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Merging young flock with old

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

It is still work in progress but I am so thrilled that I just want to share the experience. 

I have introduced new mature birds to a flock in the past using sneaking in at night strategy with success. 

This year I will be introducing a flock of chicks to a mature flock.  I read on BYC about various methods and kept the info in mind. 

The chicks are now 6-8 weeks old.  They have been neighbors to the big sisters for two weeks.  Since I saw no sign of aggression when all the birds were next the each other with a thin fence between, I decided to throw a big bird into the chicks' coop and see what would happen... Nothing!  The big bird seemed to really like the starter feed and that was about it.  So I threw another big bird in.  Same result.  The chicks seemed a bit scared but I think they will get comfortable in time.  I plan to contuinue the introduction and then soon one morning... they will wake to new coop mates.

I am so relieved and want to thank fellow BYC members for all the knowledge.

post #2 of 43

Be on guard! I tried to mix my 23-9 week old pullets with the flock after they lived next to eachother for a month (I moved the chicks out to the coop brooder) Well after 3 days I found a Welsummer pullet with her neck pecked to the skin. I am now treating her for 2 weeks and playing chicken shuffle with all birds. 2 days ago I let the pullets out to free range with the big birds and all is well, minor peck to get out of my way or hey I am the boss here but all seems ok.

Just be ware and keep an eye on them

Chick Chick Eggers home to 5 Black Maran, 6 Speckled Sussex, 4 Salmon Favorelle, 6 Welsummer, 1 BO, 1 BR, 1 RIR, 1 SLW, 7 EE's. The rest of the gang are 2 Pinto Miniature horses. Black/White Standard Parti Poodle and a Smooth Fox Terrier.
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Chick Chick Eggers home to 5 Black Maran, 6 Speckled Sussex, 4 Salmon Favorelle, 6 Welsummer, 1 BO, 1 BR, 1 RIR, 1 SLW, 7 EE's. The rest of the gang are 2 Pinto Miniature horses. Black/White Standard Parti Poodle and a Smooth Fox Terrier.
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post #3 of 43

What are your thoughts on merging chicks? I have 5 Delaware that I have seperated form the rest because of pecking issues, so I gave them more room with a second brooder. However I am a bit concerned on the final merger. As the weather warms I am planning on allowing alot of time in the run together. Are there normally issues with chickens of the same age, or do they usually behaiv themselves?

Sorry not intending to hijack your thread.

Chickens- 4 Rhode Island Red (3 hens 1 Roo), 2 Delaware, 3 White Leghorns, 3 Buff Orpington, 2 EE's, 2 Black Australorp.
Dogs- 1 Yellow lab, 1 Chocolate Lab.
Bees- Italian, Carniolan. Added 1 swarm caught 5/24/11  (unknown species)
Looking to add rabbits and a couple pigs to the assortment.
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Chickens- 4 Rhode Island Red (3 hens 1 Roo), 2 Delaware, 3 White Leghorns, 3 Buff Orpington, 2 EE's, 2 Black Australorp.
Dogs- 1 Yellow lab, 1 Chocolate Lab.
Bees- Italian, Carniolan. Added 1 swarm caught 5/24/11  (unknown species)
Looking to add rabbits and a couple pigs to the assortment.
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post #4 of 43
Thread Starter 

Hi Tool,

No problem.  I did merge chicks from different age and physical groups when I bought them.  They were about three weeks apart.  It seems that the younger they are, the easier.

From my end, the merger took place and it was not the seamless transition that I hoped.  The big birds moved into the young birds' coop because it was the larger one.  I used the stranger in the night approach.  Though no big fights, no feather flying, no blood, the birds did not embrace either.  The big birds were at easy.  The young birds timidly scurried around.  On the first night, they jostled for roost position for a while.  Second night, no fuss.

On the first night, my Production Red laid an egg while sleeping on the new roost.  The egg fell 3 feet and broken.  I wondered if she had a dream about laying.  big_smile

post #5 of 43

I'm ready to merge my new 8 week old hens, but I read that it is extremely bad for the young ones to eat laying feed.  Does anyone have a suggestion about how to do this?  I don't see how to keep the chicks from sampling the laying hens' food.

1 very funny and tolerant husband, 2 boys (23 and 13), one beautiful tabby long haired kitten (our 18 year old cat died), 2 beautiful rescue dogs, 5 zebra finches, 1 guinea pig, 1 rhode island red, 1 new hampshire red,  1 red ameracauna and 1 old english bantam.
Maui - 'nuff said.

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1 very funny and tolerant husband, 2 boys (23 and 13), one beautiful tabby long haired kitten (our 18 year old cat died), 2 beautiful rescue dogs, 5 zebra finches, 1 guinea pig, 1 rhode island red, 1 new hampshire red,  1 red ameracauna and 1 old english bantam.
Maui - 'nuff said.

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post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by emmak 

I'm ready to merge my new 8 week old hens, but I read that it is extremely bad for the young ones to eat laying feed.  Does anyone have a suggestion about how to do this?  I don't see how to keep the chicks from sampling the laying hens' food.


Use an all purpose feed and feed oyster shell separately.
Dale-Ann

"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
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"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."
Groucho Marx
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post #7 of 43

Remove the layer feed. Put out grower or flock raiser with loose oyster shell for the grown ups to pick at.

A happy home nestled in the woods of the farmcoast
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A happy home nestled in the woods of the farmcoast
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post #8 of 43
Thread Starter 

emmak,

It was a dilemma for me as well.  I decided to free choice both, since I need to use up the starter feed anyway.  The starter need turned out to be the more popular choice.

post #9 of 43

I'm going to try mixing the old ones into the chicks. Nice to hear you were successful. Please keep us updated and good luck! Sounds as if its going to work for you. Maybe some breeds (mature) are easier to mix. I have Doms and I think they'll be OK. I also have RedCaps and they might not be kind. Good luck!

        Hi! I share High Meadows Farm with my great husband and son, an Australian Shepherd, an Arab, a Morgan

         3 cats, Redcap,  Appenzeller Spitzhauben, Dominiques,  Augsburger chickens  and a bunch of wild critters.

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        Hi! I share High Meadows Farm with my great husband and son, an Australian Shepherd, an Arab, a Morgan

         3 cats, Redcap,  Appenzeller Spitzhauben, Dominiques,  Augsburger chickens  and a bunch of wild critters.

Reply
post #10 of 43

We are trying to add 8 wk old chicks to our coop which has only 1 surviver of our first year of chickens.  She is a 14 month old Rhode Island Red.  We put the 5 new ones in her coop/run last night and she was very agitated but seemed to just stay away from them.  However, just now my daughter found one of the babes with a big gash on top of her head.  My thought is to let them all deal with it and figure out themselves how to get along (like maybe the new group can protect themselves from the older one).  Two questions - will they all eventually learn to get along?  and do we need to give the wound first aid and/or separate her until she heals?  Thanks for any help!

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