Whennto let new chicks free range in the garden?

Gembeag

Songster
May 16, 2015
103
14
106
Shropshire, UK
F140D4C2-315D-417C-B266-B2D99E412130.jpeg
Hi all,
It’s been ages since I posted, sorry. We recently one of our hens and now have only one. She is a 41/2 year old ‘ginger’ called Winnie. On Saturday we picked up two 18 week olds, a Light Sussex and a Bluebell. They are gorgeous. Winnie is not liking the newbies and is being very dominant. I’m after advice and reassurance that they will all be ok and also how do I introduce Pearl and Betti Blue to free-ranging in our acre sized garden? Thanks.x
 

Mvan42

Crowing
Mar 15, 2019
2,258
4,749
356
Garrett County, Maryland
They should be ok. some would suggest a see no touch to introduce the new girls for a few days to a week. After they get the pecking order figured out they should be fine. As for free ranging they should be just fine there also at 4 1/2 months, some of mine just turned 4 months and have been free ranging for a while. (we normally let them all out in the evenings only)
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,140
12,016
636
western South Dakota
Even if they are still a bit combative, the urge to stick together is strong. I assume you are worried that if let out, they will not return to the coop/run. Once mine have roosted for a night or two on their own in the coop, I let mine out. They always have come back with the others.

If you are quite nervous, get a colored container, plastic makes the most noise, put a treat in it, shake it and call them, even if they are at your feet. Toss down the treat. Do this two or three times, and then let them out, let them get a ways away from the coop, and call them back, with a treat in the run. You should be golden.

You can also always herd your chickens into the run with a long stick. Just walk out away from the coop, until you have most of the chickens between you and the coop. Extend both arms, and tap the ground saying "Hut, Hut, Hut" or some other word and take two steps. The chickens will move naturally away from you towards the coop. This is a true case of slow is fast. You stop moving, and don't move again, until the chickens stop moving away from you. You want the chickens movement to be relaxed, just a little uncomfortable. When they stop, you take two steps, call out and wait.

Eventually you will get to the coop. And they will mostly go in. Have a treat, just in the door, a little pile, not enough, and a bigger one a little farther in. If a chick gets by you, ignore it, the urge to be with the rest, and the idea that they are eating up all the treats will be enough to bring it on the run, after you leave the coop, and circle around behind it.

Hope that helps.
Mrs K
 

Gembeag

Songster
May 16, 2015
103
14
106
Shropshire, UK
They should be ok. some would suggest a see no touch to introduce the new girls for a few days to a week. After they get the pecking order figured out they should be fine. As for free ranging they should be just fine there also at 4 1/2 months, some of mine just turned 4 months and have been free ranging for a while. (we normally let them all out in the evenings only)
 

Gembeag

Songster
May 16, 2015
103
14
106
Shropshire, UK
Thankyou. I let them out for a while yesterday evening. They were quite nervy and didn’t wander far. We herded them back in rather than leave them to do it. I will leave them longer this evening. Thanks for your help.
We put all 3 together last night, Winnie is backing them into a corner and pecking at them. They are terrified of her. Will this last long?
 

Gembeag

Songster
May 16, 2015
103
14
106
Shropshire, UK
Even if they are still a bit combative, the urge to stick together is strong. I assume you are worried that if let out, they will not return to the coop/run. Once mine have roosted for a night or two on their own in the coop, I let mine out. They always have come back with the others.

If you are quite nervous, get a colored container, plastic makes the most noise, put a treat in it, shake it and call them, even if they are at your feet. Toss down the treat. Do this two or three times, and then let them out, let them get a ways away from the coop, and call them back, with a treat in the run. You should be golden.

You can also always herd your chickens into the run with a long stick. Just walk out away from the coop, until you have most of the chickens between you and the coop. Extend both arms, and tap the ground saying "Hut, Hut, Hut" or some other word and take two steps. The chickens will move naturally away from you towards the coop. This is a true case of slow is fast. You stop moving, and don't move again, until the chickens stop moving away from you. You want the chickens movement to be relaxed, just a little uncomfortable. When they stop, you take two steps, call out and wait.

Eventually you will get to the coop. And they will mostly go in. Have a treat, just in the door, a little pile, not enough, and a bigger one a little farther in. If a chick gets by you, ignore it, the urge to be with the rest, and the idea that they are eating up all the treats will be enough to bring it on the run, after you leave the coop, and circle around behind it.

Hope
Even if they are still a bit combative, the urge to stick together is strong. I assume you are worried that if let out, they will not return to the coop/run. Once mine have roosted for a night or two on their own in the coop, I let mine out. They always have come back with the others.

If you are quite nervous, get a colored container, plastic makes the most noise, put a treat in it, shake it and call them, even if they are at your feet. Toss down the treat. Do this two or three times, and then let them out, let them get a ways away from the coop, and call them back, with a treat in the run. You should be golden.

You can also always herd your chickens into the run with a long stick. Just walk out away from the coop, until you have most of the chickens between you and the coop. Extend both arms, and tap the ground saying "Hut, Hut, Hut" or some other word and take two steps. The chickens will move naturally away from you towards the coop. This is a true case of slow is fast. You stop moving, and don't move again, until the chickens stop moving away from you. You want the chickens movement to be relaxed, just a little uncomfortable. When they stop, you take two steps, call out and wait.

Eventually you will get to the coop. And they will mostly go in. Have a treat, just in the door, a little pile, not enough, and a bigger one a little farther in. If a chick gets by you, ignore it, the urge to be with the rest, and the idea that they are eating up all the treats will be enough to bring it on the run, after you leave the coop, and circle around behind it.

Hope that helps.
Mrs K
 

Gembeag

Songster
May 16, 2015
103
14
106
Shropshire, UK
Thankyou. I let them out for a while yesterday evening. They were quite nervy and didn’t wander far. We herded them back in rather than leave them to do it. I will leave them longer this evening. Thanks for your help.
We put all 3 together last night, Winnie is backing them into a corner and pecking at them. They are terrified of her. Will this last long?
 

Mvan42

Crowing
Mar 15, 2019
2,258
4,749
356
Garrett County, Maryland
Thankyou. I let them out for a while yesterday evening. They were quite nervy and didn’t wander far. We herded them back in rather than leave them to do it. I will leave them longer this evening. Thanks for your help.
We put all 3 together last night, Winnie is backing them into a corner and pecking at them. They are terrified of her. Will this last long?
As long as she isn’t hurting them(drawing blood etc). It should stop with in a few weeks to a month. They will get use to each other and once the pecking order is established. She is showing them who is boss of the coop. :)
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
97,796
134,272
1,807
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
On Saturday we picked up two 18 week olds,
We put all 3 together last night, Winnie is backing them into a corner and pecking at them. They are terrified of her. Will this last long?
Might be too soon...risky to rush integration.
How big is your coop, in feet by feet(or meters by meters)?
Lots of space makes integration go much smoother, the newbs need to be able to get 4-6 feet away from the existing bird(s).


Here's some tips about....
Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

The more space, the better.
Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

Places for the new birds to hide 'out of line of sight'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
9,140
12,016
636
western South Dakota
You might tape up a piece a cardboard on the roost, dividing it in two parts. This will allow a little hideout on the roost, which can help. Out of sight, out of mind for chickens.

Mrs K
 

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