Managing multiple ages and coops


In the Brooder
May 2, 2016
I'm having a hard time deciding how to manage living arrangements for our flock.

I have...
3 one year old hens
9 five week old pullets
10 one week old straight run chicks, four of which were hatched by our broody hen.

I have 2 coops, small and large, both with attached runs. Together inside a larger fenced in area.

Right now, 2 hens are in the larger coop, where they have been living all year. The mama broody was moved to the smaller coop with her four babies. The 9 pullets are in a huge box in the garage. And the 6 other babies are in the house, under a heat lamp.

So now, the 9 pullets are ready to go outside but I'm not sure how to manage everyone.
Can I move the mama and her one week olds back to the larger coop (where they hatched), or is it too soon? Then the 9 could have the smaller coop. Do I try and give the mama the other 6 chicks now? Or wait till they're bigger?

What do you think?


Apr 6, 2015
There are lots of opinions on how to introduce chickens to each other so my way is not the only way. Just wanted to state that up front.

I'll start with mamma hen. I generally don't separate mamma hens and her chicks from the flock unless there is a serious problem. Mamma hens generally won't allow other chickens to bully her young too much. Also mamma hen won't likely accept the other chicks this late. The best way to introduce new chicks to a mother hen is on hatch day while it's dark. Once they come off of the nest they USUALLY won't accept any new chicks.

As far as introducing new chicks into the flock I make sure they meet some criteria first.

Are they feathered out?
Are they healthy?
Is this a chicken that I'm going to foreseeably keep?

Once I decide they are ready I'll move them into a small pen where they are with the flock but can't really mingle for a few days. Usually doesn't take long because my chicks spend the majority of the day outside in a starter pen where they can see the other chickens anyway as long as weather permits.

Once they've been around each other for a few days, you can put them all together. The older hens will bully the chicks some but that's normal. Just keep an eye on them. Make sure the younger chicks have places they can get away from the older chickens for a bit and they'll all be fine.

Hopefully I didn't forget anything. Maybe someone else will chime in and give you their method or add to mine if theirs is similar and I forgot a step. I've done it so many times now I rarely actually think about how I do it.

Edited for some autocorrect errors.

New posts New threads Active threads

Top Bottom