Integrate Babies & Full Grown in coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by soccermom, May 24, 2010.

  1. soccermom

    soccermom New Egg

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    Feb 16, 2010
    We have 5 full grown laying hens and just adopted 10 baby chicks from a teacher that hatched eggs as a classroom project. The chicks are now 3 weeks old. What is the right age to integrate the babies into the coop with the full grown hens and what is the best way to do this? We bought our laying hens grown just a few months ago, so we are rookies at starting from chicks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated![​IMG]
     
  2. gallusdomesticus

    gallusdomesticus Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 14, 2008
    Lynn Haven, FL
    There are probably lots of opinions out there on this one. I have had the best success when the new birds are close to adult size, that is around 16 weeks. If they're considerably smaller than the hens, like yours are, they will be pecked on quite a bit although with 10 of them, they should be able to 'spread the wealth' around such that one doesn't get too beat up. I introduce my new birds at night when the older hens are roosting. I put the new birds on the roost and in the morning....the old birds just wake up and have them in their midst. It works for me. Good luck!
     
  3. DTRM30

    DTRM30 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 25, 2009
    I would tend to agree - wait until they are close to the same size as your current hens. I managed to integrate earlier - when they were about 7 weeks old and mostly feathered out, and out of necessity b/c I don't have a second coop or run, but it wasn't easy and it will depend on what your older hens are like. I sectioned off a part of the run so they could see but not touch for a week with a pet carrier as their coop. Then let them mingle supervised for a few weeks, but then back to their separate area when I wasn't around - (about two weeks). Then put them in the main coop at night and back to their own run during the day for about a week. Overall it took about a month. You may still have to do some of this for a while - depending on how the older hens act toward the younger ones. If it doesn't go well, the older ones can kill the younger ones. Not to scare you, just so you know to keep an eye on them.

    For older hens that I purchased - I have just put them in at night and the others wake up and kinda say "hummm - I don't think I remember you, but you must belong here b/c you're here now and when I went to bed all was good with the chicken world"

    (remember - quarantine for a month if possible - to reduce risk of introducing illness to your flock !)
     
  4. Dr HaHa

    Dr HaHa Grinning Chicken Lips

    Feb 11, 2009
    Nekoosa Wi.
    I have 9- 1 year old hens and a roo. The 8 chicks that I got as 1 day olds are now 17 days old. I have them in a very nice day cage outside and put them back in the brooder at night. I only bring them out in the warm weather. 80* They love it! All the hens so far have investigated them very closely and even taken a few pecks at them. I watch them constantly. Today my roo Peaches [long story] walked closely around the cage eating grass and scratching like he was teaching them how for nearly an hour all the time talking to them. He's done this several times. But today I saw something I wouldn't have believed without seeing it. He plucked a piece of grass and stuck his beak through the wire and a chick took it from him. Whenever he finds some food in the yard he makes a call and all the hens come and he stands there and lets them eat what he found. I could never in my wildest dreams thought that a roo could be so benevolent. Sorry for going on but just had to share that. My idea of having them outside with the rest in close quarters is to aclimate them to each other in hopes that the final transition will go smoothly. But the hens were my first babies and they were/are spoiled terribly. Might be a problem.
     
  5. farmerKEN

    farmerKEN Out Of The Brooder

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    May 26, 2009
    Western Mass
    I split off a part of my coop with deer netting and have my six 7week old pullets in with my three 1year old hens. I expected the hens to try to get through the deer netting to attack the babies but they REFUSE to be in the coop with the pullets. They stay outside all day and wait until its almost completely black to go inside to roost. I think my hens are more scared of my pullets than vice versa.

    I'll take the netting down in 2-4 weeks when the pullets are bigger.
     
  6. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

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    Larry, KS
    My Coop

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