Adding a chicken to an existing flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Oktober, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Oktober

    Oktober Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Rhode Island
    Hello All,

    To make a long story short, we have a 18 month old Orpington hen who has lost her two coop-mates back in the spring (we started with three last summer and lost two since). This past summer, we got 4 more chicks, which have grown up to be 6 month old (EE, two Wyndottes, and a RIR). I built a new coop with a run for them this fall (4'x4' Purina Mills design) and we put all 4 of the new chickens in the new coop.

    Here's the problem - how do we integrate the 18 month old Orpington in with the flock of 6 month olds in the new coop? We've tried putting her in the run with the others for some supervised interaction, and the 6 month olds invariably start fighting and pecking the 18 month old. However, I need to find a way to combine the Orpington into the flock she has been without any coop-mates for 4-6 months, and with the cold temperatures, we get worried she might not make it through one of these cold nights by herself.

    Does anyone have any suggestions or guidance on how best to combine all our chickens under one roof? Unfortunately I work from sun up to sun down Monday - Friday, so heavy-handed intregration techniques (i.e. sitting with them every day for a week) won't work well for me.

    Thanks so much!

  2. misssunfish

    misssunfish Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 20, 2012
    Cape Cod, MA
    Is there any way that you can separate the run and let your 6 month olds see the 18 month old, but not be able to reach her? I did this in my run this summer with my pair of 2 year old Orpingtons and my 5 month old pullets. They were able to at least get used to each other before I did finally open the entire run up to both of them. I'm not sure what your situation is, but you could also try letting them free range together. Once they start to hang out together, try putting the 18 month old in the coop at night with your other chickens. There might be some initial pecking at first, but I found that they settle down rather quickly in the evening when they are getting ready to roost. You could try doing it on the weekend when you can spend some time outside watching them together.
  3. dirtsaver

    dirtsaver Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 20, 2010
    Northern Kentucky
    I know it's a bit late in the year but misssunfish has it right on the money. We have a combination brooder/grow-out coop in the chicken yard. We put up a small fence around the brooder so the young ones can get outside and the older girls see the chicks grow up. When the chicks are pretty close to full grown we start letting them out with the older girls while we are out to supervise. It doesn't take but a week or two until we can intergrate both flocks into one and shut down the brooder until the next crop of chicks.

    Sorry for the long-winded reply but maybe this method can be utilized for your situation.

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