However, the chicks were using the nest boxes in the coop part (the enclosed little house on the end) as roosts. If you know anything about chickens, you know that they "poop" while they roost, so the nest boxes were getting really nasty. Even though the coop had roost bars, they insisted on using the nests as perches on which to roost. This was not a good situation. We did not want them to get used to soiling the nest boxes. Otherwise, when they begin laying eggs, it would lead to unsanitary conditions for the eggs to be laid in.
As a result, we decided to move them in with the older chickens last week. Our grandson was here last week, so he got to help with the move. He and Tom pulled the tractor over to the chicken coop.
There was really no way to pull the tractor right up to the gate to the chicken pen, so we caught the young chickens and put them in a dog crate to transport them from the tractor to the pen.
Our outside chicken pen is divided into 2 sections, both covered with bird netting to keep the chickens in and things like hawks out. Because we were concerned about how the older hens would react to the new-comers, we shut them out of the main pen.
After being let out, the youngsters spent time exploring their new home. But, they tended to stayed together in a tight group.
The first night went pretty well. The old hens seemed to ignore the newcomers and went in to roost as usual. As it got dark, the youngsters went in as well. But, they seemed to be unsure where they should roost and would hop up on the raised door to the coop. The door, being slanted, caused them to slip and slide and lose their balance, which in turn caused a lot of commotion. I finally picked each one up individually and placed them on the roost bars. This caused some commotion too, but they all eventually settled down to sleep.
The next day the "pecking order" started. The older hens began establishing their dominance in the flock, while the youngsters were totally intimidated!
The younger ones ended up staying inside most of the time until I finally closed the door to the coop to keep them out. If they had a battering ram, I'm sure they would have used it to get back inside and away from "Gertrude".
So far, nobody has been hurt and I've not noticed many direct confrontations because the youngsters stick together and try to avoid the older hens. I suppose order will eventually be restored and everyone will settle down. Sooner would be nice, rather than later.