When to put chicks with older hens?


5 Years
Sep 23, 2014
We have 3 2-week-old chicks and 3 5-month-old hens. When is the best time to introduce them? The babies are still inside with a heat lamp, but will it be okay to put them together in the same coop when the time comes for them to go outside? Our coop is large (4' W x 10' L x 6' H) so there's plenty of room. We've never put hens of different ages together so not sure the best way to proceed.
I'd let get all there feathers in first ( a month old). Just my opinion. And wean them off the heat lamp. When you bring them out to the coop maybe use a pet crate or cage for them for a while keep the introduction slow and safe.
Integrating newbies into small flocks can be difficult. When your young birds are about 4 weeks old you would be very wise to fence in an area for them, or fence off part of the run, where they can spend their days next to the older birds but protected by the fence. If you just pop these young birds in with the older ones when they are only 4 weeks old you could easily have dead youngsters. Chickens HATE newcomers and they can be brutal. I don't integrate new young birds until they are the same size as the older ones, 10 to 12 weeks old, so they can better protect themselves. They move out to their grow-out pen next to the older birds at 5 weeks old but they don't go out to range with the older ones until 10-12 weeks. By that time everybody has had time to settle down and get used to each other and pecking order scuffles are very minimal. The slower you take integration the easier and less stressful it is on everybody, including you!
This is how I do it:
1. If its warm outside: around 80°F. Take the chicks outside when they are roughly 3 weeks for short trips so they can get use to being outside. Supervise them outside for a little each day.
2. Once they're 4 weeks old take them out to meet the older hens from the other side of the fence. Do this for short trips (up to 10 minutes) for three days.
NOTE: if any aggression is shown by the older hens add three more days before step 3. Let them get use to each other.
3. Move the chicks into the coop into their own pen like an old dog crate. Make sure its nothing they can escape from or the older hens can get in to.
4. I usually keep the chicks in the coop separated until they are 8 weeks (two weeks)
5. Open up they're cage so they can go in and out. Or make them a different type of "safe zone" for them to escape the other hens.

They'll work out there own pecking order so a little pecking between the girls is normal just keep an eye out for any blood.

I've done this with three batches of chicks all at different times it's always worked good for me.
Hope it helped! :)
My buff Orpington chicken, Suzie hatched 2 beautiful babies on May 10, 2014. I learned she takes care of them for 5 weeks then ditches them. Ever since the babies have been on their own. They wouldn't let them come into the coop at night. I wasn't too worried as it has been warm but now fall is coming and it's cool. The chickens have let 1 go inside but makes the other stay out. What do I do?

I have thrown them in later but they make lots of noise and push her out. Still don't know if my babies are boys or girls. Any suggestions are appreciated.
I just went through this with my chicks. They are two weeks apart but the first bunch are a different breed and seemed to develop a lot faster. I put the big chicks out and put up a small piece of leftover hardware cloth to give separation and protection. Within minutes of putting the small chicks out, they climbed up the hardware cloth and jumped over to the side with the big girls. They were all fine and running around together.

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