Integration almost complete...but not quite


In the Brooder
Jun 6, 2016
Thanks to all the advice on here I have almost completely integrated my 2 now 12 week old chicks (got at 4 weeks) with my 2 year hen. They free range together during the day l although rarely as a group of 3. They also all take themselves to bed together at night and sleep together quite happily in their eglu. However as you can see from the web link below (I don't currently have a photo of mine) the run for the the eglu is only 2m x 1m and they won't behave in the run together. Normally I would shut them in to mow the grass, and obviously they are in there until I let them out in the mornings. Once in the run my hen Pepper clucks continuously very loudly and pecks and chases the chicks back to the bedroom.

I've had to start locking them all in the bedroom ( where they don't argue) until I let them out first thing in the morning and to mow the grass I keep Pepper in her run and out the chicks in another makeshift run. Any ideas how to help them behave together in the run?

This would be less of an issue if I wasn't going away for two weeks in a few weeks time. I have friends lined up to look after the chickens but it's a big ask to go from please check their food and water, remove eggs and let them out for a bit if you can, to please come and let them out by 7.30 latest, every day and lock them back up after 9.30 once they have gone to bed.
The run is not big enough. They don't argue in the coop, because the coop is dark. Chickens can't see in the dark. Set up a bigger run, with at least 10 sq ft per bird, and ditch the Eglu run completely. You also may run into an issue once those chicks are full size. That coop is very, very small.
Thanks for the quick reply but I know the run is small, that's why they free range except when I am mowing the lawn so I don't mow them as they follow me like shadows. I don't have the facilities to change their run.

Is there anything I can do to help speed up the integration?

I know three hens once integrated will be quite happy in that run until let out in the morning as I've kept hens in it for about 6 years ( but never had to integrate before). I just want help to speed things up a bit so I can go away without worrying about the chicks. We would have integrated sooner but one female chick turned out to be a rooster and we had to swap, which slowed things down.
When integrating, you absolutely must have ample space. That's all there is too it. A few metal posts and some welded wire shouldn't be too difficult to setup. It only takes an afternoon to do. And just about anyone can manage it. Plus, if you're renting, it's completely removeable.
Your new birds are juveniles, and will not be on the social standing of the older hen until they begin to lay.

You can multiple space in a run, by adding a short wall in the middle - say half a piece of plywood. This allows birds to be out of sight of birds on the other side. Beware of creating a trap, each hideout needs two escape routes. Putting a pallet up on enough blocks so that birds can get under or on top of the pallet. This can also add shade.

Mrs K
Thanks all. I love that you can get so much advice on here.

I don't think I can extend the run as for it to be safe at night it would have to have a roof, which is probably more work than I can do in the next two weeks before I go on holiday. (Given I'm recovering from gastroenteritis as well) Although I haven't seen one for about a year we used to get foxes in the early morning, hence I lock the chickens away at night, so any extra run would have to be totally secure.

However I can, assuming I am well enough next week, put some screens etc into the current run so as to divide the space a bit. I've already out a little step in there that the chicks can hide under, as well as two food containers, but some partitions would be totally do-able as well

Thanks.,I'm adding all this to my store of 'what to do differently next time'!

Oh and does anyone know how to post photos from an iPad? I'll try and add photos sometime next week of what I've done but I can't figure out how to add them?
As long as you shut them up in the coop at night, the run does not need to be completely predator proof. The BYC app does not allow you to post photos from IPad/IPhone devices.
Personally, I know people who have never had problems with a run that was not over the top, but I have. However, you don't have to have a roof, netting or woven wire or chicken wire over the top has worked well for me. At the ground level, chicken wire is not strong enough, but I have had good luck with it on top of the run. And many people just use bird netting successfully.

Mrs K

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