3 year olds mix with 6-7 week olds?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by timco, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. timco

    timco Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2008
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Two nights ago we had a raccoon...how should I say this...injure 2 of our chickens to the point that I had to finish the job personally. Very sad night. A BR and a EE died. We found a person selling in our area but all are 6-7 week old birds. Our current flock is 3 or so years old, 4 remain out of 6. We are thinking about 3-4 new birds. Plenty of range area. We have a 'pen' area outside of the main enclosure where we could isolate by day, but what is best to integrate the new with the older? At night? We have only one coop. We now seal the coop at night, and have traps set out with twinkies & vanilla as bait.

    Note: the queen was one of the victims and there is currently a power struggle for the throne. I think I know which RIR will try to rise to power, but our thinking is that this uncertain time in the hierarchy is a perfect time to introduce new birds.

    Thanks, Tim & Joan
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2010
  2. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    First of all, I'm sorry about the loss of your chickens, and how you had to put them out of their misery.

    I would suggest you quarantine the new birds for a month, keeping them completely separate from your existing flock. That way you can spot and treat and diseases or parasite problems in the younger birds before introducing them to your flock.

    The usual recommendation is to allow the existing flock to be able to see but not get to the new birds for an introductory period before you integrate them. The problems of integration pop up under confinement, usually not free ranging where there is plenty of room for a bullied bird to simply get away.

    It's also usually recommended not to integrate younger birds into a flock until they're nearly fully grown and almost the same size as the adults. No matter when you do it, though, expect pecking order squabbles and keep an eye out to make sure they don't turn serious (bloody). Also watch to make sure the younger birds aren't being kept away from food/water by the established hens. You can set up two feeding/water stations in opposite ends of the run or coop.

    Good luck!
  3. timco

    timco Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 14, 2008
    Salt Lake City, UT
    Thanks. Does anyone suppose that by adding 4 new to 4 old, there might be a better outcome? I can see where one new bird would get pecked, but 4 new might do better?
  4. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    Quote:Yes, larger numbers of the younger is helpful. It is also helpful to give them some place to hide from the older. I have successfully integrated very young chicks into the flock, and the key (for me, anyway) is to give them a place to hide and eat within the coop. They don't exactly become best buds with the big girls, but they can all get along without bloodshed.

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