Very important integrating decision... Please help!

Chicky Crazy

6 Years
Feb 27, 2013
Yesterday one of my four 2yr old hens, the dominant hen, was butchered. Later that after noon I put my four 15wk old chicks in a pen, and let the old hens out in the yard. They barely noticed each other. They would glance at the chicks then continue foraging. Today I did more integrating, and one of the chicks escaped the pen but I caught her in less then a minute. I don't even think the big girls noticed. I'm wondering if I should let ALL the chickens roam around the yard together before the big girls decide who's the leader. Is this a good idea or not?


10 Years
Mar 24, 2009
California, central valley
You could just give it a try and see how it goes. I find integration easist and least stressful on all involved if young/new birds have been penned alongside the older flock for a few weeks so that everybody has had time to get used to each other, settle down, and work out some pecking issues through the fence. Everybody stays safe and it all goes that much easier when they do get out together. But in your case, your young birds are a good age and size, I'd just let them out and watch. It's when you try to get them all into the coop together that your older hens are likely to get territorial about roost space etc. and fights may break out.

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