Adding to the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by storm chicken, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. storm chicken

    storm chicken In the Brooder

    May 5, 2017
    Due to unforeseen circumstances, my new flock of five just became two. (3 out five were roos ). I have two 12 week old barred rock. I've just added two EE and a red sex link. They are about 5 weeks old. Currently I have a small run for the new girls, within the main run and I have the coop separated with chicken wire. They are together yet separate 24/7. My question is this: How long should this process of separation continue before I can start letting them be together? Any thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated.

  2. Scooter&Suzie

    Scooter&Suzie Songster

    Jun 23, 2011
    When I introduced birds, I had them in the separate cage, next to the chicken run, I think just 2-4ish days maybe? It's was a long time ago, so maybe I gave them more time, I'm not quite sure. What you can do is try a couple days in the cage, then put them all together and see how it goes. You'll definitely see pecking, but if the new birds aren't able to get to the food and water because of excessive pecking, give them a couple more days, then try it again. Don't worry too much about pecking though, it's something that I've always seen when introducing chickens. Although mine were fully grown, I've merged chicks before with zero problems. My guess is yours might not be as easy as chicks, but hopefully not as brutal as full grown chickens.
    storm chicken likes this.
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member 5 Years

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC!
    I'd give it at least a week of separation. Then maybe make a door/opening in the new chicks run so they can get in and out and the biggers cannot.

    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
    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.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
    Scooter&Suzie and storm chicken like this.

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