***Before I start this post I just want to clarify that even though the batch of chickens I got this year are NOT chicks anymore (they are pullets). I will still call them Chicks and the older hens Hens and both groups I will call Chickens (cause they are both chickens :P) ***
I did NOT want to put the chickens together it scared me (I am a chicken at heart ;) But to make myself feel like I was actually doing something while totally stalling I came up with a plan of how to integrate them gradually. This is what I did for a stress free, integration that turned out having the chickens live together happily ever after. Sadly, that last sentence was totally false. There is no such thing as a stress free, happy chicken integration. BUT the good news is that it is possible to have a integration where no chickens get hurt (read: blood) and with minimal stress if your not that stressed out of a person to begin with. So, finally, here we go....
Step number one--- Let the hens see the chicks but not be able to touch them--- I would let the hens free range while the chicks were in the cozy coop. What happened was Poppy would run up to the chicken wire and scare the chicks and she would do that all the time but after a week are so the chicks would stop cringing when she would run. Deme didn't really care about them that much.
Step number two--- Let the chicks and hens free range together while supervising--
I armed myself with a water gun and let them out together. The worst thing that happened was that Deme pecked Ely super hard and pulled some feathers out. After that they stayed far away from each other. After you make sure that the hens won't kill the chicks or vice versa. It would probably be a good time to introduce other animals a.k.a Figaro. Figaro was actually spectacular in the fact that he only fooled around a bit with them and then afterward ignored them and hasn't bugged them at all since!!!
Step number three-- Supervise them in a closed in area-- the run. I again armed myself with a water gun and put them together. At the beginning there were some kerfuffles but in the end the chicks stayed on one side and the chickens stayed on the other. During that time I introduced them to the coop and showed them how to climb up and down. They figured it out really quickly and they also found the perch after a few days to.
Step number four-- Make the Integration final-- I bucked up one day and decided that it was time. I put the chicks in the coop in the evening, closed the door and walked away feeling
stressed out happy and care free. When the light went out in the coop I went outside and put the chicks on the perch manually. They didn't go up by themselves. I felt like they caught on fast though and a few nights after they were making onto the perch all by themselves. But the sad thing was that after two nights of happiness they started screwing up. Not all going on the perch or perching in the wrong places. So every night I would go out and make sure that they are all up properly. Last night when I went up they were all up on the perch so I am hoping that it will stay like that. I have found that after they all lay eggs for the first time the older hens seem to except them more.
And you are done. Your chickens are now BFF's!!!