Introducing a New Flock


6 Years
Sep 12, 2013
We have 16 6-month old chickens that are free ranging. We also have 10 10-week old chickens that we are teaching how to free range and introduce to the older chickens. We have a three room coop, so we have them in the same coop in different rooms. This week, I started letting the 10 weekers outside in a fenced in area beside the coop. The older chickens flew over the fence to investigate, but everyone got along great. We stayed outside with them the first few days doing yard work to supervise. Now the 10 weekers go out to the fence in the morning and stay out all day.

Everything is going great until bed time. We are trying to wrangle the 10 weekers back in to the coop about 6 or 7 and put them in their separate room so the older chickens can have the fence open to go to bed. If we don't open the gate, 3-4 of the older chickens will stay outside to sleep.

Would it be safe to open the fence and let the younger ones free range with the older ones part of the day or all day? Will the older ones teach the younger ones to go to bed on time?

When can we let them sleep in the same room?

The chickens have to go through the fenced in area to get to their room. The front of the coop is storage and has baby chicks still on heat lamps, so I don't want the older chickens walking in that way.

Den in Penn

8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
SE Pa.
Welcome to BYC.
You can let both groups out at the same time. The older ones have already had their look and gone about their day. The younger ones should only attract their attention when they cross paths as when say trying to feed at the same feeder at the same time. Since they have mingled a little before with out problem I see now great problem. The chicks should soon learn when and how its safe to approach and mingle. Don't be surprised if they just keep to themselves for a while though. As to the older ones teaching the young ones when to go in who can say. I have had groups of younger ones go to coop before the elders, and groups that stayed out till the last ray of light long past when the elders have gone in. But they all went in. I don't know how your coop is divided. If there is an internal door between the rooms you could just open that up and let them get used to the idea of them being able to mingle in there. Then when you finally force the issue, say when the younger ones reach the point of lay they will just have to work out who sleeps where. I wouldn't force the consolidation until they have a few weeks ranging time.

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