Successful integration of 10 chickens into an established pen of 27 hens.
10/10/10. Well, today was the day. We purchased 10 8-week-old chicks of mixed breed (Auracana and Black Astrolops) including 2-3 roosters. We kept them separated in a smaller pen until they were 3 months of age and looking fairly adolescent.
At 2pm we cleaned the hen house and got all the established mixed flock out of the house and into their yard. We caught and placed the adolescent chicks in the hen house. They were there checking out their new environment for about 3 hours until the sun started to go down and dusk arrived. The next step was to entice the older hens into the outdoor 8’ x 12’ add on chicken-wire porch we had attached to the hen house so they could enjoy the out-of-doors in the wind/rain and snow and closed the gate.
The roosters crowed from time-to-time but all-in-all the adolescent chicks were pretty relaxed and roosting on the hen roost. We then opened the little trap “chicken” door and into the hen house the the older hens went and… three of the adolescents came out. They mingled for about an hour eating some kale we had put in there to keep them busy.
It wasn’t very long at all before it started to rain and darkness was upon us. When we checked after dinner all the chickens were in the coop! The little adolescent chickens were roosted on one end of the roost and the established girls wre visibly separated on the roost by about 16 inches from the new incoming flock. Kind of noisy in there but as soon as it got dark things settled right down.
Two or three of the older hens were in the nest boxes but that happens every night. It seems the oldest girls like that area to sleep in.
At this time we were getting only about 2 eggs/day from the flock and were hoping the addition of a rooster or two will help liven things up and increase production. *Yes, the roosters did “liven things up” and in more than one way. Side note: We usually install a 40 watt red party bulb in the hen house once temperatures drop to around freezing to help prevent the chicken‘s water from freezing and to increase the number of hours of light which always increases egg production.