The little chicks are big enough to go outside (5 weeks and 4 weeks), especially since it's not too cold here right now (40s at minimum). But, because the older birds are bigger and more numerous, I know we really can't introduce them until the babies are 12+ weeks old.
I did not want the babies in my laundry room for another 7 weeks.
So, I decided to quickly fashion a pen to put the babies into. The pen would be fully enclosed, but would be placed INSIDE the older girls' pen.
I designed it so there was chicken wire on top and on one side, that way both sets of hens could see each other and become familiar with each other. But, no real pecking or hurting could occur. The phrase "pecking order" is real, I tell ya.
I put a little coop dwelling at the one end, so they can go inside if they are cold. At the opposite end, there's a little flap, so I can get access to their food and water.
The adult hens were very VERY curious.
The babies were curious too, but it was really the adult hens that cracked me up.
They weren't quite sure what to make of the little ones. They still aren't sure-- and it's been almost 3 days.
They weren't sure if these outsiders were lunch, or entertainment, or intruders.
All in all, it's been very successful. They're getting more used to each other, and the babies are in a space big enough for them to grow big before being physically all introduced.
The 10 red girls are now almost 12 weeks old. They could start laying as soon as 16 weeks, but more than likely, it will be around 20 weeks. Once that happens, I could be getting about 9 eggs a day. They'll be small eggs at first, but then will get bigger.
In other news, the hurt hen is recuperating very nicely (see original post here). I think she's just about to normal, but I need to see her walk. I think she's become lazy, sitting in her box of comfort, eating food, not moving. A physical fitness test will soon be done...
In other garden news, I really need to hop to it and get crackin' on boxes. I need to more than double what I currently have outside. Eek. I think Hank is coming on Friday. So there's my deadline. What has me worried is that I need to not only make the boxes, but I need to place them strategically and get them nestled down so they're secure. Right now they're sort of topsy turvy all over the backyard. This will not do.