When to add new pullets?

Chickeng1rl567

Chirping
May 26, 2020
55
219
81
Michigan
I have 3 pullets that are two and halfish months old. I have an older flock of 5 hens we’ve had for a couple of years now. When we let them have supervised time together free ranging in the yard, the younger birds are often pecked and chased. When is the right time to put them with each other full time?
938E32D7-40F6-4A3A-8462-DC2453E03E6E.jpeg
big hens^
B33069D6-B1F7-4A4B-BDEC-A789042AD9DC.jpeg
Pullets^
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,274
12,432
636
western South Dakota
Now is a good time. I am not a big brooder fan, so I get mine out ASAP. But a lot depends on your set up. So before you do it, take a look at your run area, are there some hide outs, some places where a bird can get out of sight of other birds. That will really help. Set up two feeders, and place them so while eating at one station, a bird can't see birds at another station, even a 3rd station can be helpful so that everyone gets something to eat.

Then is you can add a lower roost, off to the side in your coop. Some coops you can do that, some you cant. Another trick is to tape cardboard so that it divides the roost into two parts, so that a bird on one side of the cardboard cannot reach a bird on the other side.

But I think the most important is to pull your established flock out of the set up, and lock the new birds inside the set up. Some people put the older birds in the brooder, some people just lock them out in the yard. This lets the new birds explore the area without being chased and pecked. It sounds crazy, but I think it is helpful for the old birds to see the new birds in the set up. Let the old birds in as close to dark as possible. The urge to roost is generally stronger than the urge to fight.

But mostly just do it, and get it over with, the less you interfere, the better. Each time you separate them, you basically start over. Some people get a good powered squirt gun, and sit out there, and when an oldy chases a newbie, they get squirted. If there is no blood let them be to work it out. That is were a hideout is nice.

And lastly, often times there is one or two bullies, that won't give it up. If so, put them in the brooder box, and let the rest figure it out. When they are pretty calm after 3-5 days, then try the bully back in.

Mrs K
 

Chickeng1rl567

Chirping
May 26, 2020
55
219
81
Michigan
Now is a good time. I am not a big brooder fan, so I get mine out ASAP. But a lot depends on your set up. So before you do it, take a look at your run area, are there some hide outs, some places where a bird can get out of sight of other birds. That will really help. Set up two feeders, and place them so while eating at one station, a bird can't see birds at another station, even a 3rd station can be helpful so that everyone gets something to eat.

Then is you can add a lower roost, off to the side in your coop. Some coops you can do that, some you cant. Another trick is to tape cardboard so that it divides the roost into two parts, so that a bird on one side of the cardboard cannot reach a bird on the other side.

But I think the most important is to pull your established flock out of the set up, and lock the new birds inside the set up. Some people put the older birds in the brooder, some people just lock them out in the yard. This lets the new birds explore the area without being chased and pecked. It sounds crazy, but I think it is helpful for the old birds to see the new birds in the set up. Let the old birds in as close to dark as possible. The urge to roost is generally stronger than the urge to fight.

But mostly just do it, and get it over with, the less you interfere, the better. Each time you separate them, you basically start over. Some people get a good powered squirt gun, and sit out there, and when an oldy chases a newbie, they get squirted. If there is no blood let them be to work it out. That is were a hideout is nice.

And lastly, often times there is one or two bullies, that won't give it up. If so, put them in the brooder box, and let the rest figure it out. When they are pretty calm after 3-5 days, then try the bully back in.

Mrs K
How will I get them to eat the correct food? I’m worried that the pullets will eat the layer feed, or the hens will eat the chick feed. The big hens LOVE the chick feed for some reason and I don’t want them to stop eating the calcium that they need. I’ve heard of getting a mixed flock feed, would that be a good option?
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
747
1,077
198
Central Virginia
How will I get them to eat the correct food? I’m worried that the pullets will eat the layer feed, or the hens will eat the chick feed. The big hens LOVE the chick feed for some reason and I don’t want them to stop eating the calcium that they need. I’ve heard of getting a mixed flock feed, would that be a good option?
The way I figure, more than half the year:
- you have chicks
- you have hens not laying due to daylight hours
- you have hens not laying due to molt (and this can be months and months of the year if you look at all the times any single hen is molting)
- You have a broody
- You might have a roo

I just see no reason to buy layer feed when any given day one of these factors could be impacting the flock and layer feed would negatively impact at least one bird. This is why I don’t even consider any feed but the most recent mill date Flock Raiser (any brand) with a can of oyster shell always present.
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
747
1,077
198
Central Virginia
I have 3 pullets that are two and halfish months old. I have an older flock of 5 hens we’ve had for a couple of years now. When we let them have supervised time together free ranging in the yard, the younger birds are often pecked and chased. When is the right time to put them with each other full time?
View attachment 2161234 big hens^
View attachment 2161235 Pullets^


try this sized appropriately. It’s easier how I do it which is integrate at 16-20 days old as the size difference is obviously much greater.
 

Doc7

Songster
May 12, 2018
747
1,077
198
Central Virginia
All flock is good for chicks from day one? @Doc7

i feed 5 lb bag of Medicated chick starter at first (my chicks are separated from hens by hardware cloth) then switch to flock raiser crumble after that. If I was raising with a broody I would have the entire flock on flock raiser crumble, day 1 yes. There’s no other way to feed the chicks something separate and there is a ton of anecdotal comments on this message board from well respected posters such as @Ridgerunner that it is fine
 

rosemarythyme

Scarborough Fair
5 Years
Jul 3, 2016
17,077
33,532
1,062
WA, Pac NW
My Coop
My Coop
try this sized appropriately. It’s easier how I do it which is integrate at 16-20 days old as the size difference is obviously much greater.

Might be very difficult to scale a panic door set up to fit only the pullets and not the hens (unless they're all very fat hens) in this case. I feel that by around 8 weeks or so they're too big for it (I say 8 weeks, because that's when I see young pullets really struggling to not get stuck while trying to squeeze under the fence!)

All flock is good for chicks from day one? @Doc7

"All flock" goes by a variety of names... the one I use is called hatch-to-hen. Pretty appropriate description!
 

Tre3hugger

Let Your Freak Flag Fly
Mar 21, 2020
2,926
9,518
506
NW Massachusetts
i feed 5 lb bag of Medicated chick starter at first (my chicks are separated from hens by hardware cloth) then switch to flock raiser crumble after that. If I was raising with a broody I would have the entire flock on flock raiser crumble, day 1 yes. There’s no other way to feed the chicks something separate and there is a ton of anecdotal comments on this message board from well respected posters such as @Ridgerunner that it is fine
Cool thanks for the info!
 

MANNA-PRO

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