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Introducing babes to older hens

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by journeygirl, May 3, 2009.

  1. journeygirl

    journeygirl New Egg

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    Let me start by telling you that I do treat my chickens like puppies--they are spoiled!! I have three older hens, two are pretty docile, but one is very bird aggressive. I bought 6 different breeds of hens and 4 straight run bantams--they are all about 2 weeks old now. When it is time, what is the best way to introduce them into the coop without any bloodshed or featherloss?? My ameracauna hen really thinks she is the rooster of the whole yard. My chickens are free range during the day and secured in a coop at night.[​IMG]
     
  2. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can introduce them at 16 weeks. There are a variety of methods: (1) just put them all together, (2) put them in some type of pen and place it in with the older hens for a couple of days, etc.

    In the end, chickens are going to be chickens and trying to change their behavior to suite our personal taste or fancy is not very promising nor should it be. You are most likely going to have some fighting, but if the pullets have a way to escape they will and everything should be fine.

    What you DO NOT want to do is introduce them one at a time. It is always better to introduce groups.
     
  3. newfarmgirl

    newfarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    How about introducing older hens to teenage chicks one at a time. That is, I have a new coop and run. I put 4 teenagers (8 weeks old) in the new digs last night and locked them in the coop so they know (hopefully) that that is their sleeping place. I let them out into the new run today. The older girls can see them. What will happen if I introduce one older hen at a time? 4 against one? Starting with the most docile. Will an older lady go after all 4? She seemed very interested in them and non-agressive while I had them side by side for a week and a half.
    Any thoughts are appreciated!
     
  4. newfarmgirl

    newfarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    And for more info- I have 5 older hens to introduce, so I definitely won't do it all at once : )
     
  5. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When introducing chickens of different ages make sure that they are all mature. Don't put chicks in with older birds. As for the older birds - it's actually easier to introduce many at the same time. One single bird introduced into the flock has a a harder time. One thing that I always do is to let the new birds scope out their new coop without the older birds around. They need to know where the roosts, food, etc. is. Also, have outside roosts and places for the banties to scoot under (or up on) that the bigger girls can't get to. That really helps the little ones. I have more about introducing new hens to a flock on this FAQ: http://hencam.com/faq/introducing-new-hens/
     
  6. newfarmgirl

    newfarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks Terry for replying. What would you qualify as a mature hen? age wise. And when they get that size/age, should I let all 5 older hens in with the other 4 at one time? So far the younger ones are in the coop and run by themselves.
    The younger birds are golden laced, new hampshire & black australorps.
    The older girls are RIR, Barred Rock, Buff Orp, and leghorns.
    ( This info is for size comparison)
     
  7. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When the hens are at POL (point of lay) which is about 18 weeks. But, if you can house them side-by-side and they see each other daily, you might be able to integrate them sooner. I like them to see each other for awhile, and then put the flocks together when they are free-ranging. You might have to break up a squabble, but it shouldn't be too bad. RIRs and Barred Rocks can be aggressive. Make sure they have lots of interesting food/things to do when introducing the new ones. Distraction helps! And, yes, all at one time. The chaos actually keeps one from being focused on.
     
  8. newfarmgirl

    newfarmgirl Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks so much for the advice!! I really appreciate it : )
     

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