question on mixing in this years chicks with last years hens.

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by cortner1195, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chirping

    Jun 3, 2012
    I am awaiting the arrival of my new chicks. Once they are ready (feathered out), I want to add them to my existing hens. I was not successful at this last year. I built a partition in the coop, and put the feathered chicks behind the wire. The older ones kept trying to attack. I have now given all of that younger group away. They did eventually learn to share the coop, but never wandered together.

    Any advice would be much apreciated
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Some folks will tell you how to do this or that. Some folks say they have very little integration issues.

    Fact is, that even after a half century of watching chicken behaviors, I just don't even really try the whole integration thing until the "nubies" are the same size as the older hens. It needs to be a fair fight. The politics of the chicken's pecking order is sometimes brutal.

    1. Same or similar size/weight.
    2. Integrate outdoors where they can move freely about.
    3. Shake up the existing pecking order by taking out the lead hen.
    4. Roosters like new pullets, of age. They tend to help big time in integration as they are motivated to include new birds to their harem.

    While raising them, I like to grow out the young ones in their own pen. This just avoids all the stress and tensions until the eventual time comes. Birds brooded together form very, very strong bonds. Groups from differing brooders are often two different flocks and always will be, even if there is a kind of truce between them. Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2013
  3. gg706

    gg706 Songster

    Jul 5, 2011
    This thread is interesting to me as I am now raising chicks (4 weeks old) and am planning to integrate them with my 1 year old flock. The baby chicks are in a range pen all day and the free ranging 1 year old chickens come up to the pen and attempt to peck them through the wire. I have seperated the roost area with the baby chicks roosting at night on one side and the 1 year old flock roosting on the other side with a seperating fence. It does not seem to be helping. I am concerned when I mix them together there is going to be trouble! When the chicks are big enough I am planning on turning them out and having them free range together. What did you try with your first chicks?
  4. cortner1195

    cortner1195 Chirping

    Jun 3, 2012
    Thank you. I probably tried too soon. I will have to "hatch" a plan for pening them seperately.
    As I wrote earlier, I tried a partition at first. Then after a couple weeks i put them together. I ended up with stressed out chicks. From there they set a pecking order that ostrasized the younger birds. Looks lije I will wait longer to mix them together.
    Also, we got 6 roosters out of 14 pullets purchased. That means the four I have left have seen lot's of changes in the coop.
  5. Misstwixler

    Misstwixler In the Brooder

    Mar 13, 2013
    We picked up a grown chicken and tried to bring her into our flock and I was amazed at how the flock treated her. They literally turned their back on her, every single one of them. (picture below) but what we did was we kept the new chicken in our dog crate, she was used to free ranging so we let her out during the day and we'd bring two or three of the others out with her and just let them coexist in the back yard together. Soon they were able to be together (the older ones were still in our garage and the new was was still in the dog crate) and we built a coop and they all went into it fine. Now though, I just got new chicks and I'm really hoping the merging goes smooth.

  6. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Crowing

    Just keep doing what your doing, it takes a while. My chicks are in their grow out pen from the age of 5 weeks all the way up to 15 weeks old. I don't let them in with the older birds until they are the same size. By that time they have seen each other around for a long time, there have been some scuffles through the fence but everybody has had time to adjust and settle down. I have very minor pecking order scuffles at that point when they do finally mix. Peck on the shoulder or pull on the tail kind of stuff, that's it. The first time they mingle is when they are out on pasture with plenty of room. And as Fred's Hens said, a good, mature rooster really helps. If anybody starts to get too intense he walks over and calmly breaks them up and gives them the eyeball until they settle down.
  7. GasMenagerie

    GasMenagerie In the Brooder

    May 14, 2009
    California Foothills
    Yes! to the rooster. I introduced two bantam hens to my flock last year and while the big hens still don't let them have first dibs on things, he doesn't let things get out of hand and everyone is doing fine.

    I've not had a problem with a broodie's chicks at all - nothing says protection like a momma hen! - but this year I have five chicks that will need to be assimilated. I'm hoping my roo does his job!
  8. gg706

    gg706 Songster

    Jul 5, 2011
    I hope my rooster will help out the young pullets when the time comes. Thank You for the advice. I will just keep up the routine and hope as the chicks age everything will go halfway smooth. Thanks!
  9. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Songster

    Feb 28, 2013
    Thanks for posting this. I logged on with the express intention of researching this very topic.

    We have 6 girls from last spring. They are healthy, friendly, beautiful birds. This past fall we got 15 meaties and attempted to put them in the same run as my girls when they were feathered out, but still small, about 4 wks. It was disastrous. The meaties ended up pecked and bloodied. I had to partition the 25 x 6 run until we processed the meaties.

    Now we have 13 - 3 wk chicks. 5 RIR straights, 5 Amber Pullets and 3 Red Pullets. (don't ask how we got one extra, someone at TSC doesn't know how to count). I was planning on bringing them out into an adjacent but not accessible, to the other chickens run when they are about 8 wks and then integrate them into the coop at about 12 wks. But after reading this, perhaps I need to wait until they are bigger.

    Looking forward to reading more information on this topic.
  10. ellyn

    ellyn In the Brooder

    Jun 12, 2011
    HELP...any other thoughts? It sounds like waiting till they are bigger is the solution...but my little girls are 7 weeks old and they are outgrowing the kennel in the coop; but I don't trust my BIG girls (two years old). One of them who has been sweet/docile has become aggressive; she is even dominating a 2YO RR.
    They seem to be doing pretty good in the run during the day, but they don't mix. Chickens...always something new to learn and observe.

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