Put 12 week old chicks in with year-old hens...Mistake??

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by mags2009, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. mags2009

    mags2009 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 8, 2009
    Wisconsin
    Today I put our 12 week old Blue Ameracauna and Black Copper Marans Chicks in with our year-old hens. They had seen each other for over a month between our covered run, and the free range run. I was able to supervise all day today as I was in the garden. A little pecking here and there, but nothing significant. So when nightfall came, the chicks wanted to go into the coop, but were afraid. The big girls were already on their roosts. I put them in the coop, and closed the door. I looked later, and a few were in the nesting boxes [​IMG]! and one, our splash Ameracauna, was on the high roost with the girls!! She was getting pecked a little, but she stayed up there! I opened the chicken door, so they can run out if they so choose. Do you think things will work out? We had the chicks in a pen in our garage, but wanted them to try to integrate before fall...Thanks for your input!
     
  2. jeslewmazer

    jeslewmazer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2009
    Mississippi
    It could go good or bad. If they are too much smaller than the older hens then it could spell disaster. It will depends on the older hens. Some hens will except all sizes and ages, yet others won't. I would watch closely for at least a week and make sure there is plenty of food and water in various spots so that the younger ones have opportunity to eat and drink. Make sure they have plenty of room too.
     
  3. Kittymomma

    Kittymomma Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 9, 2009
    Olympia, WA
    At 12 weeks old and having things go pretty well today I think they'll be fine. Mine always are a bit leary of going to bed in the big girl house too and will often try sleeping in the nest boxes as well. I don't like them to get into that habbit so I go in after dark and put them on the roost.

    The trick is to have plenty of roost space and then a little extra. I find the youngsters will usually roost together for the first few months and then the more dominant of them will challenge the older hens for the prime spots. As long as there is plenty of room in the run/coop so they can steer clear of any bullies and plenty of roost space they'll be fine. Congrats on a succesfull introduction!

    [​IMG]

    ETA: jeslewmazer makes a really good point about being sure you have an extra feed/water station or two. That one little step can really cut down on potential confrontations and will keep the youngsters from getting too stressed if one or two of the older group decides to gaurd the feed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  4. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 23, 2009
    DFW
    I have been integrating my six 12 week olds with my 3 adult hens at night in my summer coop/run, and for part of the afternoon. In the morning, I have them in separate pens tractors because I want to make sure the youngsters are able to eat freely, and I also have an extra tractor anyway.

    The adults chase the youngsters a little, but nothing serious. I'm keeping an eye on it, though, because as the youngsters reach their full maturity I do expect pecking order tussles to break out.
     

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