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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm introducing about 20 x 7 week old chicks to our three older birds (14 week olds). Is it best to do this slowly like in groups of five to ten or should I just partition the coop for a few days with the new chicks on one side? What's would be the best way for this kind of situation?
 

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I'd partition it off and let them view one another for a week and then blend them all at once. The older gals will be outnumbered by that mass of youngsters and so won't be inclined to single out certain birds for discipline. You might provide two feeders so that they can spread out at feeding times because that is when it's going to get fractious.

After a few days they will work it all out and the younger birds will learn to avoid the older gals. If you free range, that is the perfect opportunity for the actual blending of the two groups.

I've always free ranged, so I've never done the show and not touch routine for integration...I just turn out the new birds on the range with the older bunch and let nature happen. I've never seen any injury result from this method and all establish their respective orders in the flock without any squabbling except around the feeder.
 

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I just added 3 new hens to my existing three. 2 full size reds and a bantam red added to 2 full size reds and a silkie. I just put the new girls in the coop for an hour or so while the existing hens free ranged. After an hour I opened the coop. The existing hens kicked the new girls out but at dusk they all went in to roost. Only squabbling is when it's feeding time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Bee said:
I'd partition it off and let them view one another for a week and then blend them all at once. The older gals will be outnumbered by that mass of youngsters and so won't be inclined to single out certain birds for discipline. You might provide two feeders so that they can spread out at feeding times because that is when it's going to get fractious.

After a few days they will work it all out and the younger birds will learn to avoid the older gals. If you free range, that is the perfect opportunity for the actual blending of the two groups.

I've always free ranged, so I've never done the show and not touch routine for integration...I just turn out the new birds on the range with the older bunch and let nature happen. I've never seen any injury result from this method and all establish their respective orders in the flock without any squabbling except around the feeder.
I'd love to free range my flock and we have nice space and areas for them to hide, however I don't have a mature rooster to be on guard duty yet. My oldest birds are only 12 weeks. At what age can I trust my Roos to do their job?
 

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I'm in the process of adding 5 new hens to my 6 older girls. I have 6 moyers who are about a year and a half. I recently got 2 buff Orpington(6 weeks) 1 Rhode Island Red (6 weeks), and 2 white leghorns (9 weeks) as of right now I've got the new girls in a separate coop and run with the only thing separating them is chicken wire. I'll give that a week and then let them free range together before combining them in the coop
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
FlaCummins said:
My chickens range from 5 months to 1 1/2 years old and they free range everyday without a rooster.
Usually when there is no roo, a mature hen will keep the role of matriarch/guard of the flock. I don't have either-a mature hen or mature rooster. I don't trust babies to be out there by themselves and know how to protect themselves. So I was just wondering around what age can I start to expect a chicken (hen or roo) to fill that role.
 

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I'd love to free range my flock and we have nice space and areas for them to hide, however I don't have a mature rooster to be on guard duty yet. My oldest birds are only 12 weeks. At what age can I trust my Roos to do their job?
I have four youngsters who are almost 16 wks and have been free ranging in their own group since 2 wks. They range in a completely different area as the rest of my flock~by choice~and are never really near enough to the older flock to hear or see the rooster.

They are the wariest bunch of chickens I've ever known and cannot be approached unless it's feeding time, when they will come up to the coop. Most of the time they stay completely away, down in the woods and come out in their own little meadow to forage.

They have a big tree they live under and they fade into the honeysuckle tangle all around when I go peek at them. Right now they have gained one older hen who got confused after her brooding produced no chicks, so she sort of runs after the Wild Bunch and tries to mother them. They tolerate her presence but they certainly don't depend on her to alarm for danger...they've got that covered.

Here's the Wild Bunch down in the Honeycomb Hideout...no older rooster or hen needed, nor wanted. And this is out of the dog's territory, so they are very unprotected here. The point being...they learn it all on their own because it's instinct and the earlier they are out in the wild, the more wary they are.

In this pic they are the same age as your birds:



To the right you can see their tag along foster mom...poor old thing is 6 yrs old and can barely keep up with these fast and sleek teenagers. She joined their gang when they were about 2 1/2 mo. old and they tried to run away from her but she just kept on chasing them down and trying to mother them, so they finally just let her hang out with them and find them food, though they need no help.

 
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