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Advice needed for when to move the chicks into the really big house

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So, my 5 chicks are around 18-20 weeks old ish and have been living outside for about a month in their Eglu Classic.

They have enough space and are separated in the run from the older 2 girls.

When they used to come indoors at night time, they used to throw the wood shavings everywhere having a dust bath in them.

Since they've been outside, even though they have something to dust bath in, they haven't.

The other part of the run has soil in but that is where the older girls live.

My problem is what to do next.

Last time I introduced chicks, Gemma, who was 5 at the time, was picked on an awful lot. She will be 9 in August. She was demoted from top hen to the very bottom. - although saying that, she did manage to peck all the other's neck feathers and still does to Molly.

I was going to wait until the October half term to mix them all together - their hormones will be calmer and there will be less daylight hours to spend together arguing.

I could mix them together in the half term coming at the end of next week.

Or I could wait until the summer holidays and mix them together then.

Alternatively, I could give them something else to dust bath in.

What do you think is the best thing to do ?

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11 minutes ago, Cat tails said:

You can always give it a shot with integration and pull the plug when it doesn’t work for Gemma.
I think I would just see what happens as you have an alternative in housing when needed anyway.

Good advice @Cat tails

I just get myself in a state sometimes about what to do for the best.

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Perhaps best done sooner rather than later? They may be more adaptable and less set in their ways when younger then you have the option to separate and try again later if it doesn't work? Or, if you think there may be a problem with Gemma and you have two sets of accommodation, just don't....keep one set in the run whilst the others FR then swap round?

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Just typical, the first day of sunny weather yesterday has inspired Nellie to be broody already !!

I think Molly is also broody, but she doesn't quite get the hang of it, instead she runs around shouting at everyone.

Shall I stick the 2 broody ones in their separate broody cages and then in 3 days time start to mix them all up or shall I let them all mix together knowing that 2 of them are ultra grumpy ? 

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Poor Nancy has been waiting all day for the egg suite to be free.

I think I will wait until after tea to let them mix together - there will be 3 of us here by then to keep an eye on them.

I really can't remember what to do. It was about 5 years ago that I did it last.

Do I gradually increase their time together or just open the door and that's that ?

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Well, we had a lucky escape.

Knowing that Molly and Nellie were broody I left hubby in charge of turfing them out this morning.

He did that very well but forgot to put the Eglu cube door back on the side.

It was only when I went to wake up Gemma to join the chicks (she goes to bed early) that I realised the door had been off since this morning.

Thank goodness I decided to mix them all up just now - we were going to wait until tomorrow - I'm so glad I didn't wait.

As it happens, both Molly and Gemma were fast asleep and I couldn't reach them.

The chicks had the run of the whole run to themselves instead - but funny that they couldn't go past the invisible barrier to all the lovely soil the big girls have :lol:

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They had their first hour or so together last night - mainly because Molly and Nellie were in the broody cages.

Molly and Gemma certainly put the chicks in their place. Just a few feather pulls and being sat on.

Will let them mix together again tonight for a bit.

Trouble is, being in the broody cage hasn't worked for Nellie, so she is back in there today.

She can play with the others later tonight though.

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The time spent together has increased.

It was so lovely yesterday that they spent all afternoon and evening together.

Molly rules the roost and runs at the chicks who all hide at their end in a corner. It's funny though because she won't go in any further as there are suddenly 5 of them in a huddle.

They do still tend to stay in their groups of 2 and 5.

If Molly catches any of them she jumps on their backs and pulls their neck feathers.

Yesterday she jumped on Hazel, and Dottie really didn't like it, so she jumped on Molly.

Today was actually the first time that Nellie didn't try getting back into the house so I'm really hoping her broodiness has gone.

Tonight, some of them were quite keen to try the ladder to the big house but Molly was having none of that.

I think I will continue with the afternoon introductions for now, especially as I will be back in school next week, and see how it goes.

At least there has been no blood drawn and they haven't been too nasty to each other.   

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It is going slowly but these things can't be rushed.

The chicks are still frightened of the older 2 which I'm kind of glad about as I didn't want Gemma being bullied like before.

She has Molly to protect her.

The chicks are getting a little bit braver and it will be so nice when they are all mixed together properly.

Today they will have a long time together as I don't work Monday afternoons. 

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