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Introducing year old chickens to flock of twelve week olds

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Skittleinaustin, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. Skittleinaustin

    Skittleinaustin Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 13, 2011
    Ive had my girls for 8 weeks and all is well in the world. However, I got a call today about four one year old hens that are in need of a home and of course, I agreed. Now, I don't know how to introduce them into my flock without causing chaos. I'm excited about having older girls to teach my girls proper behavior (like roosting!) but I'm afraid of the problems! I searched and found lots of advice about adding pullets to mature flocks, but not the reverse... Help!?
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  2. Your younger ones are 8 weeks old?

    I would do just about the same thing as the reverse. Make a place in your coop that keeps the birds securely separated. Let them live side by side for a couple weeks... feeding them close to each other so they can all see each other eating. Throw grain on the floor close to each other on both sides of your separation. Then after you've done that for a while you'll want to let them out together you can throw grain for them but scatter it widely. You can probably tell who is the lowest on the pecking order of your older girls. Some may suggest taking that bird and exposing her to the younger ones first but from my observations, I think the lowest has the most to lose and may actually be meaner than someone higher up.

    Are the young ones still peeping? Sometimes that will make a difference in how the older girls treat them.

    However you decide to do it, you're going to have to watch very closely and be right there with them when you allow them to be out together for the first several times. Roosting always presents a problem too, they're very picky about who gets to sleep next to them. Perches in steps are probably best. That way the birds which are higher on the pecking order can take the top perch while those beneath them can take their places beneath them on the lower perches.
  3. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
  4. terryg

    terryg Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 5, 2007
    New England
    I wouldn't add the older ones to the young ones until the little guys are fully feathered out. Also, the new girls can look perfectly healthy but be carriers of disease. So, the older you let the chicks get before introducing them to mature hens that possibly carry bacteria and viruses, the more they'll be able to resist getting sick themselves. That said, once they are ready to meet, there are many things to minimize pecking order issues. I like to introduce new girls when everyone is free-ranging. Also, I let the new girls into the coop while the older ones are shut out. Let them find the food, water, and roosts so that they know where to go when mixed. I have a FAQ with more ideas about how to mix flocks here:
  5. Skittleinaustin

    Skittleinaustin Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 13, 2011
    Great news...the prior ow ers are giving me their coop, waterer and feeder so quarantine is no problem! Thank you all for ur advice. I am amazed that one link didn't come up first in my search given all the great info!

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