Mar 22, 2010
    Saratoga County, NY
    I used a large dog cage to integrate my two groups. My larger birds are only pullets, but they were still quite a bit bigger than the eight week olds. After about a week I opened the cage up and let them mingle and today (about two weeks total) I took the cage out completely. So far so good and they are still very different sizes.

    Last edited: Apr 12, 2012
    1 person likes this.

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