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How Do You Merge Young Chicks With Older Hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Barry Natchitoches, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    I have five nine-month-old hens, who will be a full year old by the time spring comes.

    I'm wanting to get five more little chicks in the springtime, since I easily have room for 10 (or more) in the chicken coop.

    They will spend some time in a brooder, and then I have a 30 inch by 8 foot by 2 foot tall chicken tractor that I can raise them in while they are growing bigger.

    But at some point, I will need to merge the five new chickens into the same living quarters as the five adult hens, because the new chickens will outgrow the chicken tractor.

    How do I best do that?

    I am concerned about two things: 1, the fighting that might occur between the older hens and the new chickens, and

    2, the fact that - because the chicken tractor is too small for five fully grown adolescent chickens - I will have to merge them BEFORE the new chickens begin to lay. How can I feed the new chicks and the older hens different foods if they are living in the same quarters? What is the earliest that the new chicks can eat layer pellets, or conversely, can the older hens eat some of the smaller chicken's food safely during that time they will live together?
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2008

  2. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    You can intergrate when they are about the same size. Layer at about 16 weeks won't hurt. If you really worry, just feed them all a flock raiser and oyster shell on the side.

    As for fighting, they will, and let them fight. Don't get in the way, they need to work it out. So after a few weeks of brutality and maybe a tiny bit of comb blood, they will figure it out and peace will return. Only remove a bird if seriously injured, but if they have enough space, that shouldn't be a problem.

    You can search intergrating birds and should find a number of threads on this topic.
  3. sussexgal

    sussexgal Songster

    If I could make a suggestion... if you can put the birds where they can see each other, but can't peck each other, the transition will go smoother. Just a few days....
  4. 1Chick Magnet

    1Chick Magnet Songster

    Sep 16, 2008
    New Hampshire
    i have just gone through this myself. i had 1 girl who was a real problem. i raised her from 1 day old alone. she wanted no part of other chickens. i made her a place to hide in the coop. the others could not follow and she was safe. little by little she came out. it took a couple of months but now she is out walking around with everyone else.

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