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Introducing new birds

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi I hope I can get some advice.  I had 4 chicks, one died very early on and the other 3 turned out to be 2 Roos and a hen.  We got rid one roo and have kept the other to keep the hen happy.  I put up an ad at the feed store that I was looking for a couple more hens.  Someone called today and said they have 2 to give me, different breed and in a molting state right now.  She lives down the street from us ironically.  My question is, how do I introduce the 2 new hens to the one hen?  And do I leave the rooster in the mix in the beginning ( we intend on giving him up down the road) we just want hens, but can he be helpful during the transition?  Do I have to quarantine any of the birds?  Second guessing this idea after reading some of the info on this site but are at a loss as we have only one hen and one rooster and don't want the rooster. 

post #2 of 6

Hi Hoopla! I don't want my post to sound like Debby Downer, just things for you to ponder. It could be a great find.  Did you ask the ages of the new hens to be sure you're not starting a retirement home for non laying lawn ornaments? Where did her hens come from, were they vaccinated? Why is she re-homing them? Those questions will give you a good feeling as to your concerns. 

Perfect practice is 30 day quarantine, no sharing of anything, careful sanitation, care for yours first then the new ones then wash and disinfect.  Sometimes though, you just get a gut feeling. Perfect poop, eyes, feathers, attitude alertness, appetite, after a spell. 

For integration, I wouldn't think it'd be too hard. Here's a link to a method I have used successfully. I am not an integration expert but have ben successful more than a few times. I hope an Eggspert chimes in. Good luck, we'll wait to hear! 

http://www.backyardchickens.com/newsearch?search=look+but+dont+touch

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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post #3 of 6

Hard to say if that's a good way to go or not.

You may need some extra space to integrate, separated for while, do you have that space?

Older birds can be a problem, getting molting birds in fall you may not get any eggs from them until next spring and they may not be productive for many more years, depending on breed....and there's also the possibility that you will bring n pest and/or disease. It might be better to wait until spring and get more chicks, depending on your long term goals and space available.

 

 

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."

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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 #4 of 6

^^^^ There he is! TY @aart for chiming in with your expertise.

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 


Thanks you guys!   The new chickens we want to get are a year old, and my girl is 6 months so I think they all might be in the same sort of age bracket.  The owner lives near me, she is moving to Utah and downsizing.  She tells me they look like they are molting but are strong large brown egg layers and she is happy with the output.  They sound healthy anyway.  We don't really have a 2nd coop, we could use the dog crate idea next to the current coop but that will not leave much room for them to scratch around and no place to go "inside" at night.  We had designed our first coop to house 3 and allow brooding of 3 hens.  Now with a roo and one hen... it's not going the way we'd hoped.  I think we might be able to put an addition on the coop on the outside and make some kind of makeshift "indoors' laying for the new girls, until we can put them all together.   What do you guys think about the Rooster, do we leave him around until everyone is friends? 

 

Did I mention this is our first run with Chickens....They sure are fun though.

post #6 of 6

That sounds like a plan. Unless your roo is a total jerk, I'd just see how it goes.. 

Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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Walk gently on this earth. Do no harm. Laugh a lot at yourself. Be kind even when it's  hard.
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