Adding to Flock + Rooster

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by MattH, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. MattH

    MattH In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2015
    Culpeper, VA
    I going to add atleast 4 hens to my flock this year. I have 6 now. 2 Brahmas (one is a rooster) 2 RIR, and 2 Gold Comet. Most of them docile. I've been home for 3 weeks after surgery letting them free range most of the day and have noticed them getting alittle more aggressive, mainly the rooster. Nothing crazy, for the most part they really are docile. He does get upset when I touch the hens. The flock is a year old. Any suggestions when introducing them in about 6-7 months?
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016

  2. MattH

    MattH In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2015
    Culpeper, VA
    Wow, no one has ever done this before. Maybe it's easier than I thought? Or did I post in the wrong section?
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    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

    It's about territory and resources(space/food/water). Existing birds will almost always attack new ones.
    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Best example ever of chick respite and doors by azygous

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
  4. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Crowing

    Nov 12, 2009
    western South Dakota
    It is better to introduce a group, vs a single bird, so adding 4 is a good idea. I think of it as + and -.

    Home territory is +, stranger -
    Size bigger is +, smaller is -
    Number of birds more is +
    younger non laying birds are -, older mature birds are +

    Looking at your set up, you see that the bird coming into the flock are at a disadvantage, It will take time. Hide out, and roosts in the run can really help.

    Note: You are nearly planning to double your flock, measure your set up, as lack of space causes a lot of problems. Adding birds without enough space really makes for problems.

    It generally is rough, but it can be done.

    Mrs K
  5. MattH

    MattH In the Brooder

    Jun 3, 2015
    Culpeper, VA
    Thank for the replies. Im getting ready to double my run area to accommodate the birds. I thought about altering or changing my roosting poles in the coop to rearrange and start fresh for the whole flock, but I think I might leave them the way they are. There is plenty of room for old/new birds they way it is, the pecking order will just have to start over for who gets the higher posts.

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