Integrating 10 week olds with 7 month olds

Jaye16

In the Brooder
Jul 26, 2021
8
12
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Hi all, I’m in the process of integrating seven 10 week olds (all pullets) with eight 7 month olds (7 hens, one roo.)

I started them with the see but don’t touch method in the run—I set up a large pen with a roof inside the run so the big girls couldn’t dive bomb from their favorite roosting spot. There was interest at first but after about 2 weeks I opened up the pen.

There was a decent amount of chasing and pecking, especially if one chick got split off the pack, but nothing too bad. The roo didn’t really partake, he checked the chicks out but didn’t peck—and the big girls didn’t peck anyone while he was nearby.

It’s been 3-4 days now and the big girls do their thing, the babies have taken to sitting up on the pen all day away from the big girls— and I noticed they’re being kept from the food and water so I have their own food and water inside the pen which I’ve set up to have openings on the sides big enough for the little ones, and the hens if they’re super curious but they generally stay out because they have to squeeze to get into it.

I’m only worried about one of the babies—a silkie that I don’t think can get up on the pen with the others as easily—she gets chased around a decent bit and tonight after they calmed for the night (the only time I can really inspect them) I noticed she has a tad of blood on her tail feathers (definitely plucked some) and a small speck on her back from a pecking

At this point, should I give more hiding spots for her and let them continue? I’d hate to have to take her and a friend out and have to restart all this again in a few weeks. I have a bunch of pallets I can throw in there for her that I know she can get through but the big girls can’t.

I also get a little worried because it’s getting cold at night—40’s mostly with scattered 30’s—and the little ones aren’t following the big girls into the coop yet. I have a box in there for them to snuggle up in but they’ve been sleeping up on the pen instead. Do I need to worry about them sleeping out in the open, or will they find a warmer place if they need to? It’s a sealed and covered run so no rain or predators get in.

The big girls also sleep in a gap at the top of the coop instead of the roosting bars I made them—they started sleeping up there before I could wire it off, assumingly because it’s the highest point for them and they can see outside the coop too. Would it help integration if I fenced that off now like I had planned—forcing them to sleep somewhere new—almost like a new neutral sleeping ground?

Thanks!
 

DobieLover

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Can you please post pictures of your coop, inside and outside, with dimensions?
Can you also post pictures of your run, with dimensions?
It is also very useful for you to include your general location by updating your profile with that information.
It's not that cold yet and everyone is fully feathered so I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

Yes, adding more clutter to the run is ALWAYS a good idea, regardless of integration.
Another option for the feed issue during integration is to place flat stones all over the run. I then make a mash out of their feed and put dollops of mash on all the stones so there are lots of places to get something to eat.
It's very normal for a younger generation to form a sub-flock.
Do you have any other Silkies in the flock or is the young pullet the only one?
Your cockerel will likely help the integration as he's already demonstrated.
 

Jaye16

In the Brooder
Jul 26, 2021
8
12
19
Can you please post pictures of your coop, inside and outside, with dimensions?
Can you also post pictures of your run, with dimensions?
It is also very useful for you to include your general location by updating your profile with that information.
It's not that cold yet and everyone is fully feathered so I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

Yes, adding more clutter to the run is ALWAYS a good idea, regardless of integration.
Another option for the feed issue during integration is to place flat stones all over the run. I then make a mash out of their feed and put dollops of mash on all the stones so there are lots of places to get something to eat.
It's very normal for a younger generation to form a sub-flock.
Do you have any other Silkies in the flock or is the young pullet the only one?
Your cockerel will likely help the integration as he's already demonstrated.
I’ll add some photos shortly! The coop space is 60sqft and the run size is 240sqft. It’s also 12ft high in the front and 8ft high in the rear so it’s cubic space is pretty good as well.

I’m in Grants Pass OR, so it doesn’t get terribly cold but it’ll drop below freezing for periods eventually. Not a terrible amount though.

I have a good number of sticks/dead trees in the run for them, various heights etc to hang out on. I’ll get some photos soon though :)

She is the only silkie, but I do have another olive egger whose growth was stunted by spraddle leg, and they’re about the same size.

At the very least I’m going to give them more hiding spots etc and maybe a better sleeping arrangement for the little ones, perhaps some step ups so she can get up with the rest of her crew on the pen. Im just concerned if I have to remove her it’ll start all over again (but worse because she’ll have lower numbers) in a few weeks. If I have to take her out, I’ll be taking the little olive egger out with her since they’re similar size
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
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Jul 3, 2016
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I agree, she's going to have a harder time as the only Silkie.

That said, I'd go ahead and add more clutter since you mentioned having more available, as she can only benefit from having more hiding options. Might want to add more feeders or feed stations too, again just to give the younger birds more options - like I have cat bowls, ramekins, etc. to spread the flock out when they get fed in the morning.

the little ones aren’t following the big girls into the coop yet.
I would manually move them into the coop, but provide them a safe space inside the coop for the time being. What I use is a small cage on the floor of the coop. The chicks should start thinking about following the adults in once they feel more confident around them.

early8.jpg

Would it help integration if I fenced that off now like I had planned—forcing them to sleep somewhere new—almost like a new neutral sleeping ground?
Not sure if fencing off their current roosting area will help with integration. You could try it and see how it goes, once the younger ones are ready to move in as well.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
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Silkies can be a bit special. They can use high perches and ramps, but are practically ground birds and need to be trained to do so with lots of hand-holding and repetition.

If her poof is obstructing her vision, I'd recommend cutting it back for now. This will help her to see and avoid her attackers more efficiently.

I think it's best to leave her in, honestly. Integrating 7 is much easier than integrating 2.

Cluttering the run is a great idea - just make sure the chicks have ways to break eye contact with their attackers and ensure there's nothing that might leave them cornered. Clutter can also pose a good distraction for the big girls and divert their attention away from the new chicks. Integration is the best time to add new roosts and climbing frames, rearrange the existing ones, top up the dust bath, toss in some lawn clippings, throw in a mini bale of hay etc etc etc...

That will make everyone far too busy to be fussed over the newcomers for a little while at least.
 

aart

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Sounds pretty good to me, add more hiding places and let them work it out

I’ll add some photos shortly!
Looking forward to it!

I’m in Grants Pass OR
Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
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