Introducing Younger Pullets to Older Pullets

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MD84, Jun 23, 2016.

  1. MD84

    MD84 New Egg

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    Apr 13, 2016
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    Hello! I am new to chicken-keeping and am looking for some advice on introducing new birds. I've read a number of posts about older hens and new birds, but I'm not sure what to expect with my situation: I started with three baby chicks who are now about 12-13 weeks old. One of the "girls" turned out to be a boy, so he was just pulled out of the flock and two new pullets are replacing him. One is about 8 weeks old, and the other is about 10 weeks old. Initial introductions did not go well -- the older girls went after the new ones right away -- so they are separated for now. Last night, I put the two new ones in a dog crate to sleep, and today they are hanging out in the coop while the older ones are confined to the run. My questions are: What should I expect as I try to get them introduced to each other? Is the 8-week-old pullet going to be able to hold her own with the older (and bigger) ones? And any suggestions for how to introduce them? My plan was to keep them separated some now and only let them interact through the bars of the dog crate when they're not separated. I'm hoping I can get them through this in about a week or so, as I'll be heading out of town and leaving a "chicken sitter" to care for them -- don't want her to have to deal with all this if possible! Suggestions, advice, and thoughts are appreciated!
     
  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

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    Your plan sounds great, and the dog crate is a great idea. I would just wait until the pullets are almost the same size as the older hens when you finally put them together for good. In the meantime, I would continue the limited interactions. The first few times that you combine the few groups without the dog crate it would be a good idea to free range them so they have a lot of space, which may help keep the peace. It would be great if you keep an eye on them while you free range them for a little bit. If you see any bullying, you can nip it in the bud by shaking a tin soup can with rocks or pennies in it with duct tape on the top to get them to stop. As for the chicken sitter, I would continue with your current arrangement for now and then you can continue introducing them when you get back. Good luck!
     
  3. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    It might take longer than a week. A better plan would be to keep them separated by a wire fence for a few weeks, and when you get home work on combining them. I wouldn't want to leave a pet sitter with bloody birds to deal with. Integration shouldn't be rushed. Sometimes it goes well right away and sometimes it takes time with multiple separations.
     
  4. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer

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    I put my youngsters behind bars for a couple of days before allowing them to join the flock. If a particular bird (s) was aggressive to the newcomers I put them behind bars to disrupt flock dynamics long enough help settle things down. You still need to observe the flock for a few weeks afterwards to make sure bullying does not take place.

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