Questions about integrating 3 month olds


In the Brooder
11 Years
Mar 17, 2008
Hi all -

I have 7, three month old chickens, who for the last week I've put in a sectioned off area in the chicken yard during the day so my existing 6, 3 year old hens can see them. I put the young ones back in the garage at night. What I'm wondering is - how long do I keep doing this - putting them out during the day, putting them in at night?

Do I allow some mingling between the chickens under supervision for an hour or so at a time?

Is it a good idea to put the young ones into the henhouse at night? Someone told me to put them in the nesting box during the night.....

If I let the two flocks mingle - what do I do about the food? I have the young ones on a starter/growth, and I know they shouldn't be eating the layer... so how do I not get them to eat it?

Sorry for so many questions - just not sure how to proceed....

Thanks for your help.
No worries, there will be a lot of advice on integration. Here is my experience: I had my younger flock of 3 mingling with my older flock of 3 in "free range" territory for a couple months before I tried to house them together at about the age of 5-6 months, or when they were pretty close to the same size as my big girls. One of the 3 younger ones did great on my first assimilation attempt, the other two needed more time. They wouldn't go up to perch, they looked really stressed and scared, so I kept those two separate for an extra month, still free ranging together, but not housed together. Then I tried it again, and it worked just fine. Everybody is assimilating well. I still have a couple older bossy hens, but nobody is looking really stressed or intimidated anymore. It was a success by my measure.


I am doing the same technique with a group of 4- 3-4 month olds. They free range together with my big girls. I see them get a peck now and then, but nobody gets injured. We're always supervising the little ones. In a couple months, I will sneak them into the big coop, and see how it goes, and decide my gameplan from there. Feathers I'm okay with, blood is where I draw the line. I understand there is a "pecking order" that needs to be established. But I won't let anybody get abused.
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Oh, about the food... if you are doing "medicated" chick food, you can discontinue that, because you don't want your layers eating the medicated stuff. But it doesn't hurt them to eat non medicated chick food, and it doesn't hurt your babies to have layer food, if they choose to mix up the food bowls. Make sure to put in an extra food/water dish for your babies, so the older hens don't block the babies from eating and drinking.

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