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integrating batches of young birds

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I am just starting a multi-breed flock.  Because I have to use different hatcheries, I will eventually have three batches of chicks in my large cardboard box brooders.  I will have  April,  May and  June flocks of chicks going out to the coop at different times.  Each group will be about eight weeks old when they go out. All told there will be about 50 young birds being integrated over a period of 3 months.  I only have one coop.  Any suggestions on how to integrate them?  Since they will all be less than 5 months old when the last ones get to the coop, will each group still require the lengthy look but don't touch approach? Any suggestions will be appreciated.

post #2 of 4
Younger birds are often more viscous than adults. Adult birds know to expect new chicks occasionally. Young birds want to fight and establish their own dominance structure, so adding fresh young members will not go easy sometimes, I would plan on dividing the coop initially, hopefully the first batch is integrated before the next batch is ready. Hopefully your coop is quite large for that many birds. Mine are in a 30x40 area and sometimes that can be crowded for 40-50 birds. Not physically but behaviorally.
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 4

It's so true that younger chickens are more brutal than adults. It's a lot harder integrating groups that differ in age as much as yours are going to be. The size factor is the crucial issue. You will need to keep them separated but in proximity while each group matures.

 

Keeping them separated will allow the three groups to form their individual units or sub-flocks while at the same time learning they are all one flock. If you can rig up the enclosures so each group has maximum "face exposure" to the other two groups, they will learn who each member of the flock is as well as the different temperaments of the individuals.

 

When I raise my chicks, they grow up right alongside the adults so the chicks learn who everyone is and which ones may be more dangerous than the others. It may not appear that chicks are paying much attention, but they are soaking up information and learning every minute. When they do start to mingle with the adults, everyone knows each other and how the program works.

 

So, when your chicks finally do come into direct contact with one another, and I would wait until they're all pretty close to the same size, the youngest being at minimum twelve weeks old, they should already know what to expect from the various members.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi, Thanks for the advice.  I have a few things to figure out about my coop,but I still have time and your suggestions will make it much easier for the chicks when I integrate them.  I appreciate it!

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