Adding to our flock...

Jul 3, 2018
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Ohio
So my friend has to get rid of her 3 chickens as she is moving and has to downsize. I have a flock of 10 and have agreed to take them. I am in Ohio and it’s starting to get cold.

I don’t have a space to do proper quarantine but have the ability to do the see but not touch separate area in the coop. Is this a mistake? Do i need to quarantine them even though i know where they are coming from?

I don’t want to risk the health of my current birds. But not sure what i can do.

Thoughts?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

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Both your birds and your friends birds can look and be perfectly healthy. The problem comes from what diseases and organisms the birds are immuned to, but they are carrying, and those that they aren't. Quarantine won't help with that. The only way you find out about that is letting them mingle and seeing if anything develops.

It all depends on the choice and risks you are willing to take. I have in the past introduced adult birds without problems and other times some developed a respiratory infection.

You still will need to initially separate by a fence for introductions so you don't have fighting. 1-3 weeks may be enough, or it may take longer for there to be peace.
 

azygous

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I agree with @oldhenlikesdogs. If you have been visiting your friend's flock and they have been coming by to visit with your flock, whatever contagious diseases, if any, already are shared by the two flocks. Quarantine does not address viruses a chicken carries in their cells since chickens can be resistant to diseases and show no symptoms but can still pass on a virus as it sheds in poop and dander and sexual contact.
 

Mrs. K

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Has your friend taken her birds to shows or fairs? Does she routinely get birds from auctions. If so, well you are risking quite a bit more.

If she has just kept this small flock, and not had sick birds, then I would not worry about this. DO NOT TAKE ANY BIRDS you feel sorry for, while it is not perfect proof, but healthy generally looks healthy. Clear eyes, easy breathing, good, active birds and I would be willing to do this.

If her birds are the same size as your birds and laying, I would just put them in. However in my set up, I have a sufficient space in both the coop and run. In my run, I have numerous hideouts, multiple platforms, and roosts. Another trick, is to let your flock out into the yard in the morning, then add the new birds to the setup. This allows them to explore the area without being chased. Shortly before dark, let the old girls in, there will be some skirmishes, but the urge to roost is pretty strong, often times they will then have it worked out by morning.

If you are tight on space, then you have to be much more cautious.

Mrs K
 

chickens really

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When bringing in new Birds the stress from the move will bring out symptoms of the diseases they carry. Personally I would not bring them in. Plus the integration might not go too well either. The pecking order will definitely be changed and you might find yourself stressed out.
 
Jul 3, 2018
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Ohio
Well i brought them home. And of course there was more to the story. Raccoon incident and this is what’s left. 3 scared and molting chickens. So far they are in the sick bay i built right next to the flock. They can see not touch and have plenty of space. So in this position i am in no rush. My main flock is my main priority as my family has grown very attached to them since we got them. I definitely feel naive about the situation and should have been more cautious. So i will do the best i can and if it’s too much i will find them another home. Thanks for all the support. And note to self. I treat my chicken habitat with way more love, care and cleanliness and feel our farm is a better place for them. Sigh !
 

Mrs. K

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If they are right next to each other in a see but no touch, it will work for them getting to know each other, but not for diseases. Do check for parasites, such as mites or lice. But I bet in a few days, things will settle down and you will be glad you got them.
 
Jul 3, 2018
372
516
177
Ohio
@Mrs. K
@azygous @oldhenlikesdogs
So maybe i am overthinking this but it seems that the physical introductions are not going that well. 10 in my old flock and adding 3 new. 2 of the new seem very aggressive in comparison to what i am used to and all 3 new ones won’t let me anywhere near them.

It’s been 2 weeks of having them in the sick bay next to the coop to allow them to see but not touch. I have allows them all to free range together with minimal issues but when an old girl and a new girl are both in the coop it’s a disaster. I had bloody chickens on both sides.

My old girls even started to pick on my old RIR because i think they thought it was one of the new ones.

I was hoping that they would all just go into the coop tonight and i could close up the sick bay. But of course the old girls went around the back of the barn to the chicken door and the new girls walked in the front of the barn to their area.

So do i just force them all in one night and hope for the best? Or keep doing free range introductions through the week and see where they are next weekend? I am also concerned about the little Easter Eggers who is new. She is molting and in pretty bad shape. Her 2 RIR bosses pick on her in the sick bay but protect her in the yard.

Lots of info there but your thoughts were helpful before so i figured i would reach out again.
 

azygous

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It important to understand that integrating three new adult chickens into a flock of ten requires each individual to adjust to twelve other individuals. I'm including the original ten because they also will need to readjust because the three new chickens will affect the entire pecking order even among those who previously had their ranks all worked out.

Chickens do not take kindly to demands that they adjust quickly to change. They absolutely hate change and it makes them really, really crabby when they're required to adjust to anything new. Therefore, the only sane (and safe) way to handle this is to be in no rush.

If you know your individual chickens, you might consider picking three out of the old flock to spend time with the new three in their enclosure. This cuts down on the number of chickens each needs to adjust to. You can expect some kerfuffles, but try not to interfere unless things get bloody.

If you have time and space, you can play around with matching individuals one on one, which will take longer, but it will cut down on the conflicts.

You can try letting the new ones mingle with the flock for increasing lengths of time each day. It will involve confrontations. It's how chickens roll. At the very least, you should expect this process to take no less than three weeks and probably longer.
 

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