Integrating Incubated Chickens to Flock


9 Years
Mar 2, 2010
We have five Golden Comet hens who lay every day. About five months ago we introduced a Rhode Island Red who keeps the eggs fertile.

We have since had two very successful hatches in our incubator, and one more incubation hatch that is only about a week away. At present we have a total of 39 live birds.

The first hatch of birds (about 12) are fully feathered, but still not full grown. I made a brooder pen in our basement. Once they are fully-feathered, I put them out in a holding area in the coop that separates them only by chicken wire. They have been there for about three weeks. How do I start letting them out and about with the rest of the adult flock? Should I wait until they are full-grown? I am not interested in them getting mauled by their parents (though the animosity does not seem to be there as it was initially through the dividing chicken wire).

Can subsequent hatches be handled in the same way? I do not want to cull my existing egg laying adults if I can help it.

Thanks for any suggestions in advance! (I tried the search function on this issue, but really did not find what I was looking for).
You say they have been around the older flock for 3 weeks? Where they can see eachother?? I would start opening there pen up so they can go out in the run with the big ones and just keep an eye out. The chicks will always go back to the cage they are in ( or mine do ) if they get intimidated. Thats the trick... Letting them see each other... Hope that helped, at least a little.
I did the same thing, had them in a seperate are divided by wire and I would open it just enough for the smaller ones to get back into if they were being picked on but the adults couln't get in. Did that for a few weeks and then put them on the roost at night. There was some pecking order issues at first but nothing serious. I think they were about 10 weeks by then.
I usually introduce mine at night. When the hens wake in the morning they don't know there are more chickens than when they went to bed & accept the new birds w/o any fuss. Of course there is still the usual pecking order stuff to work through, but I've never had any trouble using the late night approach!
This is incredibly helpful! I will give it a try.

When the next batch come of age, can you pretty much do the same thing? I guess at heart I am wondering if continually (every few months) adding 10-15 chickens to a flock is going to somehow stress the flock unnaturally (of course the odd thing is that these are their own offspring).

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