Adding 24 to existing flock of 4

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Matzwd, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. Matzwd

    Matzwd Songster

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    I am not sure how to go about integrating 24 babies with my existing small flock of 4. The four adults are three standard hens with a silkie rooster. The newbies I'm adding will include 12 bantams of various breeds and 12 standards of various breeds.

    The plan for final living arrangements is to have the standards and the silkie rooster in one coop (16 total) and the new bantams (12 or fewer, depending on number of cockerels) in a different coop. My issue is that the chicks are all being brooded together, so when do I separate them?

    The reason for the separate coops is chicken math. My husband built a beautiful coop last spring, but it isn't big enough for everyone when they are stuck inside during bad weather. It would be fine for sleeping only. We will have another coop within the next couple of weeks.

    Another question is about integrating a larger number of chicks with a very small existing flock. It almost seems like it could be easier to "integrate" the year-olds with the babies. I would like to change the existing girls and roo to the new coop because it will be bigger for them., although either coop could accommodate them. So my thought is to move the adults to be confined in the new coop so it becomes "home" and let the babies have the old coop. Then, after everyone has figured out where they belong, move the standard chicks into the coop with the existing flock, and lock them in for a few days while allowing the existing flock out. Would that work? Ideas?
     
  2. chickens really

    chickens really Crazy Call Duck Momma

    Lock up the 4 in a look no touch pen and see how it goes after a week.
     
    Mybackyardpeepers likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    How big is this coop, in feet by feet(pics would be great)?
    Is there power out there?

    How old are the chicks?
    I like to brood in coop 1 week after hatch and integrate by 4-6 weeks.
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/integrating-new-birds-at-4-weeks-old.72603/
    So much simpler(once you get it set up) tn integrating at and older age.
    You could then move bantams when new coop arrives.
     
    FlappyFeathers likes this.
  4. Matzwd

    Matzwd Songster

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    That's what I was kind of thinking. It might be easiest to pen up the older ones.
     
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  5. Matzwd

    Matzwd Songster

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    I do have a grow out coop with attached run that is object for see/no touch, but it won't hold this many chicks for long. I could potentially create a space for the standard babies in the coop with the four adults and finish brooding the bantams in the grow out coop, in an effort to get then outside sooner. I could use a brooder plate for each coop.

    This is the best pic I can show until I take some better ones tomorrow. The existing flock is in the coop inside the enclosed black run. The shed that will be made into a second coop would be to the left, facing the front of the existing coop. The coop and run with the green roof is a store purchased one used as a grow out coop/infirmary. All structures are surrounded by a chain link fence. The current adult flock is left out of the black run and out of th he outer fence every morning. If the weather is stormy, they aren't let out of the run. I would live to be able to have all the chickens using that black run when I need them to stay secured. We thought we could create some kind of tunnel from the shed to the run.
    20181025_174350.jpg
     
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  6. SurferchickinSB

    SurferchickinSB Crowing

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    Not sure, but it looks like it would be sort of small for 28 chickens to fit into, Unless I’m not looking at the correct picture.
     
  7. FlappyFeathers

    FlappyFeathers Crossing the Road

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    I would divide your babies now into the groups you want them to be in and brood them where they will live permanently (next to your older birds). If you have 2 heat plates it should be easy. I agree it's almost like integrating the 4 in with the babies. My chicks are almost 3 weeks old and my older hens have been somewhat afraid of the new babies, I'd hate to see what happened if they never met until later, especially with a larger group like you have.

    I used @aart 's method of integration last year and again currently, very easy and peaceful.
    20190416_162610.jpg 20190418_125220.jpg integrating-chicks.jpg

    If you can just make some sort of divider in the coop between the chicks, you'll only need it for a few weeks. I start with HWC divider (middle pic) for a week or 2, then switch to something the chicks can come and go through but hens can't fit (3rd pic with 3.5" spaces) for another week or so. The babies will gain confidence and follow what the older birds do and start roosting on their own.

    If you plan for both flocks to range together at times, it would probably be a good idea to also get those groups together as often as possible in an open area so everyone is familiar with each other. And have multiple food and water stations available to help reduce squabbling.
     
    Merci BeauCoop likes this.
  8. Matzwd

    Matzwd Songster

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    Since it will be a couple of weeks before the new coop is ready, would it be best to:
    A) Leave chicks in indoor brooder for now

    B) Put the standard babies in their house with the bigs (screened off of course) and put the banty babies in the grow out coop

    C) Put them all it n the grow out coop

    D) Put all babies is the big girl coop

    The switching of coops later thing is what's got me thinking. I really want to put the standards in the new coop when it is ready.

    Other issues that can later be worked out are the fact that only the current big girl coop is inside the secured enclosure. The coop (without nest boxes) is 5 x 8. The.enclosure around it is 12 x 24 and completely secure, with 18"of concrete around the perimeter, locking doors, and a roof. All three coops are within a 50 x 50 five-foot chain link fence. It is possible to add electric wires to the chain link, but it would be ideal if we could funnel all the chickens into the secured run. Currently, the automatic for keys the girls into the run, abs when I get around to it, i let them out, leaving the gate to the chain link open for them to free range for the day until they go to bed. Then I go out and lock them into the run for the night.

    Here are some more pics of the general setup. Green roof is grow out coop, red roof is current coop, and bldg to left will be new coop.
    20190421_080611.jpg

    Another angle:
    20190421_080700.jpg
     
    Merci BeauCoop likes this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

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    I remember your coop and cool enclosure!

    Man, a lot of options, none fantastic....'Chicken Juggling' time.
    A) would be good if you can stand it, might spur you to finish new shed faster?
    B) could be good, but how much work?
    C) is tight space for 24 chicks, but if it's bigger than brooder might be fine for a couple weeks.
    D) how much space can you create in there?
     
  10. Matzwd

    Matzwd Songster

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    Thank you aart! The enclosure has been great and very functional for us. And I agree, none of the options are fantastic with regard to moving chickens. To answer some questions about juggling options:
    A) would be good if you can stand it, might spur you to finish new shed faster? I can definitely stand it and think they still have enough space for now. This seems the easiest option as long as hubby understands the urgency,l. He is the construction expert. He has decided it would be better to construct another coop within the enclosure, and he is not wrong. The reason for going over the options was to begin integration as soon as possible. Here's the brooder, enough room?
    20190422_073011.jpg

    B) could be good, but how much work? Really we would just need to build a hardware cloth enclosure in the coop for the babies. The grow out coop is ready to go. The thing is, if I separate the babies now in this manner, they won't see each other because they would then be in separate brooders. I feel like that might create more issues later.
    C) is tight space for 24 chicks, but if it's bigger than brooder might be fine for a couple weeks. The grow out coop itself is bigger than the brooder, and then it has the attached run. I'm glad you asked because that caused me to go out and actually measure it. It had looked similarly sized, but now I think that is probably the way to go. The only issue with it is that some chicks probably are too young to use the ramp. I suppose those who go down will be able to go up.
    D) how much space can you create in there? Probably not any more than we have with the brooder box.
     

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