Trying for an early integration of older pullets and new chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by perrypogue, Nov 20, 2015.

  1. perrypogue

    perrypogue In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    I've got 9 RIR 6 month old pullets and one rooster that was raised with them.

    I've got a 12 x 12 coop ... so pretty roomy.

    Yesterday I received the 12 new RIR chicks plus a surprise 7 additional free Rocks ...

    Today I put a volunteer chick out in the main coop ... alone. I thought if they kill this one I'll at least protect the others. After about 45 minutes the volunteer had received some pecks but none that brought blood. That's when I dug the tunnel and showed him the way back to the other chicks. It also showed all the chicks the way into the coop. I have it sheltered with an over turned scoop.

    What I'm seeing now ... about 5 hours later is the chicks are very curious about the main coop but stay near the tunnel and their food, water and heat. The older girls seem maybe a little puzzled by these new creatures. They seem to prefer outside ... free ranging more today.

    Obviously, I'm curious to see how this progresses. If all goes well I should be able to fully integrate in a few weeks. That would be great to be able to tear out the partitioned off area made just for the chicks.

  2. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Don't push your luck. You've beat the odds so far, but I sure wouldn't want to see any "volunteers" killed or maimed.

    You don't mention how old the new chicks are. If they're three weeks old, then they're old enough to be able to assess the danger of older chickens. Under three weeks, and they generally will be trusting that older chickens might be okay. Because of this, chicks need protecting during these first few weeks.

    The safest method of integrating new members into the flock is to raise them within view of the adults but separate and safe. During these first few weeks, the adults will come to consider the new chicks members of the flock. Then at three weeks, you can allow the chicks access to the rest of the run but provide a safe pen with chick-size holes so the adults can't get into their safe pen.

    No chicks are injured with this safer method and you can still have full integration by three weeks and the chicks can move into the coop around five weeks.
  3. perrypogue

    perrypogue In the Brooder

    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    Thank you very much.

    I did have 2 killed this morning so I've covered the tunnel and it's back to full protection. They do have only chicken wire between them on one side. However, you've helped me get a new plan ... I'll reopen the tunnel in 3 weeks.

    I can also allow them entrance to the run (12 x 24) while blocking the older girls from the run ... they can free range.

    I tried this failure on the 2nd day I had the chicks. I see now that letting them get to know each other for 3 weeks is just smarter ... I don't mean to sound callous but I did receive 7 more chicks than I wanted. This gives me a current count of 26 pullets ... 9 are older.

    I need to sell these eggs and I'm just not sure about my market. I'll know more about it within a month as I've just started an ad (the only one like it) in my local paper. If the market just isn't there I've got too many already.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Can you post pic of 'tunnel'?

    Agrees to wait 2-3 weeks.

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