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Mixing new chicks with older pullets/ laying hens?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Noymira, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Hi everyone!

    We have 8 day-old chicks coming at the end of April and are very excited about them (a mix of rhode island reds and whites, new hampshire reds and plymouth barred rocks). I know it will be fall before we get any eggs from those babies.

    I was wondering if we could also get (once our coop is finished) some ready to lay pullets, or already laying hens, so we can have eggs this spring/summer?

    If so how would we integrate them? I'm guessing we'd try to get 3-5 pullets/hens in addition to the 8 new chicks.

    Would it work to get the older birds and put them in the coop first to get established, then introduce the babies? OR put the new babies in first then introduce the older birds? OR is this altogether a bad idea?

    Any opinions, tips, experiences would be great!

    Thanks! -Amanda
     
  2. BeardedLadyFarm

    BeardedLadyFarm Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 31, 2009
    Cobleskill NY
    It's totally possible. I would let your youngsters get settled in and get a little bigger before introducing more mature birds. If the young birds out number the more mature birds, and have a better feel for their coop and run and yard, then they will be fine. A lot depends on individuals, and how much room they have to escape each other.

    You will want to quarantine the mature birds for several weeks. I also like to then make a temporary introduction cage so they can see each other before having access to each other. I have birds of all sizes and ages running together without issue.
     
  3. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

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    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
  4. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Thank you both for the replies!

    For the quarantine process, is that just so they adjust slowly or is it for health reasons as well? If so, how far away is enough for health reasons? What if I find hens from a trusted source?

    I could easily section off part of the run we are planning, but I'm more concerned about integrating in the coop, would a corner sectioned off be enough or do they need to be in a different building?

    Thanks! -Amanda
     
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    "Trusted source" is not the issue, really. Where those chickens live now, there may be things they have developed an immunity to, and are carriers. They're fine. They come over to your flock, especially one of youngsters, and those youngsters may not have developed an immunity to what the older birds may be carrying. Something like coccidia, or respiratory illnesses, or whatever. Some things are airborne, so quarantine quarters should be away from your coop and run.

    The PURE way to quarantine is to put one of your chickens in with the others and see if it stays healthy. I have never done this... doesn't mean it shouldn't have been done. I was lucky.

    Also, integration really should be with birds of fairly similar sizes, so your chicks should be at least 16 weeks old before you put mature birds with them.
     
  6. Noymira

    Noymira Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 9, 2011
    Chittenden County, VT
    Quote:If I wait and get some laying hens when my chicks are about 12 weeks, and keep the hens quarantined in another shed for 4 weeks, how much room and cover will they need for that period? It will be June by the time my chicks are old enough to go out to the coop, so it will be 50-70 degrees during the day and 40-50 degrees at night. I could rig a temporary home for a few hens, but it wouldn't be too fancy and run space would be limited.
     
  7. Alas

    Alas Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 12, 2011
    Covington, LA
    I have standards and Bantams all together right now. They are all anywhere from 1-3 weeks old. I've heard that some breeds are more aggressive than others, but I have 5 types of standards and a mix of bantams and no one is having issues. Just keep an eye on them and if anyone starts to look bullied you may have to move them.
     

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