Adding Chickens...What to do?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by callieriggs, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. callieriggs

    callieriggs Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 3, 2015
    Our favorite chicken was found dead in the coop while we were on vacation. So sad. We only had 3 chickens. Our 2 remaining chickens are a golden laced wynadotte and a polish tophat. Now we are trying to figure out what to do for additional chickens here. We definitely want to replace our Red Star that died. We are planning on two chicks for sure. For the second chick I am torn between a buff orppington and an americauna. I think the most important factor is that they be friendly. Would you recommend one over the other?

    We are also considering getting a 4 month old bantam cochin mix (from Carol Henley) to be friends with our polish. Is this reasonable or silly? I am wondering how integration will go with this one.... If we get this chicken we would only get 2 chicks. So we are trying to decide between 2 chicks and the 4 month old or jsut getting 3 chicks.

    Our Wynadotte used to pick on our Polish but since the red star died they seem to get along fine. I think I may be putting too many human emotions on these chickens. Your thoughts are appreciated.

    If we get 2 or three chicks when should we try to integrate them into the big coop? We are fortunate to have 2 seperate coops. Our starter coop and the new one we built for leaving them on vacations. They live in the big one but the little one is just sitting in the yard so I know I can start the babies in there if I need to but I am not sure if it is better to leave them apart or just get them in with the other 2.

    Feel like I am starting to ramble. Really wish our sweet Nutmeg was still with us. :( Thanks for your help!
  2. BuffOrpington88

    BuffOrpington88 Non-Stop

    Mar 20, 2012
    Sorry about Nutmeg [​IMG]. It's really hard losing a chicken.

    As for the bantam vs. 3 chicks, I would say it's just personal preference. Integrating the bantam with your other chickens would probably be fine when the bantam gets older.

    Edited to add:I haven't had an Americauna, but I would totally recommend Orpingtons for their friendliness! They are the sweetest chickens I've ever had. One of mine is loves being picked up and just sitting on people's laps. And they are fluffy and fun!

    That is totally plausible. The pecking order probably shifted around now that the RIR isn't there and they're now the only two.

    It would be best to keep the hens and the chicks separate until they are around the same size so there's a less chance for bullying. By all means, introduce them when they are younger when they are free ranging and stuff (that will make the transition go smoother), but it will be best if they have separate living quarters until the chicks are older.

    Good luck! [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    'Friendliness' based on breed is a crap shoot, birds are individuals and for the most part choosing a 'friendly breed' (especially if based on anecdotal information) may well lead to disappointment. 'Americana' are probably Easter Eggers, not true Ameraucana, unless coming from a reputable breeder of Ameraucana. They are a cross that probably contain some Ameraucana lines and can lay blue, green, pink or brown eggs. The fact that they are a cross puts any breed 'friendliness' out of the picture. Yes, too many human emotions applied anthropomorphically. Learn about chicken behaviors and temperament instead of equating them to human behaviors and you'll be a better chicken keeper in the long run.

    Get the birds you want to have by looks or egg color. Mixing bantams with large fowl can be a problem, some are successful but the smaller birds can be at a disadvantage....but then so might your polish, if it's head gear inhibits it's vision.

    What ever you choose, lots of space, multiple feed/water stations, and places of refuge, will always make integration easier.

    I have found that the old rule if thumb of waiting until 'birds are of equal size' to be fallacy.
    I integrated this years chicks at about 4 weeks old.
    They went into the coop at 1 week with their heater, separated by a mostly mesh temporary wall from the main flock.
    They had their own feed, water, roost, and run in the 'coop partition' as I call it.
    At 4 weeks I opened the three tiny doors in the mesh wall and 'taught' them how to go in and out.
    At 6 weeks I took down the wall completely.
    There were a few pecks of course, some of the bigs pestered the littles more than others, but overall it was much less dramatic than usual.
    I think the chicks were less of a 'threat' than when I used to wait until the chicks were larger...and a smaller, faster target to hit, haha!
    Now at 10 weeks old, they all get along pretty darn well.
    It was nice to get the integration over sooner rather than later and because I had way more chicks this year it was a very good move to integrate younger,
    it's pretty crowded out there, but they are already used to each other.

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