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Introducing new pullets to existing flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by eggxentric, Apr 25, 2009.

  1. eggxentric

    eggxentric Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2009
    Boulder Creek, CA
    I have three 7 week old pullets, which are being housed in a breeding coop with it's own run. I also have 1 egg laying hen (about 8 months old). At what age can I introduce the babies to the older hen and have them all share the same chicken enclosure? (they will still have access to their own coop).
    Thank you
     
  2. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    [​IMG] Here is my story on my experiences putting my pullets with my hens. First I let them all out in the yard together when the pullets were about 12 weeks old and the hens were about 1 1/2 yrs old. I put lots of scratch out for them. It didn't go to well. The hens chased and picked on the pullets terrible so I separated them. They had been in different coops and adjacent runs for over a month prior to the first time I tried to put them together to range. Prior to putting the pullets in a coop, they were in a chicken tractor which was next to the hen's run and yard since they were chicks.

    Every evening for a month, I would take some scratch/seeds/grain mix and sprinkle it in the feed, and on the floor of the coop that I wanted the birds in. I was training them to go into their coops at night. The two coops with adjacent runs had access to a fenced in yard. I put a second pop door into the hen's house so when I eventually put them all together the pullets would have another door to use if needed. Also I had nest boxes in both coops. When I put them together in their yard the last time when the pullets were about 20 weeks, I had two hens that were terrible and jumping on the pullets and pulling their feathers out. I took the two most aggressive hens out and separated them from the rest. They were put into a separate pen for a week where all the rest of the chickens could walk around them see them but couldn't touch. When I did let them out, I put them all together in their yard with plenty of treats and scratch out hopefully to distract them. It worked for the most part, but for one of the hens. She was still very aggressive. When I saw her jump on one of the pullets I put her back in jail for a couple of days then let her out. She was still somewhat aggressive. When I saw her jump on a pullet, I sprayed her with water from a hose which is next to the coop which caught her by surprise. She went running into the coop and didn't come out for awhile. I have repeated the hose caper a few times. She has calmed down since then.

    Since my goal was to eventually get all of the birds to live in one coop, I decided to switch the birds around and put the pullets in the hen's house and the hens in the pullet's coop. I shut the runs off from each other and the yard so they only had access to the coops and runs I put them in. I didn't lock them in the coop. I left the pop doors open to the run for that coop. They could go at free will into their run but not the other run, other coop or their yard for a week. I continued with the treats in the coops in the evenings trying to keep the ritual of evening treats in the coop so they would go in for their treats. After the switch for a week I opened the gates to the runs and yard. I let them all range together. For the next week I let them choose which coop to roost in and most except for 3/4 birds roosted in the hen's house. After a week of free choice coops I shut the pop door on the pullets coop. Now they either had to roost in the hen’s house or in the run. They do have a ladder in their run. There was a little bickering in the beginning at roosting time but all is well now and they have worked out their pecking order. They all roost now in the hen's house. There are pictures on my BYC Page.

    Sorry this post is so lengthy.
     
  3. eggxentric

    eggxentric Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2009
    Boulder Creek, CA
    Wow! [​IMG] Thank you for your response! It was (and will be) very helpful advise. I loved your pictures! You have a lovely farm and your coop setup/design is awesome.....some great ideas for us to use in our future coop (to house our growing little flock). Thank you, thank you!!!!!!!
    Cheers,
     
  4. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    We've got 2 pullets who are 6 weeks old and 3 adults (including a banty). We've been putting the banty in with the newbies. She chases them around but it's only half-heartedly. The adults are another story. They have come up with feathers when they get a chance. Our solution has been to keep them separate but in sight of each other. Last night the babies slept in a cat carrier in the coop for the first time. It went fine. The big girls still want to get the little ones but we're hoping that having them sleep together will help the transition.

    Besides, we're getting 3 more chicks this week (long story why we didn't get all 5 chicks at the same time...).
     
  5. eggxentric

    eggxentric Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 25, 2009
    Boulder Creek, CA
    Many many thanks! [​IMG]
     
  6. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    Nov 18, 2007
    Florida
    My Coop
    I will be getting more chicks shortly so the process will start all over again. Some integrations do go more smoothly than others. I think the longer they are exposed to each other the smoother it goes. It seem like there is always one or two birds that will be difficult and they will always establish a new pecking order.
     

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