integrating new pullets with old

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dfvellone, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. dfvellone

    dfvellone Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2008
    Hi, new to the forum here and looking forward to the benefits of shared experiences.

    I have a main coop with a good sized brooder coop attached.
    My main coop currently houses my 1 + 1/2 year-old pullets, and this past spring's pullets are living in the brooder coop.

    I would like to integrate them because the main coop is well insulated, larger, easier for water changes and keeping them together will keep them warmer. We also will soon be needing the brooder for chicks.

    I do need to cull a couple of my older pullets but I don't need to replace them all. I've read that older and younger hens shouldn't be mixed but I don't want to replace the full flock and certainly don't want to create yet another additional space.

    Is it that much of a problem to integrate? I tested one young pullet and she seems to be doing fine with the older hens and in fact is producing a daily egg even in this cold, dark weather.

    Thanks for any replies. Dan
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  2. TurtleChick

    TurtleChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 3, 2007
    Tacoma, WA

    i plan on integrating new girls next spring (just have to convince dh...) - and i've done alot of reading on the subject. if you use the search feature and type in various phrases, "introducing new chickens", etc. you should find lots of info. from what i've read, if they've been able to see each other for quite some time now and the younger girls are about the same size as the older set, it should be fine - as long as there is adequate room for everyone. easiest seems to be to pluck the new girls from their roosts and mix them in with the older girls at night once everyone's gone to bed. then they wake up in the morning and there's less stress about the new mix. there's always going to be some small scuffling, i'd think, as a new pecking order gets established - but shouldn't be too major. places where the younger ones can get away from the older ones helps, too - and lots of distractions like moving the food/water, hanging cabbage, giving a few extra nutritious snacks, etc. can help give them plenty to do without worrying about the new kids on the block.

    good luck!

    eta: you might have to escort the new girls to their new roosting quarters at night for a few nights, until they get the hang of things. or maybe not!
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2008
  3. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    [​IMG] I wait until they are about the same size. I let then see each other at first for awhile then I let them range together. There will be some squabbles while they are establishing their new pecking order. I watch them at first so if any get too over berring I can step in as I am the queen of the flock. I did have one that was particulary agressive, and I did wack her off a pullet.
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2009
  4. dfvellone

    dfvellone Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2008
    Thanks for the replies. I'd kept their yards separate while they were growing, though they were adjacent to each other.

    Once the new pullets were free ranging they had plenty of contact with the older hens.

    I'll try the mix this weekend. Maybe try a "social mixer".
  5. Buff Hooligans

    Buff Hooligans Scrambled

    Jun 11, 2007
  6. ChickenSmitten

    ChickenSmitten Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2008
    Madison Wisconsin

    is a you tube showing my "little chicken saftey zone" after I took their brooder with light out of it and they are mostly out with the big girls.

    I cut the entry holes in the fencing for the little silkies after a week or two of them being completely seperated by the fencing. I took the fencing down about a week after this.

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