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adding new chicks to pullet flock

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
We are looking to add a couple of chicks from a hatchery into a flock of 3 pullets about 16 weeks old. The chicks are vaccinated. Should we quarantine the chicks? And do we still need to introduce the chicks to the older pullets slowly and carefully? thanks
post #2 of 5

I would definitely quarantine, and if you're getting young chicks and already have 16wk chicks I assume they're decent size. I wouldn't introduce them right away if the other chicks are younger, they could really hurt/kill them (even by accident). My big chicks are 6wks older than my younger chicks, they have been separated. I'm working on integrating now, but it has taken time because my younger chicks are still smaller than my big chicks.

post #3 of 5

Its probably good practice to quarantine the chicks and for sure, you will need to ensure that introductions are done slowly and under supervision. Additionally, you may consider setting up an additional feeding station to reduce bullying from the older ones, once you have integrated the little ones. Very soon your pullets will require layers food, and your chicks - starter food so you need to take that into consideration also.

 

If you type "integrating new hens into a flock" in the search bar, you will find many threads on how to integrate your chicks.

 

Good luck

 

CT

post #4 of 5

Normally day old chicks from a hatchery don't need to be bio-quarantined....

......but you can't put them in with the older birds for a quite some time anyway, probably at least 8 weeks. 

 

What are the new chicks vaccinated against?

Were your 16 week olds vaccinated as chicks also?

 

 

 

 

Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......

......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.

See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

 

Integration of new chickens into flock.

 

Consider medical quarantine:

BYC Medical Quarantine Article

Poultry Biosecurity

BYC 'medical quarantine' search

 

Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

 

For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

 

If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.

 

 

The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

 

Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

 

Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

 

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

 

Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

 

Read up on integration.....  BYC advanced search>titles only>integration

This is good place to start reading:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply

Great article on VENTILATION, one of THE MOST IMPORTANT aspects of coop design.

Fantastic treatise to help decide how much SPACE your chickens need.

 

Chicken math is not just 'addition'...but also should include Division, Multiplication and especially Subtraction!!!

 

Quoting centrarchid:

"Make every effort to understand your chicken's biology and the environment that supports it."

Reply
post #5 of 5

i have 5 hens now,roughly 10 weeks old. we started with 8 but 3 were roosters and cant keep them. were looking at picking up a few more pullets at a poultry show this weekend, would it be as much of a challenge introducing new birds into my flock with them being free ranged. we live in the woods, no runs or fencing. they roam my property all day and get locked up at night. not positive what ages of birds vendors will have up for grabs, if getting older birds, or one closer to their size is better we would do that.

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