Integrating 16 7week old with 2 18 month olds


10 Years
Aug 9, 2009
I am watching all these posts! I have 16 7 week old pullets and 2 18 month old gals. The babies are in a large segregated brooder...(the sick area normally) and the big girls can see them. Some mornings I wake up, and the big girls are snuggled up next to the wire by the babies....but when the babies are in their "playpen" in the yard, one of the big girls pecked at them. I am very nervous. These posts help. I am hoping to turn them all together in the next 2 weeks....Should I wait longer? The brooder is getting awfully small for 16 big babies. I do let them loose in the henhouse while the big gals are out foraging but still, I worry they don't have enough room.
We use a pen inside our larger pen for integration. All our babies or newbies go into this pen for at least two weeks. That way they are all face to face but seperated by just chicken wire. Then we will let them out just as the others are heading to roost for the night. That leaves just a short time of being together. We do this for a couple of nights. Then like on a weekend when we don't have to be anywhere, we will let all the others out of the roosting house and let them run until they settle down. Usually about half an hour. We then open the door to the transition pen and let the newbies come out on their own. There is usually a bit of pecking just to establish pecking order but that pretty much stops after about an hour. We stay and watch in case if there is bad fighting which there usually isn't. We use a metal leaf rake and place it between any two that seem to want to fight. A couple times of this usually stops any problems. In our large pen we have about 30 hens and 9 roosters along with about 20 younsters. They all range in age from 4 weeks to a year and a half and in heavy breeds and bantams. They all get along fine.
I am by no means an expert, but I have read horror stories when putting such young birds in with adults. One I read recently was about a rooster killing one. Maybe that is out of the ordinary, I don't know. Another thing I read said to never put them together if they still "peep!"

Whatever you do, I wish you well ! Good luck, and have fun!
The "Brooder" is in the henhouse. The brooder is really a pen, that allows my babies and the big hens to see each other. There has not been any pecking at each other at all. This is a picture of the babies at 5 weeks and I'm standing next to a big chicken when I took the pic.
So...they have been eyeballing each other now for over 2 weeks and my babies are just a hair over half the size of my big girls at this time. I think that Sunday, I will let them all together in the chicken run while I watch to see what is going to happen. The chicken run is very large and I'm hoping that with 16 babies and just 2 big girls, there will be too many babies for the gals to pick at. I will watch them closely and see what happens. Keep the suggestions coming....Oh and here is a pic of the run.
I have 12 7 month old hens and 6 2 month olds (one is a roo). They're in separate pens, but they can see each other. We let them all out to free range for a few hours every evening and there's never been a problem. They've even shared the same dirt hole!

Every now and then our 2 month old roo pecks one of the older hens. And all the babies dance and puff up their neck feathers to intimidate the big birds, but there's been no serious fighting.

We're going to wait another 3 or 4 weeks (or until it gets too cold) and then put them all together. Our nursery pen does not have any insulation, so they'll need to move to the big pen for that.
My flock is huge and is mixed ages from 3 weeks to 12 months and includes ducks. They ALL free range together. In the evening, the layers put themselves away in the layers coop, pullets and little roos go into the "pullet" coop on there own and the ducks usually quit early and go to their run by themselves. We close all the gates and doors before it gets dark. I introduce the chicks at 2 days with a heated brooder box in the "pullet" run/coop. At 2 weeks, I open the door to the brooder box and let them start co-mingling. I have yet to have a problem with this method. At this time, I only have 1 little EE roo, about 8 weeks, that seems to the be at the bottom of the pecking order but they have NEVER drawn blood from him.


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