How Do I Merge Two Groups of Chickens?

Barry Natchitoches

11 Years
Sep 4, 2008
OK, I know that winter is not even here, and yet I'm already planning for spring, but here is my question:

I have 3 buff orpingtons and 3 RIR's, after loosing a Red a few weeks ago to a pack of dogs.

They live in an 8 foot by 13 foot former dog kennel which has a metal top and (for the winter only) has plywood walls attached around it with screws and wire ties. They have a 6 foot by 3 foot by 2 foot hen house inside that kennel area, which they choose to use only for egg laying purposes (that's where the nests are).

I'm thinking of getting as many as 6 new chicks next spring. I can keep the new chicks inside in the brooder for about a month, then move them into an 8 foot by 3 foot by 3 foot mobile chicken tractor for at least a couple more months.

But at some point, the new hens will have to be merged with the old hens, so they can live together in the existing 8 foot by 13 foot kennel.

Right now, I don't have much of a problem with hens hurting other hens, since they have grown up together and since they have so much room to live in.

I fear that peacefulness will be lost when I merge a new group of chickens in with the old group.

My question is: how do I merge them so that there is minimal conflict between the two groups?

My chickens get about an hour each day to free range out in the yard. This is right before sundown, and they are pretty good about returning to their kennel to sleep.

When the new chicks are really young, I plan on giving them free range time that is separate from the time that the older hens get to roam the yard.

But I was thinking that when the little chicks got old enough to defend themselves, that maybe I could let them share the same free range time as long as I was out there to watch over things.

Then maybe by sharing the same yard and the same free range time, but going back to different homes to live the rest of the time, maybe that would be a good way to begin the merging process?

At some point, though, the chicken tractor will become too small for all the chicks (as many as six), so at that point, I'm not sure what to do.

Any suggestions?


Where Chickens Ride Horses
12 Years
Jul 9, 2007
always changing
Start letting them free range together now. When you put them all in the pen together, some pecking will happen and they may even stay aloof, but this is normal and ok, as long as they are not killing each other. Have hiding places or get away places in the pen also, and just watch. When I put my 3 month olds in with the big girls, they stayed on the roost a lot, but eventually came down. I put water up there for them just to make sure. Hiding places such as a low table for them to go under, or some sort of divider for them to go behind, but nothing they could get trapped inside with the older ones and not escape from them if need be.
Good luck!!
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