How I integrated my chickens in 2 weeks

The story of how I did my first integration!
By ChickenGirl555 · Nov 22, 2017 · ·
  1. ChickenGirl555
    First of all, I'd like to acknowledge all of the wonderful people who helped me along the way, @drumstick diva @aart and @Mrs. K . These three put up with my annoying, multiple posts. (Sorry Aart!) and tried to help as much as they could.
    Now saying this I'd also like to say I'm sorry if while you read this you think, "Man, that was dumb!". I'm only on my first (now whole!) flock of 8, and I got them August 2017. Thank you once again everybody! I'd also like to mention since the pullets were not laying eggs yet, the pecking order wasn't fully established which had made it the slightest bit easier to squeeze the chicks in, since there was nothing to change.

    I have 2 chicks, Terry and Chewy, that I call the 'Littles'. I rescued them and found out Chewy is a naked neck cockerel, and Terry is some type of silkie mix pullet. I have 6 pullets (my first chickens) that I call the 'Bigs'. Once the Littles were feathered enough to go outside, I grabbed my old medium sized dog cage and put it inside of the Bigs' run. Then I put the Littles in the cage with their food and water, and a couple towels to shield them from the wind. I let the Bigs into the run and they were super confused and interested, I left the chicks out there for about an hour since they weren't the warmest chicks in the world yet. I did this for the first week and later in the week started letting them stay in the cage all day.

    The second week, the Littles created their own hiding space when I let them interact with the adults. It was the small opening between the look-don't-touch cage and the chicken wire run wall. It worked to let the Littles cool down after a lot of pecking, and they continuously did this for the whole week, letting the Littles out for the whole day. And then on the weekend, I put the Littles into the coop, and took out the now-filthy dog cage out, and put a simple cardboard box with holes cut out in the coop. I started by locking the door to the run and putting one or two Bigs in at a time, so the Littles wouldn't be as overwhelmed. This also made the Bigs feel less protected with less friends to back them up, and helped the chicks bond with the pullets personally. Then once every Big had their turn, I unlocked the door, allowing the Bigs to come in and out of the run as they pleased, the chicks soon learned how to get onto the roosts, and watched the adults from there. I left them like this and later that night came back to lock the run door, and saw the Littles sleeping next to the Bigs, I was so happy and woke up to find the Bigs eagerly waiting as they always do for me to open the run door.

    So this was how a new chicken owner like me was able to pull off an integration with no losses. My advice? DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK BYC MEMBERS FOR HELP!! They are the most useful tool out of everything I've ever read, plus they are super kind and understand what it's like from your point of view, especially if you ask on your state thread!

    So good luck to all of you newbies out there, and don't give up!

    Chewy, above
    Terry, above
    When the chicks used their old hiding spot, above

    Mealworm Eating.jpg
    Some of my Bigs eating mealworms, above

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  1. ChickdaddyAZ
      amstultz likes this.
  2. PolishChickMama
    @ChickenGirl555 Thank you very much for sharing your integration story. I just read it and it is so helpful. We have two polish hens (10 mos old and started laying back in September- but stopped laying in October because they started to molt AND the days were getting shorter) who are very loving and hardly ever squabble with each other at all. We want to add 2 or 3 more polish this spring and are quite nervous. You more than likely will be hearing from me again - hopefully to just say thank you again for the great info, but definitely if I have questions.
  3. TeenageRooster's Dad
    Great Article! I love it. Great approach, it's not rocket science but when it does go wrong, it's nasty...
    Awesome job @ChickenGirl555 .


    I would be laying in a puddle with feathers around me if it wasn't for!
      amstultz likes this.
  4. Helenahenbasket
    The “big” on the left is sooo cute!!
  5. Harley Chick
    Great information!!!!!!!!! I too have bigs and just adopted 2 littles. I will use this process to introduce the babies. I've been researching what to do and came across this!!!!!!! Thank you :wee
  6. ChickenGirl555
    I'd like to let you all know that one of the Bigs, Brittney the buff Orpington in the last picture, has claimed them as hers and she is the only one that doesn't hurt them and that the chicks aren't afraid of. I'm super happy about this, because now that it is very cold, they have a momma that always snuggles next to them at night on the roosts!
      PolishChickMama likes this.
  7. puckpuck8
    You can read all the posts on how introduce new chickens to the flock. It is taking action and learning hands on that is the best experience. One of my original hens past away and I got one new pullet, it got chased around a lot. A neighbor who use to raise chickens suggested that I get a Buddie for the new hen, it worked, both hens got chased for a while by the older flock. Eventually they were both accepted. Many articles give general terms on long it takes to introduce new hens as each hen has a separate personality to how they accept newbies. My older hens took about a month to accept the new hens, it was a good learning experience.
      ChickenGirl555 likes this.
    1. ChickenGirl555
      Yes, I think the ages of my birds also played a big part in the speed of the integration, as I said in the article (I think I did), they were only teens and chicks, so there wasn't a pecking order fully established yet, they were beginning to create on it.
      Harley Chick likes this.
  8. ThenNotSoChickenMaster
    Nice little naked-neck, they are my favorite breed.
      ChickenGirl555 likes this.
  9. Riley Ranch
    Just wanted to say the pictures are adorable. You did a great job. Kuddos :ya
      ChickenGirl555 likes this.

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