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How to start a flock from juvenile pullets from different sources?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi Everyone - I'm new to chickens and starting a new flock in a couple of weeks. A friend of mine is raising chicks for me with her own chicks. Together, we have 5 Rhode Island Red female (sexed so we're hoping they are all females!) chicks that are now about 3 weeks old. I'll be getting 3 of the chicks to bring home in a couple weeks once they are about 6 weeks old. I decided 3 wasn't enough, so I ordered 2 Cream Legbar juvenile pullets to make my flock larger.  I should be able to pick up the Legbar juvenile pullets at about 6 weeks of age. This would make my RIR and Legbars hatched about 3 weeks apart. My questions are:

 

1. If the RIR are first in the coop (in there for a couple weeks) before the Legbars are added, will there be integration issues? Can I add the Legbars without any issues or introduction period? The RIR will be about 9 weeks old and the Legbars will be about 6 weeks old.

 

2. Should I wait and add the RIR and Legbar pullets to the coop at the same time?

 

3. Since this would be a new flock, do I need to quarantine the RIR or Legbars?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my thread. Any advice is appreciated! :) 

post #2 of 8
You are going to have troubles mixing them at that age, so I would plan on penning them next to each other and than letting them mingle under supervision, than returning them to their own pens until they can get along, it could take a month or two, or you could get lucky and they get along.

As far a quarantine, I personally wouldn't, but I would also be willing to take my chances. If your friend has other chickens than they would be the batch that could carry something.

I would add all chick to the coop on the same day, but separate them when I'm not there or if I'm uncomfortable about their interaction and leaving them together. I wouldn't want one group thinking they have first right to the territory. How big is your coop? The bigger the better.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
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Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Wow, a month or two? I was really hoping I could put them all together due to being young. What do people do when ordering different breeds of juveniles to start a new flock? Our coop is 3x5 and the run is 5x7. The chickens will mostly free range so I didn't build a huge coop.Could they be fenced during the day and then put together in the coop at night? 

post #4 of 8
With that small of coup and run you m8ght be asking for problems. Most would agree that you need 10 sqft run space per bird and 4 sqft for coop per bird
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

The coop will be 2 feet off the ground to make the available run space actually 5x10'. That would be 10 sqft per chicken. Should I include the space under the run like I'm planning? The coop would have 3 sqft her chicken. I read 2 sqft and 4 sqft per chicken so I just went in the middle with 3sqft. We are building the coop this weekend so I still have time to make dimension changes. Should I make the coop 20 sqft?

post #6 of 8
Where are you located? If you're any where it gets cold, or your birds need to be locked inside the coop for bad weather, you will have troubles with that coop size. There's the recommended square footage and there should be a healthy recommended square footage. Confine birds often develop behavioral problems from being crowded and confined. I would make things as big as possible, especially the run area to avoid problems down the road.

There are times that integration goes easier. One is when younger than three weeks, the other is when introducing chicks to adults, both are normal situations for a chicken. Introducing juveniles to juveniles can be easy or tricky, just be prepared for trouble and hope that you don't have any.
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
Chickens, muscovy ducks, turkeys, donkeys , goats, dogs, fish, parakeets, a parrot, and a cat.

Chickens and dogs are healing to the soul.

I brake for squirrels.

Some of my birds.
http://www.backyardchickens.com/a/my-wisconsin-flock
Reply
post #7 of 8

I don't have experience with integrating pullets this young, however when I have integrated slightly 3-4 month old pullets, I separated them in pens where they could see each other for a few days, and then usually integrated after3 or 4 days without any problem.  I already had one group living in the coup at night, though, so I would pen the newcomers within the larger run, and then move them into a cat carrier or dog crate to sleep at night as a temporary coop.  When it was time to integrate, I put them in the coop with the others at night, and then watched them carefully the next morning when I let them out.  As long as there wasn't anything overly aggressive going on when they were let out, I felt comfortable leaving them together and checking in throughout the day.  I've done this a couple of times and it has worked fairly well. 

 

As for coop size, I have 4 large birds in a 9.5 sq/ft coop (so only about 2 sq/ft per bird).  They do fine, however, I have a 150 sq/ft run and live where it is warm enough that they spend all their waking hours in the run and use the coop only for sleeping.  If I lived somewhere with cold winters where my birds may need to spend more time in the coop, I would definitely need a bigger coop. 

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

We live in Pennsylvania so winters can get pretty cold. I think I'm going to adjust the coop size to 4'x6' and the run to 6'10'.  I really like the idea of a dog crate or cat carrier as a temporary coop at night. We have both. Thanks for sharing how you integrated young pullets together. I'll try this method and let you know how it goes. This thread has been way more informative than all of chicken research I've done on this topic! 

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