Integrating teenagers with an older flock of hens

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Pequena Bandada, Jan 13, 2012.

  1. Pequena Bandada

    Pequena Bandada Small Flock

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    Jun 13, 2010
    I'm stumped as how to best integrate my eight teenage pullets (11 weeks old) with my six adult hens. They've all been the same coop for two months, with a wire and plywood wall separating them. I started opening the baby door into the main coop about three weeks ago, which means that the chickens can mingle during the day. That rarely happens, though, as the hens go outside and the pullets hang out inside. They do come out into the main coop but run back into their area when the hens come back inside. And they still sleep in a heap on the floor rather than roosting.

    I have a very mixed flock. The adults are white leghorn, EE, salmon faverolle, silver wyandotte, red star, and black jersey. The teenagers are white leghorn, EE, barred rock, and two bantam silkies. I'm most worried about the silkies because they're so much smaller.

    My standard size teenagers are almost the same size as the big girls. I was thinking of pulling the wall down this weekend and hoping for the best, but not sure if I need to give it more time? I can create a few hidey holes for the silkes that only they can get into if it helps.

    Any advice on how it's worked for you is appreciated!
     
  2. ParadiseFoundFarm

    ParadiseFoundFarm Goddess of Good Things

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    Joliet, IL
    I had the same problem. Without a mother hen to make life easy for them it can be difficult.
    this is how I solved the problem.
    My birds are mostly free range. They have a fenced area about 1 acre big.
    1) I made a smaller fenced area within that area. Make sure the fencing is chicken fencing so some one can't get it's poor little head pulled through or stuck in and allow the rest to peck them to pieces (experience talking here).
    2) During feeding times (when birds are most happy and distracted) I opened the gates allowing free intermingling with strict supervision - no roosters in the small area.
    3) I removed the fencing after 3 weeks. That lasted a few days but the birds were still 2 distinct flocks. Winter was coming and the shelter for the teenagers was only a summer shelter.
    4) I kicked all birds out of the big shelter and locked the teenagers in it for 3 days. Now they "own it".
    5) Opened up everything, removed the summer shelter, and everyone is happy with no pecking problems.

    TADA!

    I find BTW that 3 days is the time it take for a chicken to change it's routine. I never isolate more than 2 days for an injury without bringing in buddies for company.
    Good Luck
     
  3. top of the hill

    top of the hill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I also just intergraded my teenagers with my adults birds. Its been about 2 weeks since the doors were left open. we too had the old "coop in a coop" which seperated them with mesh so they could see but not peck. This was for about 2 months (put them in it at 7 wks). when i opened the doors, the little ones were just hanging inside the coop instead of out in the run, but then they got a little more confident and started to mingle. I stood gaurd for about an hour but then let them deal with it on their own. They are definetly 2 flocks, but as long as the 3 girls stick together they seem to be able to escape any pecking. I also have branches and other escape routes for them just in case. The big girls still give them a peck every now and then to show them who is boss but other than that it was successful.

    also just wanted to add that what Paradise FoundFarm said above about the 3 day rule is so true! The first 2 nights the teenagers went back to their "coop in a coop" roost but then on the 3rd night they headed up to the big girl roost. Routine forever changed. :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  4. Smiles-N-Sunshine

    Smiles-N-Sunshine Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oct 19, 2008
    Palominas, Arizona
    I've found it easier to integrate teenagers with adults than adults with adults. Unlike with humans, teenage chickens generally accept a lower position in the peck order. Problems come when Alpha Hen #1 meets Alpha Hen #2, when they've been used to their position for several months.

    I would just go ahead and pull down the wall, then stick around for several hours to make sure no one gets ganged up on. Pecks are to be expected, but not to the point of bloodshed.
     

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