intigrating chicks into an established free-range flock


May 4, 2015
ok! I need some advice!
We currently have 18 hens and 1 rooster who free range on our farm and are locked up in the coop at night. They have an automatic door that lets them out at the same time every morning and closes at the same time every night.

I now have 17 chicks in my brooder who are 8 weeks old. I would like to move them out to the coop as I have ducklings in my house that I'd like to move out to the brooder.

The chicks are fully feathered and can fly pretty good.

I would love some ideas or suggestions on how to integrate them into the flock and safely free range them. We do not have a run. I have a small portable run that is basically chicken wire and PVC that I currently put them in for outdoor time for several hours a day. Yesterday they were out in it most of the day.

Thank you!
While the chicks have been in their temp pen, have the adult flock been getting acquainted with them? If so, I would say it's high time to let them try free ranging with the flock.

But first, I think you need to move them into the coop and keep them enclosed in it for a few days so they will imprint on it to return to at night. It would be easier on the chicks (and you) if you could partition off one end so the chicks can acclimate without getting hurt. After a couple days, then turn them loose outdoors. There shouldn't be any problems, but roosting time may be tense until everyone sorts out their roosting order.

This will be your biggest challenge, and a lot of people wait until the chicks are full size before attempting it. It all depends on if you have a bully that wants to make it difficult for the chicks to go inside at dusk.

I solved that problem by creating a second pop hole to the coop so the bully couldn't station herself at both entrances at the same time.

Another trick is to put up partitions along the roosting perch. I hang heavy curtains cross-wise at intervals so it cuts down on squabbles.

Coop first. Free range second. Play it by ear! Good luck!
When I integrate new birds into my flock I put them in the coop inside a brooder that has netting or wood on all sides. my babies get use to the coop and the bird can meet each other through the netting. After a week I let them out of the brooding area to be with the flock and free range. They learned from my flock what to do from there.
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Thank you!
Yes, I have a portable run that I have been putting out every afternoon, I put it next to the coop so they can meet the chickens as they come and go. So far everyone seems to have checked them out and no drama so far.
I will start putting them in the coop now! Thank you!

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