Mixing old and young hens...can it be done?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MinnesotaChick, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. MinnesotaChick

    MinnesotaChick Hatching

    Jul 23, 2007
    We are down to just 6 two year old laying hens, and we like them too much to get rid of them!! I would like to get a few chicks this spring, but I wonder if you can put them together at some point, and if they will get along. How old do the new pullets have to be before you would even consider trying to introduce them to the old girls?
  2. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    It can be done...I don't try tho until the younger ones are pretty much the same size as the old ones. I also pen them beforehand so that they can see each other before I put them together. There will be some pecking-order chasing going on but usually they settle down pretty quickly.
  3. silky ma

    silky ma Songster

    Sep 14, 2007
    Age depends upon chichen types and sizes.
    In the past I would put a separate pen next to the
    old pen and place the new little guys in it. Everyone can see each other. I made sure to feed, treat and talk to everyone in the same mannor. Before I knew it the old gals were very courious and eventually became nochulant about the newbies being arround. Then I would be there as I gradually released everyone togeather to forage. Any probs-I WOULD SEPARATE AND TRY IN TWO DAYS. It didnt take but a few days before all was well. You will see at this time a few newbies being put in their place as a pecking order is established.
    Just watch and make sure it doesnt get out of hand. Remember you are top bird so what you say goes. A small swat to a persnicky gal goes a long way.
  4. cknmom

    cknmom Songster

    Apr 10, 2007
    Dickson TN
    We have two older hens, they were given to us so I don't know how old. The peploe that gave them to us had them for several years though. We were given two chicks Oct. 06, we put them out with the hens and a roo when they were about 5-6mo. they didn't seem to have any problems.

  5. juliacale

    juliacale In the Brooder

    Oct 21, 2007
    I got my chicks back in september. I have kept them separated until about 2 weeks ago. The big ones can inflict real injury on the real little babies unless the mom is around to defend them. So, keep em separated until they are about6-8 weeks and then let them run with the big girls...there will be some henpecking but that is normal...
  6. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I raise the younguns up till about 3 months old in the grow pen. They are then forced to sleep with the big girls. Thing is though, they all free range together starting as soon as 3 weeks old, and there is plenty of space so there is a rare fight until the day they are forced to sleep in the same coop. With tough love, they stop cowering from corners and will eat with the others in a few weeks. They are free ranged as far as they want to go so this may not work if you have to keep them penned.
  7. HenHaven

    HenHaven Songster

    Mar 3, 2007
    Coarsegold, CA
    I have integrated younger chickens several times. It seems to work well if they can see each other for awhile before putting them together. I waited until the newbies were at least half-grown. The easiest time I had was introducing several at once. It seemed to spread the pecking around and there wasn't just one or two birds to focus and pick on.

    I agree that if you free-range, that is a great way to introduce newbies. They have lots of room to distance themselves if need be.

    I plan to rotate new girls in every season, so I don't have my whole flock molting at the same time. That way I can also raise a few chicks each spring, which is so much fun!
  8. skeeter

    skeeter Songster

    Nov 19, 2007
    Parma Idaho
    my RIR roo tore into one of my 5 w/o chicks today,I told my boy we may just have to eat that rooster,lol

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