Integrating pullets with existing flock

GretchenM

Songster
9 Years
Mar 7, 2011
69
12
111
I've seen a lot on this topic, but I'm going to ask from a slightly different angle than I've seen so far. Our original flock is 25 hens, 5 different breeds, 8 months old. The newbies are 10 Easter Eggers, 2-1/2 mo. old (but they seem big for their age). We've just put them in a cage inside the coop. Is it really necessary to also give them time in the yard separated from the original flock? We're in central Texas, so the girls spend most of their awake time in the yard, not the coop. THANK YOU!
 

hysop

Back from hiatus (11/24/21)
Premium Feather Member
Sep 16, 2019
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So they're in a cage inside the coop? Do they get seen a lot by the other hens?
Or are they in the coop by themselves while the others freely go into the yard and leave the coop never really seeing the pullets in the cage?
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,483
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western South Dakota
Well a lot depends on your set up. Do you have a run? Does it have hideouts, and roosts in it? Is there multiple feed bowls?

Some of you have a great deal of patience. I do not. There is a huge difference between adding one or two birds and adding 10. It is rather exhausting to chase 10 birds, and the older girls will quit sooner. Adding 10 at once, spreads out the pecking so to speak. Where as one or two new birds will get pecked by everyone.

I have two ideas that work pretty well for me:

So what I would do, is put the cage in the run. Then I would let everyone out. The most aggressive of the older birds - I would put in the cage. Your older birds outnumber your younger birds, so you should be able to put enough in the cage, to get the numbers more one to one. Leave them like that during the day, see if they will all go into the coop at dark. If you let the free ones go in first, then wait a bit, then let the ones in the cage out, they will go into roost in a dark coop.

Or

I would let the old birds out to free range, and put the new birds in the coop/run set up, so that they can explore, without being chased for their lives. Then as close to dark as possible, I would let the old girls back in. The urge to roost is stronger than the urge to fight. I usually let them out in the morning, and back in at dark for a couple of days. But a little later, and a little earlier each day.

If you get some heartless bird or birds that will not quit - well they go in the cage.

All this being said, I have a large run, a lot of hideouts, multiple feed bowls, and multiple roosts and wind breaks in my run. That is important too.

Mrs K
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
9 Years
Nov 27, 2012
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My Coop
My Coop
The size and layout of your coop and run(?) can make vast differences in how to handle integration.
Dimensions and pics would be most helpful here.

How big is that cage too?
 

oldhen2345

Crowing
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Jun 22, 2015
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East Texas
I've seen a lot on this topic, but I'm going to ask from a slightly different angle than I've seen so far. Our original flock is 25 hens, 5 different breeds, 8 months old. The newbies are 10 Easter Eggers, 2-1/2 mo. old (but they seem big for their age). We've just put them in a cage inside the coop. Is it really necessary to also give them time in the yard separated from the original flock? We're in central Texas, so the girls spend most of their awake time in the yard, not the coop. THANK YOU!
The hens need to be able to get used to watching the chicks in their cage for awhile, then you can let them in the general yard. Be aware that the hens may chase and peck the chicks, so you need to provide a place where they can go that the hens can't get at them. Also, they need to sleep separate until they decide they are big enough to go in the general coop. Most of mine integrated by the time they are 12 weeks old, but this bunch this year waited until they were 14 weeks.
 

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