My chicks are tweens... when do I let them hang with the big girls and rooster?

unskilledRooster

In the Brooder
Aug 30, 2021
8
35
36
I adopted my chicks July 24, they were a couple weeks old, I didn't think to ask. I raised them in the house, in a lrge dog kennel for about 4 weeks. I moved them to an enclosed area with a dirt floor, bugs and other stuff to eat besides their chick food. Last week, I added a temporary fenced area for them to hang out in, eat grass and chase bugs. This included an old strawberry patch. Yesterday, I gave them more room to roam. The older hens and rooster free range and they have come by the enclosure, but neither generation paid much attention to the other.

My coop is designed so I can isolate the chicks in an area with a roost and nesting box, with a separate door and grazing area. I am hanging bird nets over the grazing area for protection from Ravens and hawks (but have noticed the chicks will squawk and freeze when they see one in the area. then all 4 will run into safety) I plan on moving the chicks to this isolated area, in th next few days, the older hens will be able to hear them and see them through chicken wire.

How long should the chicks stay in that isolated area? After a period of time should I let one older hens into that enclosure or just open the gate and let them mingle at will.

I live at 2660 feet and nights are starting to cool off and I will need these chicks to integrate into the flock for the late fall and winter.
 

nuthatched

Fishin' for Chickens
Nov 9, 2019
4,385
9,364
486
Rim Country, Az
How big are they compared to the big girls? The only thing I can think of is if the rooster doesn't have nice manners and try to mate them and hurt them.
 

Tonyroo

Free Ranging
Mar 29, 2020
2,888
6,939
571
N. California
You might have luck letting the older hen mingle with them but she will also try to harass them. So make time for yourself to observe both groups mingling. You probably will need to intervene.
 

Lizzy733

Crowing
Nov 13, 2018
1,015
1,801
251
New Zealand
Are they in clear sight of the adults at all times?

See how they behave if you put treats down on both sides of the fence so they're eating somewhat togetherish.

Try free ranging the chicks with an adult or two at a time and be ready to step in if the adult turns feral. Once again, see how they act sharing treats. This is good for IDing any 'problematic' flock members so you know who to look out for. Also, you can then isolate the bully if it's only one or two troublemakers.

Have you ever integrated young before? With my flock, they were nicer the second time around. I've always had a broody backing them up and she's a tiny bamf of a mom, even if her fluffy poof means she can't see where she's going.

On her first day out with the babies, she attacked our head hen (and her brood-sister) for getting too close. It was so uncharacteristic you could even see the confusion on head girl's face. She wasn't even there to start trouble.
 

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