Merging flocks


In the Brooder
9 Years
May 10, 2010
Pleasantville, NY
I have searched this forum for advice and can't seem to find anything that pertains to my situation. I have a broody hen raising four chicks (2 silkies, 2 standard) in one corner of the run that is separated by hardware cloth. The chicks are now 4 weeks old and their adopted australorp momma is doing a great job. In the rest of the run I have four 2-yr old hens. I'm trying to figure out how and when to combine the two flocks. I know the bigger the chicks are the better, but two of them are bantams so they'll always be smaller.

How long can a full size hen and four chicks manage in a 4' by 4' area? How much of a difference will it make once we merge that the chicks have a momma hen looking out for them? Any other advice?

Thank you in advance!
You can let them out with the rest of the flock now. Mom will protect her babies, but keep an eye anyway. The bigger ones may bully them a bit at first.
I let both groups out to free range together for the last hour or two of daylight today and it went pretty well. There was one altercation between the momma hen and another full grown hen but I was able to separate them and they cooled off. Momma tried to get the little ones up the ramp into the hen house when it started getting dark but they wouldn't go, so the five of them are snuggled in the nesting box in the run, where they've been sleeping for the last four weeks. The only difference is that the door to their corner of the run is now open so in the morning there could be fireworks. I'm pretty nervous about it, but I'm willing to trust in the process. Wish me luck!
hope it goes smoothly. when i was merging 5 young ones w/ 4 older (not the same situation as yours), it went surprisingly smooth. i was expecting more "fireworks" as you called it.
Wow, I went out first thing this morning to check on them and everyone is peacefully coexisting. Amazing! Australorps make great mothers!! It's too funny to see her with her babies who look nothing like her - black hen momma with babies who are white, grey, brown, and yellow. I know my kids are sad they didn't get to play with the chicks but it was totally worth it. Thanks for all the advice, this forum is a fantastic resource!

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