Introducing Pullets to Rest of Flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by rudimyers, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. rudimyers

    rudimyers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2011
    Chesnee, SC
    My husband bought some Barred Rock chicks. They are roughly a month old now. We have them in a chick-n-rabbit hutch which has a 6X6 enclosure (imagine a box with one end open) on top of the hutch. We figure we need to put them with the rest of the flock in a couple of weeks because they are going to be too big. (We will also probably need to sell some in a month or so .... they are all THRIVING!). Anyway, we have a 8X8X8 Lowe's shed with a doggie door that leads to a 6X6X6 enclosed run. I am just now letting the big chickens (four Red Star hens and an Australorp rooster named Bob) out on a daily basis to free range (hawks were a pain over the fall/winter). So, how do we introduce the chicks to the rest of the flock? Do I need to worry about Bob trying to mount the pullets (they are all female with the possible exception of one - too early to tell)? Thank you for any advice.
     
  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Barred rocks are usually easy to sex. If one stands out as being a lot lighter than the others (more white/less black as the bars develop), then it's a male. If they're all about the same color/barring, then they're all the same sex.
    I would not worry about the rooster attempting mating...most likely he won't try that until they're around 18 weeks or older, at least if he's a mature rooster (because young, hormonal cockerels aren't discriminating - they'd mate a shoe). I WOULD worry about the hens you have.
    Have the older birds been exposed to the chicks? If not, get that going now. Wire off half the shed for the chicks (just 24-36" chicken wire that you can step over maybe???). Start letting them see one another for the next several weeks. When the time is right (maybe over a weekend), while the big ones are out free ranging, let the little ones out to explore the run for a few hours. Work your way up to leaving the run door open so that little ones can go out and about too.
    If you're not planning on freeranging most of the time, then you will want to add to your run, as 36 sq. ft. of run space is a tiny space to work with for however many birds you're planning on keeping (10 sq. ft of run space per bird is generally the minimum recommended for LF birds). Birds in tight space often become stressed and fight amongst themselves.
    Good luck!
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Have you heard of the "panic room"? It's an enclosure within the run where the pullets can go to get away from bigger bullies. For the first week or so, you will need to keep them separate. But after the chicks get used to being in the run, cut little openings in the panic room that are just big enough for the pullets.

    I agree with the previous poster that you're going to need to add onto your present run. Why not make two pens with a gate joining the two sides? One half can serve as the panic room now with small openings for the pullets to pass back and forth between the two sides. When the youngsters are adjusted to the pecking order, you can open the gate, utilizing the space as one big run. In the future, you can close the gate again to merge new pullets.
     
  4. rudimyers

    rudimyers Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 6, 2011
    Chesnee, SC
    The Barred Rocks are all evenly striped, so I think we have all girls!

    Thank you for the advice on how to introduce the pullets. We have a chicken tractor now built (roughly 8 feet long X 4 feet high X 6 feet wide) with a door in it. Will have to think about how to cut small holes that could be re-patched up - hate to lose it as a tractor. Is there a way to build a cheap add on to the existing run? Something for walls with bird netting thrown over the top to keep out hawks. The Lowe's shed and existing run have proven to be fox/dog/cat/raccoon/hawk proof so far .....
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2012
  5. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    Adding on to an existing run shouldn't be hard. That's what I've done, and over the years, I have a labyrinth of wings going off in all directions. The chickens love the complexity, and small pop holes cut into every wall and dead-end provide a "race track" for the young ones to navigate at full tilt without even slowing down to go through a pop hole. It's great fun to watch them!

    I use steel T-posts and poultry mesh, reinforced with 2 x 4's wired to the posts around the top. I've put corrugated fiberglass panels over the top to keep out snow, rain, and predators.
     
  6. applefalls

    applefalls Chillin' With My Peeps

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    azygous, I would love to see a photo of this as well as a photo of a 'panic room'. The panic room seems like a fantastic idea and I'd like to try that.
     
  7. AndreaGS

    AndreaGS Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We did something like what azygous did. We have a portable run that we placed in the chicken area, and then we just propped one corner up enough for the little ones to get under if they needed to. It worked out really well.
     
  8. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    My panic room is simply a portable roll of poultry mesh that I staple onto 2" x 4" supports, and then I remove when the chicks have reached almost full size. Come summer and the feed store having fluff butts on the floor, I drag the roll back into the run and staple it back up. It's just a two foot by five foot enclosure in one corner, nothing fancy.

    I don't think I could do justice to my multi-winged run with a photo. The wings go off in so many different directions, it's not even funny. But the chickens sure seem to like it.
     

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