Introducing new chicks to the old ladies

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by chikens&morechikens, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. chikens&morechikens

    chikens&morechikens New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Jul 28, 2011
    Im relatively new to chickening and need some advice. I have a good size coop and run with 9 two year old laying hens and one BIG but gentlemanly rooster. This spring I bought 10 more laying hens that are currently 9 weeks old. They are all feathered and doing well and have been in the coop, SEPARATED from the big kids, for three weeks. All is well. Ive had a few escapes by the teenagers into the big world, with no ill effects. But Im worried that the older birds might still hurt the new ones. There is a size difference that worries me. And especially "Big Roo's" interest in the new girls! Can I get suggestions on integration ages and procedures? Thanks!
     
  2. christineavatar

    christineavatar Chillin' With My Peeps

    339
    1
    114
    May 1, 2011
    Bolinas, CA
    What I did was put the newbies in a dog crate and put a screen in front of the door that had openings big enough for the small birds to get through but not for the adult hens to get through. Some such variation on that idea should work.
     
  3. Lindz

    Lindz Chillin' With My Peeps

    145
    0
    89
    Jul 8, 2011
    Eastern Iowa
    Granted I didn't have a roo at the time, but when my babies were 9 weeks I put them out with the old hens. 4 weeks later we got a rooster, I just put him in and everyone got along well. I would watch and see what happens. I did sit out and watch them for oh....30 minutes or so, just to see what they were doing, and if something happend I was right there to stop it.
     
  4. chikens&morechikens

    chikens&morechikens New Egg

    2
    0
    7
    Jul 28, 2011
    Thanks for the advice. The dog pen is a great idea. Does anyone know how old the teenagers need to be before they get introduced to a rooster? My first batch of baby hens came with a surprise rooster so he was thier age and things happened naturally. The adult rooster I have now is 2 years old and looks so much bigger than my new svelte-and-slightly-shorter-than-my-current-hens teenagers.
    PS. this is a great site! I love talking to people who love thier chickens like I do.
     
  5. carrlr

    carrlr Chillin' With My Peeps

    703
    1
    131
    Mar 31, 2010
    Southern Illinois
    My original plans were to add them at 9 weeks. I have introduced them to each other by placing the younger onces tractor next to the older hens coop ocassionaly. I just put them together in one coop on Suday at about 11-12 weeks. I felt the size difference was just too much at 9 weeks. When adding new chickens, I wait until the afternoon and put the new chickens in the coop with the door shut. Just before dark I open the coop so the older birds can come in to roost. Early the next morning, perferably before they're stirring, I open the coop under a watchful eye. This has worked successfully for the last three years. There is always a little pecking order stuff going on, but no major problems. This year I removed my 3 year old roo and replaced him with a 12 week old brown leghorn. The older RIR was just too rough on the girls. I hope the leghorn proves to be more of a gentleman.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by