What age is good to introduce little ones to older hens

Shaunassy

Chirping
Apr 2, 2016
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I have six 12 week old ameracauna's and was wondering when is it safe to introduce them to my (6) year and a half and (4) 6month old hens. They have been in a 16x16 broody pen that is in the 100x60 ft fenced in area/run where they can be seen by but not touched by my older hens for atleast a month maybe more. The main run is plenty big to give them space and i can provide them with places to hide I just worry if they are big enough or not. Is it still to early?
 

Shaunassy

Chirping
Apr 2, 2016
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Oh wow thats so young, even without a mother hen you let the 4 week olds with the older hens? I thought if they were to little they would get pecked to death or something
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Most hens accept younger chicks into the flock as it's normal for them to show up, they don't know that they don't have a mom hen. Older birds are often seen as intruders and will get attacked.

Having plenty of space as well as spots where young chicks can duck under to get away can help things go more smoother. It's normal for the older hens to peck at chicks too close and the chicks scream pretty loud even though they aren't hurt. If you see chasing and cornering behaviors those are signs of trouble.

Make a smaller opening to the broody pen or prop up end of the fence up so only the chicks can fit, they quickly learn where it's safe. All initial mingling should be with you supervising to see how it's going and to separate them if it gets rough. Try the next day, until you feel comfortable with the interactions.
 

Shaunassy

Chirping
Apr 2, 2016
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Thanks oldhenlikesdogs,
Thats a great idea about proping the door just enough for the chicks to get through. Also what should i do about how they eat. All my layers eat layer pellets but i know 12 week old chicks shouldnt be eating that so would it be ok to have my older hens just eat chick starter or should i offer both?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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I feed both a non medicated grower to my bantams and a pellet all flock to my large breeds and don't actually feed a layer anymore. I put out a separate bowl of oyster shells for the added calcium needs of my laying hens.

I used to just switch everyone to the non medicated grower when I added chicks, than back to layer as everyone started laying, but I found out my birds do better on a higher protein ration because of the scratch and scraps I feed, so I made the permanent switch last year and am much happier with it. My birds are looking better, they molted quickly and laid better. I think on layer they were always a bit deficient and my roosters didn't live much past 4 years of age eating layer.
 

Shaunassy

Chirping
Apr 2, 2016
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Oh wow, thanks so much for all the advice:) Ill have to look into making the switch of the foods and see which i like better. Im so sorry about your roo:( I was always told it was ok for the roos to eat layer.
 

oldhenlikesdogs

I love September
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A grower is fine at that age.
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my large breed roosters always ate layer and died pretty young, my bantams never ate layer and the roosters live a normal lifespan, my oldest currently are 8. I thought maybe it was because they were bantam. Since switching off of layer my older rooster is still here and he looks and acts normal at age 5, before switching last year he looked to be at the end and I had expected him to go, but now he's back in the game. I recently had a 7 year old hen start laying again after quitting two years ago, I don't know if it's related to the food but sure seems to be. I have seen enough positives to never feed layer again. I think if layer is fed it should be the sole ration provided without extra stuff and should only be fed to hens who are actively laying, which the bags actually says. My hens consume more oyster shells so make sure to keep the bowl full.
 

Shaunassy

Chirping
Apr 2, 2016
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Awesome, I literally just bought a bag of chick starter yesterday though, so do you think it would be ok to let the adults just finish that off with the babies as long as i give them oyster shell until i can switch to grower?
 

MANNA-PRO

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