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Add chickens to a current flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by rice7438, May 27, 2011.

  1. rice7438

    rice7438 Out Of The Brooder

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    May 24, 2011
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    I really want to get a couple EEs but I am nervous its too late for me to add them without stressing them out. My girls are almost 5 weeks and there are six of them. They are my first and I didnt realize that I would love them so much! I really want to get some EEs but is there pecking order already in place??? thoughts??
     
  2. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    I added three chicks last summer six weeks after I got my first batch of six. While the age difference is already too big to let the new babies room with the "big" girls, it's not too late to go ahead and get them.

    While your five-week olds are about ready for life in the coop, the small ones will need their own brooder for the next month.

    The best way to merge them when the new ones feather out around four or five weeks is to move them into the coop after the older ones have gone out into the pen for the day. Enclose the newbies in the coop, not letting the older ones in. At sundown, when the older ones want to go inside to roost, open the pop hole and let them in. It will help to place the babies on the roost if they'll stay.

    Anyway, everyone is usually more intent on roosting than hassling the new ones so it will probably go well. There will be some pecking the next few days until the little ones understand the pecking order, but it shouldn't be anything as brutal as full grown hens. Of course you will need to stand by and referee and handle any problems that arise, but I don't think you'll have many with them so close in size as they will be by then.
     
  3. rice7438

    rice7438 Out Of The Brooder

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    thank you thank you! I really appreciate the information. I feel much better now! [​IMG]
     
  4. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    One more thing I just now thought of. If you can handle more than two new chicks, it would really be better for them if they were a larger number, like four at the minimum. If you can handle six more, that would be ideal, and trust me, you'll probably end up wanting more by this time next year anyway, so may as well just go for it now!

    The reason behind this is that your six five-week olds are a unit. They will be BFF's for life, and will do everything together. This is how chickens roll. So just getting two new chicks is going to put them at a distinct disadvantage as a unit of only two. If the new unit were to be four, or ideally six, they will be less likely to be treated roughly by the original six.

    My youngest three are only just barely a large enough unit, and they get constantly pecked by the four-year olds, and the three-year olds, as well as the one-year olds. They are the smallest BFF unit in the flock, and I think it would have been a bit easier on them if I'd made it four when I got them.

    You've heard of "chicken math"? Well, this is a variation of it, and by increasing your new batch to four or more will give you a big leg up on chicken math, which has already claimed you as a new victim. May as well just surrender and go for it!
     
  5. rice7438

    rice7438 Out Of The Brooder

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    thank you...yes I understand that now that you explained it. I will see about getting six to make it even. Love this forum....information is amazing!![​IMG]
     
  6. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    And it doesn't matter that they are different breeds mixed in the BFF unit. My youngest unit is two Buff Brahmas and one EE. They aren't prejudiced like people.

    So get a couple each of different breeds. Cochins are cuddly and very sweet, EE's are very friendly and want to jump in my lap all the time, and Brahmas are laid back and self confident. Wyandottes are beautiful and wicked layers, but a bit stand-offish.

    I think you're going to have fun with a mixed flock!
     

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