Introducing 4 sheltered pullets to 1 free-range hen/rooster pair

goodevening

Chirping
10 Years
Jul 17, 2009
4
0
60
While we've had chickens off and on throughout the years, this is the first time I've raised some from chicks. My flock was down to one hen and one rooster, and they free range all over our 1-acre yard, and roost in a small coop in the goat pen at night. We have a converted stall in the barn where I'm raising 10 cornish rocks for meat and 4 pullets of varying breeds for eggs. Next week they'll be 8 weeks old and the cornish rocks will go for processing. Is this a good age for the pullets to go outside and start to hang out with the hen and rooster? Will they pick up on the free range thing on their own and just naturally start hanging around the rooster for their protection, and follow them into the coop at night? Or will they head for the hills the first time the hen takes a run at them, and I'll never catch them again?

The stall where they are living now is really a giant solid box with a wire mesh lid designed to keep all critters out. So unfortunately it doesn't have a side door where the pullets could start just exploring on their own and return to their childhood home each night at first until they caught on to becoming part of the flock.

Thanks for any advice!
 

NatJ

Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
6,046
11,542
596
USA
I suggest you come up with some kind of outdoor pen for them, at least for a few days. A pen with wire sides, so they can see out. (You might have to carry them back to sleep in the stall at night--probably not too hard with just 4 of them.)

That way, they can look around and become familiar with the area, and with the hen/rooster.

After a few days, when they seem comfortable instead of terrified, try letting them out. I think they'll try to go sleep in the stall when night comes, but they may try to sleep with the big chickens or they may try to sleep on a tree branch or under a bush. The big chickens may not want young upstarts sleeping with them, either--making sure there are two roosts might help with that.
 

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