Introducing youngsters to the old(er) ladies???

Cheep a'lil Talk a'lil

10 Years
Mar 20, 2009
Sequim, WA
We have some youngsters we got from the feed store that are about 6 weeks and 4 weeks. The older ones are feathered out. When would be a good time to introduce them to the older ladies that we got spring of last year? I tried yesterday with the two older chicks but my son said he caught the older girls surrounding one. He wasn't sure if they were picking on them but that youngster ran into the coop and when my son opened the main door the chick jumped into his arms. We found the other one stuck under the fence like he was trying to escape. The fence had cut into his back and wing. Poor little thing.

I just put them in the coop/run with the older girls, now I know that was a bad idea. How should I introduce them all? Should I divide the run keeping them separated, giving the little ones their own coop until they get use to each other? How old should they be?
I don't want them to get hurt again
I have the same thing going on right now. I have some 2 1/2 wk old chicks and some 2yr old hens. What I have done in the past is put the chicks in a cage outside while the big girls are free ranging. They come around them for awhile and then lose interest. I keep doing it until they don't care any more. Then I divide coop with wire at night so they wake up in the am with the chicks but can't hurt them. I do that for about 2 wks. I do this until the babies are about 8 wks old. They still peck and chase them but they don't try to kill them. They just establish pecking order. I will put these babies in the coop in about 3 more weeks.
Definitely partition off a part of the run and give the chicks a temporary (safe) shelter. Most don't advise putting newbies into an adult flock until they're at least close in size to the adults, maybe 14-16 weeks of age, for the reasons you mentioned. Or do what beachchickie suggested - very gradual integration. And ALWAYS supervise, as adult birds can certainly kill youngsters. A bit of chasing, running off from food, fronting - is perfectly normal. But you want to intervene if things look serious, because if blood is drawn, it can result in death. I would strongly recommend having TWO feeders available, spaced apart, once the integration is attempted. The mature birds will often chase little ones away from feeders... Good luck!
What I did was put a rubbermaid clear tote with hardware cloth in the lid right in the run. I cut a small opening (door) just large enough for the babies to get in. I put their food in there but hung their waterer just outside if it to encourage them to come out. In the begining I also hung a heat lamp over it so they could get a bit warmer when the nights were still reall chilly. It works great! They go in less and less. They still get picked on but they just run away. If they are really taking a beating they run in their box and make faces at the big girls
I'll grab a pic and add!
I agree with the other posts. I have 4 coops. When they are chicks they get moved to a brooder coop. I put them in a cage with a heat lamp. I leave the cage door shut for the first day or two then I leave the cage door open so they can go in and out of it but after 2 or 3 weeks I take the cage out. I leave a feeder and water in the cage and one outside of the cage.

When they get to around a month old to 6 weeks, I move them out to one of the other coops. The coops on the ends are divided so I can separate the birds. The is a gate in the middle of the coop so if I want to use the coop as a single coop or a divided coop. This way if I want to introduce new birds they can have their own space initially. After about a month, if I choose I can open the gates and let them establish their new pecking order, which they will do. I don't interfere unless I see excessive pecking. If I see a bird that is being very aggressive, I separate that bird for awhile.
At 6 weeks I tried to introduce my chicks to a 5 month old trio. I made a pen inside the coop to place the chicks in but the trio was so aggressive I made a 'jail' to put the trio in and allowed the youngsters free range in the coop and pen.



Once I rehomed the rooster, joining the remaining two sisters took only a week of repeated short introductions. Now they get along well.

My Big Girls are 3 months old and my Little Girls are a month old. Yesterday I put the little ones in a pen just outside the Big Girls run. They all were very interested in each other for the first little bit but then mostly ignored each other. This morning I let out the Big Girls to free range and waited 1/2 hour and let out the little ones. They have stayed away from each other so far (3/4 Acre backyard). I'll update tonight and let you know how it went.
Thank you all for your great input. I guess its time to go out and build a mini coop for the youngsters and put up some dividing fence . I will come in handy when they out grow it and we can use it for the Banties.
Thanks again!

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