Merging adults with younger chickens


8 Years
Mar 17, 2011
I have 21 adult hens. 2 of them are of little concern as they are silkies and at the bottom of the pecking order. I have 4 barred rocks. they have been in the coop for over a month seperated from the other girls. Yesterday they were let out to freerange with the older girls. It went okay. Last night I put them in nesting boxes to sleep. This morning its a lot of running and chasing. The young girls are around 12- 16 weeks. We can't remember exactly when we got them. I am thinking closer to the twelve but maybe more around 13 or 14 weeks. I am worried as we started with 5 barred rocks and one was killed. And the other times I tried putting them together there was a lot of feather pulling and some bleeding. So basically I am going down to the run like ever ten minutes to make sure everything is going okay and trying not to interfere. Is there anything I can do to make the process go a little smoother? The meanest of my hens is locked away and will be re-introduced once the babies are a little more established.
Sounds like you are doing everything you can. There's not much more to do other than keep your fingers crossed and keep an eye on the progress. The only thing I would have done differently is to have waited a bit longer before introducing the new birds. I like mine to be about 16 weeks old before I let them in with the big kids. If things go too poorly I will wait until 18, but that never happens. At 16 weeks they are about as big as they are going to get, so they can handle themselves.

Integrations are nerve-wracking. I cringe every time I contemplate them. I hate the fighting. I hate the "not knowing if it's going to work." I hate the occasional failure where a bird just can't fit into the flock no matter what you do. The whole thing makes me nuts. So I can sympathize. My best advice is to try to stay as uninvolved as possible because it will go much quicker that way. You have done all you can do to make this process work, so the rest is up to the flock.

Good luck.
Thanks. I actually would have liked to wait a little longer but we have a roo who is tearing the females apart and we need the enclosure to seperate him. And the enclosure was getting a little small for 4 almost full grown hens. I am afraid it may have been stunting their growth just a little.

I am very happy to report though that things are going great!! The babies have been bullied but nothing serious. They just stay out of the older girls way. I am a little concerned about lock down tonight though I may just put them to bed early again tonight and see how things are tomorrow before I make them stay completly cooped up with each other for a few hours before bed.

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