Introducing chicks to your flock

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Getting baby chicks can be such an exciting time!  You want to believe your older girls will accept the babies and be good “mother hens”, but this is not the case.  Your older flock is likely to not share your excitement about these new little pests eating their food and stealing their treats.  You need to ease the flock into accepting the chicks by giving them plenty of time to get used to the idea.  It’s important to keep the chicks safe because an adult chicken can easily kill a baby.  You should NOT try to introduce a single chick to your flock of older chickens.  You need to at least provide the new chick with one friendly face to run to.  If you only have one chick, she will become a target for bullies and the more she is bullied, the more others are likely to join in.  If you have just a single chick, I would recommend you wait to start introduce her until she is nearly full grown (around 14-15 weeks).  You can read more about introducing a single adult hen here

Introducing chicks to your flock

Wait until chicks are at a minimum 4 weeks old to begin introductions, but 6 weeks would be better.  The younger the chicks, the longer you are going to want to draw out the introduction period.  Ideally, by the time you mix the flocks permanently, the chicks will be bigger and fully feathered out (around 10-12 weeks).

The chicks will need an outdoor space next to the older flock, but separated by wire.  The idea is to let everyone see & smell each other, but they can not touch each other.  You can do this by dividing off part of your chicken run with chicken wire.

Introducing chicks to your flock

Introducing chicks to your flock

In addition to outdoor space, you need to provide a secure place for the chicks to sleep.  Click here to see how I built a spare coop for $2 that we can easily bring into the run when needed.

Instead of a second temporary coop, you can also section off part of the main coop for the babies.  Unless your coop has two entrances, you will need to take them from their coop to their section of the run each morning & then put them back at night.  Don’t forget the food & water for the babies, they will still need chick starter food until they are about 16-18 weeks old.

Introducing chicks to your flock

Let them live side by side but separated like this for at least two weeks, or until the younger chicks are at least 10 weeks old.

When the chicks are big enough to join the main flock, start by letting everyone out to free range together.  Free ranging gives the little ones room to run away from a bully and it is also more neutral ground so the older chickens might not feel so defensive about sharing it.

Introducing chicks to your flock

If free ranging goes alright, take down the partition in the run so during the day, the flocks will be together.  Continue to keep the chicks separated at night.  At this point, you are going to need to switch the entire flock over to the chick’s starter/growing feed.  See the bag for manufacturer’s age instructions, but generally a young chicken needs to be on starter/growing feed until about 16-18 weeks in age (when they get ready to lay their first egg).  Feeding chicks layer feed is not good because their kidneys can’t process all the calcium.  So until the chicks are at laying age, everyone needs to be on chick feed.  It won’t hurt your big girls to be on chick feed, but they will need extra calcium for egg production. Providing a bowl of crushed oyster shells near the feed dish is a great supplement.

How Much Do Chickens Cost to Keep?

After a week or so of daytime interacting it is time to fully mix the flocks! Remove the chick’s coop or take down the coop partition and keep your fingers crossed.  You will need to be on hand the first couple nights to make sure all the chicks find their way into the main coop & roosts at night, but hopefully they will just follow the older chickens in.

Keep an eye on things for the next week and try to let them out as early as possible in the morning.  If any of the chickens are injured or bleeding remove them immediately.  Keep the injured bird in isolation until she is healed.


159 comments

  1. Deborah says:

    I have one adult hen and 7 two-week-old chicks. The hen is brooding and could be hatching a couple more chicks within the next week. When is the best time to introduce my chicks to her? I see the article is about multiple hens but I only have the one hen (a neighbor’s rooster is responsible for “impregnating” my hen).

    • Liz says:

      If the adult hen is brooding, she isn’t going to get off her nest for about 3 weeks and then will be busy tending to new babies for awhile after so she might just leave the little ones alone. On the other hand if the chicks are pestering her all the time, she could go into protection mode and seriously injure one of the chicks. I would still wait until the chicks are at least a month old to start introducing them, and then keep an eye on momma hen to make sure she isn’t being overly protective

      • Kristen Nielsen says:

        Do you think if chicks are under 4 weeks then introduce new chicks this seperation still applies?

        • Liz says:

          It really depends on the chicks. I would try it out, I think they will likely be fine with it. Just be ready to separate them for a week or two if the bigger ones are picking on the little ones

  2. Jean Ballard says:

    I have put the baby chicks in with the big girls after free ranging during the da y for a week. How ever in the run they all get along. But I can’t get the chicks to go in a night with the big girls. they stay on the perches in the run. We’ve went out and put them in the coop and they stay .But I’m not going to go out when there 4 feet of snow and do that. Any suggestions?

    • Liz says:

      They will catch on long before the snow comes! Keep going out there at night and locking them in the coop – after a couple weeks they will figure it out!

  3. Kerry Rabins says:

    We have one rooster with our flock. Does that change the timing of when or how we should integrate the chicks? Our chicks are now six weeks old and have lived across a gate from the rest of the flock for a couple of weeks now. The rooster will watch them through the gate and seems quite interested in them. The hens seem less so.

    • Liz says:

      It really depends on your rooster. Some roosters are chill with having chicks around, some will literally kill them on sight. Just to be safe, with a rooster in the mix I would wait a few more weeks to integrate them so the chicks can get a little bigger. And then keep a close eye on the rooster for the first few days when you mix them together

  4. Amber says:

    I was gifted a mama hen and her 8 chicks. I fell in love with another chick at the feed store and brought her home. Should I try to slip her under mama or introduce her slowly to the flock? Would introductions be different since Mama hen is the only adult bird I have? The chicks are all about the same age (3ish weeks).

    • Liz says:

      You can try to slip the new one in and see what happens. I have given broody hens chicks that they didn’t hatch lots of times and have not had one reject a chick yet, but where this hen already has had her chicks for 3 weeks she could get defensive. Keep an eye on it and be prepared to have to keep the chick in a brooder if she rejects it, but if I had to guess I’d say the hen will probably accept the new chick just fine.

      • Keri says:

        I have a broody hybrid hen, and have purchased some fertilised eggs to let her sit on (not yet received though). However, today, she has decided not to sit on her golf ball egg replacement. Now I’m worried that I need to get an incubator and brooder in case she abandons the fertilised eggs. I was trying to avoid this route. If I incubate the eggs, is it possible to put the chicks in with her at night? Although she probably won’t be in the nest box? Should I wait a while to try get her to adopt the chicks? Any suggestions? Thank you!

        • Liz says:

          Broody hens can be a mystery sometimes! They seem so devoted then right when you get them eggs they change their mind lol. You should probably have an incubator on hand. Definitely try to encourage her- keep the golf balls eggs and maybe even give her a smaller pen around the nest box if possible to encourage her to stay put. Make the box as enticing as possible with lots of straw or shavings, maybe even add some curtains so it’s more private. I have taken day old chicks several times and given them to broody hens and they all took them no problem. But they have to be broody and the chicks need to be just a day or two old or its unlikely they will just adopt them. Fingers crossed your eggs get here soon and she stays broody!

  5. Ben says:

    I have a broody hen separated with two chicks. It’s been about two weeks since they hatched. I have them separated inside the coop without access to the enclosure area. It’s been fine, but now mama hen wants out. I’m worried the chicks are too young. I have two other hens and one has shown aggression when they were fist born but nothing since. Should I just let them out and see what happens? If so, is there a better time of day to do this? Such as after they eat or later in the day? Or, should I just let mama henout and get a warmer for the chicks?

    • Liz says:

      I have always let the moms out with the flock with the babies. For the most part the others just ignored the babies and if any looked at them funny or took a swipe at a chick the mom would step in. I would say let them all out and see how it goes. At 2 weeks they will be fine if someone takes a peck at them as long as it’s not a prolonged series of pecks or aggressive chasing. After you let the other girls out in the morning and they have eaten and got that initial “I’m free!” energy out I would release the new family and be nearby for at least an hour in case you have to step in. Good luck!

      • Christine Caplan says:

        I also have a broody hen separated in an elevated nesting box sitting on three eggs. It hasn’t been a week yet but I’m trying to get organized. We have 11 hens and a rooster. At 2 weeks should I also let the mom out with her chicks and just move them to a nest (or make one) on the floor of the coop? I was going to put chicken wire on the box at 19 days to ensure they are fully enclosed. The above scenario didn’t mention a rooster in the mix so wanted your thoughts. They’re literally in the coop and hens will nest on both sides of her after the chicks are born so they’ll know they are there. Also after they are born do I provide that grower feed in the enclosed box for those first two weeks? Thanks!

        • Liz says:

          Hi Christine! I think you would find my article on hatching eggs with a broody hen interesting: https://www.thecapecoop.com/hatching-eggs-with-a-broody-hen/ With the rooster present, keep a close eye on him. He could be super nice and protective of them, but once in a while, they get really aggressive towards them. Most often when you have a hen hatching and raising chicken in with the rest of the flock, the rest of the flock (including roosters) are fine and just leave the new family alone. You will need to provide grower feed for the chicks, and as soon as they start mixing in with the rest of the flock, you will need to switch everyone over to grower

          • Christine Caplan says:

            Thank you so much! I really appreciate this. Going to the article now! I have until August 19ish so may have more questions 🙂 I really appreciate it. I have oyster shell out and I’m feeding layer feed. Will the grower feed impact the layers? (Also -would it make more sense after they’re born to just stick the hen and babies in a rabbit hutch that is put inside the coop?). Thanks!

          • Liz says:

            The layers will be fine on the grower feed as long as they have that extra calcium source (oyster shells are perfect!). I have had several broodies raise babies within the flock and I have always just let them stay with everyone else. The mom takes them out to free range in the yard and they get to do all the things chickens love doing like scratch and hunt for bugs right from the start. Plus then there is no reintroduction period where you have to keep them separate. You just have to keep an eye out and make sure the other flock members are being good and the mom is defending them like she is suppose to.

  6. Dee says:

    Our chicks are now 8 weeks old… we’ve had them in a completely separated place (garage) from our other two adult hens… do you think we can just integrate them in the coop/free range run now? Or should we go through the steps that you suggested above?

    • Liz says:

      You should still integrate them slowly so that the two full grown hens don’t attack the little ones. They need to have the time to see them and smell them and get used to their presence

  7. Mandy says:

    I have 3 7 month old chickens and adding 3 more 2 months old to the coop. and now I have 2 15 day old chicken. Am I doing the right thing . by getting the other 3 .

    • Liz says:

      Well the 7 month old chickens are basically full grown adults, so I would keep the 2 month chickens and 15 day old chickens either together or separate all three age groups. The 7 month old chickens could hurt the younger ones, so you will want to keep them separate until the little ones are bigger. As long as the 2 month olds don’t bother the littlest ones, I would keep them together so that you only have to do one introduction to the adult girls. Welcome to chicken math – it’s hard to stop adding them once you have them!

  8. Jen says:

    Hi – I have one chicken who is clearly quite lonely now that she lost her mate. I am planning on getting a few chicks to keep her company. Is there any variation to the process above if it’s just one chicken or should I still follow the steps above? Thanks!

    • Liz says:

      You should still follow the above steps, but she will probably be eager to be part of a flock again so it might not take as long as normal 🙂

  9. Randi says:

    I have 4 hens and a rooster that have been together over a year. In May I got 16 babies as a gift. I have been putting the babies in their own run and let the adaults in the adjoining run with choice of free roam. The adaults don’t stay in their run long before free roaming. They have been like this for a week and a half. When is a good time to let them join together? How should I join them together

    • Liz says:

      I would let them keep living side by side but separated until the babies are 8 weeks. Let them out together supervised. Continue supervising the free time together for a few day until you see the adults are behaving themselves and not hurting the babies

  10. Kara Farrell says:

    We have 4 8 week old chickens and two adult chickens. We have had the 8 week old chickens in the big coop for 1 1/2 weeks. They are in their own box that is covered in chicken wire so they can see the big girls yet be safe from aggressive behavior. We just cut out a door for the little ones to go out and explore but the hole is not big enough for the big girls to get in. We left for a little while, came back, and one of the 8 week old chickens was dead. Should we close back up the hole for a little while longer so they have more time to get use to each other or set up a different kind of structure?

    • Liz says:

      aww that is so sad! Is there anyway you can divide the chicken run (chicken wire can be a good way to temporarily block some off). That way the big girls can see the little ones acting normally, scratching and running about and not just confined to a box. In either event, it definitely sounds like your big girls need some more time to adjust to the idea of the babies. I would give them another week or two of side by side living before letting them loose again

  11. Kara Farrell says:

    Thanks for the advice, Liz! We will definitely try blocking off part of the run for the little ones and have them in that space for about two weeks before letting them loose again. And, thank you for your blog post about death too. It was a very helpful read after we had our first loss.

  12. Candice Richardson says:

    I had 2 hens that are a little over 2 years old. One of our hens died last week. I was wondering how difficult would it be to add a chick to the coop since I only have 1 hen now? Thanks!

    • Liz says:

      It really depends on the temperament of your surviving hen. She might be lonely enough that she would welcome any and all company, but it’s equally likely she will still try to defend her territory. I would suggest getting two chicks, put them with the adult and see how it goes. Be prepared with a brooder in case she is grouchy about them. You will have to bring them inside and keep them there until they are bigger (5-7 weeks), then slowly introduce them. Getting two chicks will at least make it so they aren’t lonely in the brooder and have a friend in case the older hen is mean to them.

  13. Katherine says:

    I’m considering adopting three 7 month old orpingtons. They will be with my chicks in a few weeks when they are ready for their transfer. Would it be safe to put everyone together since it would be a new home for everyone?

    • Liz says:

      When adopting adult hens, make sure you observe proper quarantine procedures. Keep them separated from your flock (not just side by side but separated by at least 30 ft) for at least a couple weeks. The older hens might seems totally fine when you pick them up, but you want to make sure they aren’t bringing any illnesses into your flock. As far as integration goes, you will have to see how the adult hens do with the chicks. Make sure the chicks are at least 7=8 weeks old before you begin introductions. Even though the space is new to everyone, there could still be fighting as they all try to establish the flock pecking order

  14. lauren says:

    Hi Liz,
    I just came across your “Introducing Chicks to Your Flock”.
    My existing flock is 3 6-month-olds. 1black copper Maran, 1blue cooper Maran, and 1 RIR.
    I brought home 2 Lavender Pullets this last week. Did 1 week in isolation in my home.
    The LOs are 11 weeks and 13 weeks.

    I introduced the LOs to the existing flock yesterday while free ranging. There was some bullying, but nothing overly aggressive.
    The LO’s spent the night in the coop with the existing flock. The LOs were scared, but all went well.
    Today we got them out early, another successful day of free ranging. However, shortly after putting the LO’s and existing girls in the coop, I saw the LO’s cornered in the corner of the 4×8 run, laying down, and at least the RIR(maybe the other hens too) was sitting pecking away at the LO’s.
    I intervened, got the LOs out. The LO’s nostrils had been pecked and were a bit bloody. A few feathers missing, but could not find any other wounds.
    I moved the LOs back inside, cleaned their wounds, cuddled them, and now their in the brooder coop in my room(where they spent the first week.
    What’s my next move?
    Thank you!
    The whole thing really upset me. The LOs are so very sweet. My existing flock I’ve had since 3 days old, and they are quite docile following us around the yard, and letting us hold them.

    • Liz says:

      awww that is so sad! Orpingtons are generally really docile sweethearts which unfortunately can put them at the bottom of the pecking order sometimes (and RIR have a reputation for being bullies). The fact that they are smaller and younger is not helping. Is it possible for you to section off part of your run? If you let them live side by side for a couple weeks it will let the big girls get used to them, and give the babies a chance to heal and to get bigger. Good luck, it can be so hard when introductions don’t go well!

  15. Worried Chicken Parent says:

    I have 5 Big Chickens we think that we have two roosters but we might only have one. We have nine younger chicks and they are about ten weeks old but not even close to the same size as the bigger chickens and they have not been introduced! I am too scared to mix them in fear that I might loose a chick!!! What should I do??

    • Liz says:

      The longer you can let them live side by side but separated by wire the better the mixing is going to go. If you can give them at least a few weeks that is great. It also gives the little ones time to grow and catch up in size. Unfortunately there isn’t any way to ensure there won’t be fighting or bullying, there almost always is. If the babies are bigger though they can handle it. The most likely scenario is when you finally get them all together the big girls will chase the babies away when they try to come close and the babies will run away. With any luck the worst that will happen is the babies get a couple little pecks on the head. The fact that the little ones outnumber the big ones will certainly help. If the roosters are being jerky about letting the little ones in, I would separate the roosters and let the girls get to be friends first.

  16. Zaynie says:

    Hi. I had a broody hen that hatched 8 eggs. She took care of them and I had them in a brooder with a red heat lamp. The hen started showing signs of not wanting to be with them so I separated her and tried to put her with our other chickens and they are attacking her and I can’t separate the coop that the other chickens are in because it wouldn’t work. So I have a hen that has no where to sleep. So what do I do? Also the broody hen was on chick starter feed with her chicks and when I separated her I gave her layer pellets and now she has white/watery diarrhea. Is that normal? If it’s not what do I feed her then? And how am I supposed to introduce the chicks to the flock when they’re ready? They’re old enough to free range but I don’t want the older hens attacking them or even maybe killing them. I also have no where to isolate the bullies. Help! Thank you!

    Zaynie

    • Liz says:

      Hi Zaynie! You have a lot going on there! It is totally normal for the flock to be picking on the momma as she reenters flock life unfortunately. She needs to reestablish her place in the pecking order. Are they being ok to her while out free ranging, you are just worried about night time? Most of the time they are pretty docile at night because they can’t see in the dark very well. But if they are bothering her at night you could try putting her in a small dog crate or cat carrier in your garage or basement. Or you could put some chicken wire up over a nest box to keep her in. It will be tight for her, but it’s only for night while she is sleeping. Where ever you put her make sure she still has food & water. When the little ones are ready to start joining flock life, you can let them out to free range with the big girls but in their own area. To section off a little space for them you can make a little circle “playpen” out of chicken wire or cattle wire. Be sure they have somewhere to take shelter (a box or something) and food & water. They really need to be able to be seen by the big girls but at a safe distance for at least a week before you mix them in or you are going to end up with a lot of fighting. If you can keep them living separately but near by the flock for a few weeks that is ideal.

  17. Jami Freeman says:

    I have 3 adult hens. I also have 5 baby chicks that are 5 weeks old. Out of the 5 two are roosters. How will the young roosters adapt as they get older with the older hens? Is there anything that I need to do or be aware of having two roosters?

    • Liz says:

      Just like the female babies, the roosters will likely be picked on at first by the adults. They won’t be respected as the flock leader until they earn it, and that won’t happen until they are full grown and prove themselves. So they will have to go through all the standard pecking order stuff as you integrate the babies. The roos themselves will also likely be jostling for spot of top rooster. Many times if they grow up together they work it out without any blood shed, one just takes the lead and the other is definitely the second. You can expect lots more crowing. Not just because you have two, but because roosters like to try and outdo each other when crowing, or like to crow back and forth at each other. Roosters can certainly live happily with other roosters, it just depends on their personalities. Some are just bullies and don’t want any other guys in their space. If they are fighting a lot you may have to rehome one (or send him to freezer camp). Hopefully everyone will be a happy family!

  18. Jami Freeeman says:

    Thank you Liz for the advice. Just when I thought I knew everything about raising hens, now I’m learning the integration process. I hope all goes well. Thank you again.

  19. Allie h says:

    Hi, I am looking for advice on integrating new birds to my existing flock. I have 2 spectate moms who each have 2-3 chicks. They have been separated but next to each other in my garage. These moms are also new to my flock. The chicks are about 9-10 weeks old. What’s your advice on introduction? Should I but the moms and babies together? Put the moms in the existing flock and then combine the babies for a little while? Put one set of mom/baby into the flock at a time? Or everyone at once? Thank you in advance!!

    I also have 3 new 4-5 week olds that I will have to introduce in time

    • Liz says:

      It’s hard to say how your flock will react, but if it were me I would try integrating everyone all at once. Integration time can be really stressful for the old & new girls so it’s best to get it all over at once. I would definitely keep the moms with their babies because at least they all know each other.

  20. Tara Eve Ritter says:

    Hello.. I just got 2 week old chicks and I also have 2 adult females in my yard…. I wasn’t going to introduce them until around February or March 2019…the chicks like the other 2 stay indoors until I feel they are safe from predators etc…. Is this to long to wait or should I do brief interactions when they are a couple of months old
    … They will not be staying outside like the other 2 until they are completely confident to sleep outside… My adult 2 used to knock on the back door at sunset lol…. Then 1 day they just stopped and have been happy ever since! I thank you in advance for any advice… Tara

    • Liz says:

      What sweet little birds you have! You can definitely wait until spring when they are full grown if you want. The process for introducing adult hens to your older hens is pretty similar, you just don’t have to worry as much about the older girls really hurting the babies 🙂

  21. Bonny Wilson says:

    I have 4 grown chickens in a coop. I have 4 12 week old chicks that are almost as big as the grown ones. Can I go ahead and put the babies in with the grown ones? Their coops are not side by side but are near each other and when the grown ones free range, they are all around the coop with the young ones.

    • Liz says:

      You can definitely give it a shot. It sounds like they have had plenty of interactions and chances to get used to each other so hopefully the introductions will go smoothly! Good luck!

  22. Marianne says:

    Baby chicks (1month old) eat different food. My chickens eat layerpellets.ho Dora that work when I want to introduce the young to the flock

    • Liz says:

      Hi Marianne, you need to feed the whole flock chick feed. Layer feed has too much calcium for baby chicks to handle. In order for your big girls to get enough calcium while on chick feed, you should offer then crushed egg shells or crushed oyster shells to eat

  23. Bob says:

    It’s winter and we have snow on the ground. Before I knew it one of my Cochins got broody and sat on a bunch of eggs. So a couple days ago three eggs hatched. I have two roosters and four hens. The brood hen and her chicks are sort of separated from the rest of the chicken house. I can’t decide whether to separate the babies or take my chances and leave them all together. Maybe I could put one of the chicks out with the rest and see what the roosters do. Or what?

    • Liz says:

      It really depends on your rooster’s personalities. Many roosters are great dads and will protect the chicks from day one, but some are jerks and attack the chicks. I would leave the family separated until the babies are at least a week old. Then let the whole family out and keep an eye on how the others react. If any of the older chickens are harassing the babies and the mom isn’t handling it then you might have to keep the family separate for several weeks when the chicks are bigger.

  24. Anna M Bright says:

    Good evening,

    I had hatched some baby chicks out. Read you post and put them in a cage inside my chicken house. After two weeks let them all out. All is good in chicken land. Hatched out more babies they are about 4 weeks old. Decided to just put them in the chicken house. All three ages older flock, first hatched out flock about 10 weeks old. The new flock at about 4 weeks old. They are all getting along nicely, today is day three. My chickens have all been raised by me. They are very friendly and apparently know they are mommies babies.

  25. Phil says:

    I have a hen with 4 10 week old chicks. The chicks free range and are rejected by all the hens in the flock. They have also just found the hens layer pellets and have tucked into them. Their mother hen is also rejected by the 5 hens in the flock. What can I do to assist the chicks to be accepted by the adults?

    • Liz says:

      I wish there was a magic answer to this. Unfortunately, there is not a ton you can do to make the big girls accept the chicks. It just takes time. After the mother hen is done raising her chicks she will try to integrate back into the flock, but sometimes she has to start back at the bottom of the pecking order and work her way back up again. The chicks will likely be at the bottom until they are full grown and the big girls see them as equals. 10 weeks old is a little young for them to be eating layer pellets though. Now that you have the whole flock together, you should really switch everyone to the chick or grower feed until the babies are 18 weeks old. There is too much calcium in layer feed for chicks, but you can offer crushed eggshells or oyster shells to the big girls so they can still get enough calcium

  26. David says:

    We current,y have 4 three year old girls. (Brahma, Rhodes island, australorp , and a leghorn). We used to have 4 more before the neighbors dog. We also have one male duck that lives with the girls. He has a ramp that leads to the roosting area and sleeps with them. (He used to have 4 ladies before the same dog). He’s part of the flock with the girls. We got 4 baby chicks now and we will be following all your sound advice. But is there anything different with introducing the chicks with the duck?

    • Liz says:

      Sorry for your loss with the dog – that is so sad! The duck *should* just ignore the new babies. I’ve never had any of my ducks pay any mind to new additions in the chicken flock. But sometimes drakes can be territorial about newcomers. It’s really all dependent on his personality. Hopefully he will behave himself!

  27. Emma says:

    Hey i have two questions i have a chicken that doesn’t lay yet should i put my 4 month six chicks with her?And i have two big girls and a roster can the chicks also go in there with them?or will the roster kill them?

    • Liz says:

      You should be fine to introduce the 6 chicks to your younger chicken. At 4 months they should be able to hold their own against her (I actually might be more worried they will gang up on her!). A single chicken getting introduced to a group can be tricky because she doesn’t have any friends to run to. So if you can integrate the pullet with the chicks first that would be good, before she has to interact with the older girls & roo. Once they are all getting along, you can try blending the older girls/roo with the younger girls. I like to go slow, you can try dividing your run with chicken wire so they can all see each other but not get to each other. Just be sure both groups have a safe place to sleep at night. After a week or two, test them out by letting them out together, but be there to make sure everything goes ok. There will be some fighting. Make sure they aren’t relentlessly attacking anyone. A quick peck on the head is just part of establishing the pecking order. The rooster can be a wildcard, some are totally fine, some are fiercely territorial and could very well kill a chick. But if they are 4 months now, by the time you integrate the single pullet and then separate the two flocks for a week or two, they will be almost 5 months which is almost full grown. So hopefully they will be fine!

  28. Linda S. says:

    I am integrating 6 week old chicks with my two 5 year old layers who still lay! The chicks have been on 22 % protein chick starter. Is 22% too much protein for my old lady layers? I read somewhere that older birds shouldn’t have too much protein.