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A little advice please....

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by perrypogue, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    This is my 1st year so I surely have a lot to learn but I think I'm off to a great start.

    I made a big mistake in only purchasing 9 pullets (RIR) ... but the number of pullets seems to be the only mistake as my 9 began laying at 20 weeks and just past that age I'm getting regular production of about 6 eggs/day.

    I've been excited at the response from my small customer base as we all know these fresh eggs are wonderful.

    So now I've ordered another 12 pullets (RIR). I'm thinking that by late next spring I'll be producing about 1 1/2 dozen eggs/day. That comes from an estimation of 21 hens producing at 80% daily.

    Here's the part I'm not sure about. My coop is 12x12 and my pen is 12x24. I've partitioned off an area about 5x5 inside the coop for the chicks. They will have access to the pen as will the older birds and I can block the holes to allow only the chicks or the older birds in the pen at the same time. BTW I have 4 nesting boxes.

    I plan to remove the partition and allow all the birds to integrate when the chicks are about 20 weeks old.

    I'm wondering what will happen when this integration occurs?

    Also I have one RIR rooster.
     
  2. farm316

    farm316 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2014
    Hi and welcome to BYC..

    I have a few questions to ask..

    Where is the RIR Rooster? Is he with the older pullets?

    How old are your older pullets?

    You said you got 12 more RIR pullets and was wondering how they would get along at 20 weeks, depending on where the rooster is, the transition should be fine.. Yes the bigger ones might peck and try to overpower the smaller one's. But if they are twenty weeks they should be able to budge their way in, I mean its 9-12.. Their will be a new pecking order establishment but they should be fine.. If your not happy with the way the smaller one's might be harassed, you can always split them up again.. so it really would come down to Where your rooster is.
     
  3. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    Yes, the rooster is kept with the older pullets ... they were all raised together. I'm curious about your thoughts when you read this. I thought if there was any problem it would come from the older pullets. They are still pretty young ... born 5/15. I have the option of allowing the older pullets and rooster free range on my fenced acre ... then I could let them alternate free ranging with the younger pullets. It was just my intention for them all to roost in the same coop ... it should be large enough I think ... and I thought all 21 birds could use the same 4 nesting boxes.
     
  4. farm316

    farm316 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 28, 2014
    Yes,

    I like the idea about taking turns on free-ranging. What is the mood of the older Hens? Aggressive, Mild, Easy going?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    You might want to put a couple small doors in the partition wall after the chicks are a couple weeks old,
    so the chicks can go in and out of their area but the older birds cannot.
    You'll have to 'show' the chicks the doors, one day while the older birds are out in the run




    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.......
    ......take what applies or might help and ignore the rest.
    See if any of them, or the links provided at the bottom, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens into flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best of mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    Another option, if possible, is to put all birds in a new coop and run, this takes the territoriality issues away.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  6. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Haskell TX
    Thank you so much for taking the time to make those suggestions and for guiding me to the article on the subject. I think I was on the right track but there is a lot of information that I will heed. I am buying the chicks from a hatchery so I gather this is a little safer. And I'll make a door in the chicks section of my coop and allow them to get familiar with the entire coop at a time when the older pullets are free ranging. I'll also make an area that will allow the new chicks to feed with the older pullets with just a stretch of chicken wire to separate them. I'll allow the new chicks to free range when the older pullets are contained in the run or coop. I'll build a separate roosting area in the coop as well as new nesting boxes. And I'll maintain this separation until all the birds are 20 weeks old and about grown. Then at that time I'll let them integrate. All of this time I'll have new water and feeders for the new pullets. In general I'll just take it slow and keep them separated for a very long time.
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    If the small doors in the barrier are utilized frequently by the chicks, you might not have to wait until 20 weeks to take down the barrier.
    Have a roost and feed/water station in the chick area and they will continue to use them after the barrier is down.
    Once mine wouldn't fit thru the doors, they were pretty much integrated.
     
  8. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    Thank you so much. Just to clarify I think your advice is to make tiny doors from the chick's area into the rest of the coop. I won't open these doors until the chicks are at least 30 days old, but after they are a month old I'll open these doors. The chicks will be able to enter the side of the coop with the older pullets yet they will be able to flee back into their area where the older pullets can't follow. If there is some harassment from the older pullets it won't be sudden death and there will be opportunity for the chicks to return to safety. Is that about the jest of your suggestion?
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    My Coop
    That's about it....but I wouldn't wait that long, I'd start to open them up between 1 and 2 weeks.

    Lock the other birds out of the coop and shove(gently) a few of the chicks back and forth thru the little doors until they 'get it'...
    .....let them roam the big coop for a little while(30-60 minutes), then close off the little doors again with the chicks in their area.
    Repeat the next day or two.
    Then open the little doors with the big birds in the coop and supervise, helping the chicks escape only if absolutely necessary.

    Having places for the chicks to hide (that the big birds can't get into) in the big coop is a good idea too.

    All that's flexible, you'll have to play it by ear and eye.
    Some chicks may need more direction by you than others,
    some big birds might be more aggressive than others and need a 'peck'(with your fingertips) on the head to get them to back off.
     
  10. perrypogue

    perrypogue Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 17, 2015
    Haskell TX
    Thanks so much ... I'll do everything I can...BUT....I don't believe it would be possible for me to catch the chicks after 30 minutes to an hour in the big coop. I know when I had the older (now) pullets as chicks I had them under a light in a cardboard box about the size of a paper towel box or toilet tissue box and when I had the coop built and was ready to move them at about 3 weeks ... they were quite difficult to catch....lol The big coop has many more places for them to scurry to ... under my elaborate ladder structure up to the roosting area ... behind the nesting boxes ... catching them would be impossible. I think I'll have to open the little doors and trust they can find their way back in ... so I should let them get just a wee bit older.
     

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