HELP, is it ok to keep new young hens inside for weeks before integration

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by gerrbearCB, Nov 8, 2016.

  1. gerrbearCB

    gerrbearCB Just Hatched

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    I have a mixed integrated flock of 15 hens, 6=8 months. I recently acquired 4 hens from a gal financially able to maintain a large flock. 2 EE (appear 6mos. or so/near laying/one is squatting) and 2 Aracaunas I thought were the same age, but are actually just feathered, so about 12 weeks???
    Concern. I have a separate coop area that I have the 4 new ones in, nesting boxes available, but no way to allow them out in run together except for short stints while I can supervise. The EE may get integrated in a couple weeks or so, but the 2 young hens will not be able to fend for themselves for a few months. Are the 2 littles OK inside the coop, with windows, until the spring when they can safely be integrated into the larger flock? I feel awful without them having outside space to roam, but don't know how to keep them safe. I plan to introduce a dust bath area for them and keep a varied diet so they can have best quality possible, but does anyone not let hens out in run for several weeks at a time? Once she had the young girls with her, I couldn't say no, she was in real financial distress to care for them.
     
  2. gerrbearCB

    gerrbearCB Just Hatched

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    May 23, 2016
    financially UNABLE to care for flock...
     
  3. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Those four you just got are already integrated as a unit. I would hold all of them to integrate with the others at one time, the more the less any one can be overly picked on. If the youngest have just feathered then they are more likely around seven weeks. Age wise you can integrate them at twelve weeks, provided you have the room, hiding places and the extra feeders for them.
     
  4. gerrbearCB

    gerrbearCB Just Hatched

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    Thanks. I have successfully integrated a few birds over the course the summer, I have "rescued" a few and have not really had any big problems. My sussex is a witch, she causes the most aggressive problems. My worry is that we are in Iowa and its mid November. I have a raised 4x8 coop attached to a shed coop that can be accessed from the raised coop or from a door at ground level underneath the raised coop. Currently I have the 4 newbies in the raised coop and can leave them there indefinitely, but there is no access to a separate outdoor run. The raised coop has access during summer to run and when not prepped for winter it has excessive ventilation and windows for comfortable summer roosting. Will the 4 newbies fare OK with 90% of their life inside? That is my worry...seems cruel, but don't know how to keep them safe to grow well.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    do you have pics of the younger birds? "Just feathered" would be more like 6ish weeks. At 12 weeks, they should be pretty much okay to be out with the big girls if there's enough space for everyone.
     
  6. gerrbearCB

    gerrbearCB Just Hatched

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    I can get pics later. They have feathers but feel "downy" underneath. I think their nutrition may not have been all that great, too. My Sussex is too aggressive to integrate right now. She is wicked to the older EE, she would injure the littles. I have had them in sight unable to touch for a week. Have tried 2 physical intros of them, they have not gone well. How long have you kept chicks inside without being in a run?
     
  7. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I'm not the person to ask about keeping them inside. I move all mine out asap. I don't have closed "coops", per se, so they're out in the pens.

    How about pulling the Sussex into the inside coop and letting everyone else get to know each other? Leave her for a week or two and see how things go.
     
  8. gerrbearCB

    gerrbearCB Just Hatched

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    Thought about that, too. Thanks. Are you in cold climate? I have unheated coops
     
  9. AllynTal

    AllynTal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know if this will help you, but I'll tell you what I do. I put my just-hatched chicks right in the coop with my bigs. They have a chicken-wire box that they stay in and they have their own pop door that goes to a little pen within the area that the bigs occupy. This way they can all see and be seen, but the littles cannot annoy the bigs and the bigs can't attack the littles. That's a big key for integration, they all should see and be seen so they can get used to being around each other

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    Then at the 2.5-to-3-week mark, I lift the pen so the littles can go out and explore, but they have a safe place to run back to when the bigs chase them.

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    Note the pen is elevated on 4x4s. The littles can scoot under to get back in the pen, but the bigs can't follow them.

    Then, a week or two later. I elevate the box. Same deal, the littles can go out and explore, but can run back and scoot under the box.
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    When they seem like they're all getting along okay enough, I take away the pen and then take away the box for full integration.

    You don't have "little' littles, but the same principles apply. Give them a space to see and be seen, but have avenues of escape because they will not be welcome into the flock right off the bat.
     
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  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Not especially cold here, but very wet. Doesn't really matter, unless your in the Arctic or something you pretty much don't need heat in a coop.
     

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