Adding to my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Beth C, Nov 10, 2015.

  1. Beth C

    Beth C New Egg

    Aug 15, 2014
    I have 7 chickens (mixed breeds) that are just over a year old and am trying to add 2 more. I started by keeping the new two in a separate pen but close so they could all see each other. Now about 12 weeks old, I have put everyone together and there are a few of the older chickens that do not like the newbies at all. It's been 5 days since they have all been in one run, the older chickens are chasing and pecking the new ones. To avoid being pecked the new chicks stay on the roost or hide in a nesting box. Will this get better? How long should it take for the older chicks to accept the new chicks?
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    It's important when adding new birds that the new birds can get to food and water without being driven away. Do you have a large enough coop and run, and enough feed stations so this can happen? You might try giving the 2 new gals some private space again, and perhaps put one of the girls from the middle of the pecking order in with them. Wait until they are getting along well, then add an other. By the time you have 4 - 5 girls (including the 2 new ones) doing well together, you should be able to introduce those 4 - 5 birds with less hassle. If you let them out to free range, that's an excellent time to work on integration.
  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.

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

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by