Adding to the flock

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
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Central Alabama
I have two Golden Comet pullets that are 7 months old and I want to add a RIR Rooster that is 6 months old and two 7 week old Golden Comets. How hard is it to intergrate the new birds without stressing out either. I have heard that I can just place the Rooster with my girls with no problems but not sure about it. Thanks for any advise!
 

aart

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I have heard that I can just place the Rooster with my girls with no problems but not sure about it.
That might work out OK...depends on the cockerel...and the 7mo pullets.
6mo is still pretty young, he could be a hormonal train wreck.

The 7wo chicks is another story.
I'd plan on keeping new birds separated by wire form each other and the existing birds.

Adding new birds is almost always pretty stressful for all involved.
Knowing what your setup looks, dimensions and pics, like would help garner more viable suggestions.

Here's some tips that might help:
Integration Basics:
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.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
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Feb 2, 2009
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You have two different situations. Knowing what you have to work with can help us a lot. How many coops and runs, what size are they in feet, and how are they arranged? Photos can help a lot.

You do not have a rooster, you have pullets and a cockerel. Are your pullets laying? If they are they are probably fairly mature. Whether they are or not, it's possible you could just put the cockerel in with them and things will go really smoothly. Or he may be really rough toward them. If they are laying they might beat the crap out of the cockerel. There is only one way to find out but have a place prepared to isolate him if it proves necessary.

The seven-week-olds are different. They rank below those pullets in the pecking order because of maturity levels. If they invade the personal space of the pullets they are probably going to get pecked, maybe worse. In most flocks, if hey have sufficient room, the chicks quickly learn to stay well away from the older chickens and things work out. That's why room is so important. I'm not talking about a square feet per bird number, especially as few as you have. Can they get away from the older ones and stay away, preferable out of sight. Room matters but the quality of that room is important too. That's where Aart's "places to hide" comes in, that improves the quality of the space you do have.

I don't know how to read that cockerel. If he is fairly mature for his age (at 6 months he is probably not) he may consider the chicks a part of his flock and either leave them alone or even try to take care of them. Many mature roosters would do that. It's possible he will join the pullets and stay with them, leaving the chicks alone. Or he could bully the chicks or worse. Cockerels with the hormones flowing are unpredictable. I'd think the pullets would be more of a risk that he is but I just don't know. Immature cockerel and pullets just are not as predictable as fully mature chickens. Even when mature they can be unpredictable.

Regardless of how much room you have it's probably best to house the new birds across wire from the older ones for a week or more. Give them time to get to know each other without being able to get to each other. That can reduce aggression when they do merge. Well separated feed and water stations can help a lot. There are other tricks too but which might apply to you will depend a lot on your facilities and what you have to work with.

Some of us do this all the time and often quite smoothly. It's not a guaranteed disaster and it doesn't necessarily have to be hard. Let us know what you have to work with and maybe we can help make it smoother.
 

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
IMG_0973.JPG

The roofed area is 8' X 12' and the little outside area is 4' X 8' I had 4 pullets but lost 2, one to sour crop and one to a liver problem. My father is the one giving me the two pullets and cockerel. The cockerel because he has three and needs to get rid of two lol.
 

Ridgerunner

Free Ranging
11 Years
Feb 2, 2009
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Southeast Louisiana
That looks really nice. For the number of chickens you do not have a space problem. Two separate fenced in areas, man that is convenient. With that cockerel and his hormones you can never be sure but I don't think it is going to be that hard. Plus where you are the weather should be nice for a while so it is not a factor.

Do you have an opening between those two fenced areas, some kind of gate, door, or pop door? I'd put the cockerel in with the two pullets and see what happens. Think where you might be able to house that cockerel for a couple of weeks or even a month if you have to, but I have high hopes you won't need it.

I'd put the 7-week-old chicks in the other space for a week. Then make a hole between the two areas that the chicks can get through but the others cannot. I'm not sure what size, maybe around 4" x 4". That allows them to mix on their terms and they are familiar with a safe place to go if they need it. I don't use that safe haven concept but you are set up for it perfectly.

That coop section looks like it is probably around 4' x 8'. Be patient about where the little ones spend the night. Don't try to force them in close quarters with the older ones too soon. If they want to on their own, fine, but I;d let them roam together at least a month before I tried to move them into the main coop.

Good luck!
 

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
That looks really nice. For the number of chickens you do not have a space problem. Two separate fenced in areas, man that is convenient. With that cockerel and his hormones you can never be sure but I don't think it is going to be that hard. Plus where you are the weather should be nice for a while so it is not a factor.

Do you have an opening between those two fenced areas, some kind of gate, door, or pop door? I'd put the cockerel in with the two pullets and see what happens. Think where you might be able to house that cockerel for a couple of weeks or even a month if you have to, but I have high hopes you won't need it.

I'd put the 7-week-old chicks in the other space for a week. Then make a hole between the two areas that the chicks can get through but the others cannot. I'm not sure what size, maybe around 4" x 4". That allows them to mix on their terms and they are familiar with a safe place to go if they need it. I don't use that safe haven concept but you are set up for it perfectly.

That coop section looks like it is probably around 4' x 8'. Be patient about where the little ones spend the night. Don't try to force them in close quarters with the older ones too soon. If they want to on their own, fine, but I;d let them roam together at least a month before I tried to move them into the main coop.

Good luck!
Yes there is a pop up door between the two sections, I could tarp the roof on the outside section for the cockerel if I need to, or put the younger girls out in that section. My girls love this outside section for dust bathing but I have a tote filled with soil and peat moss and ash that stays in the covered section in case of bad weather. Hopefully things will go well and this will be a short lived situation.
 

Wil781

Songster
Apr 29, 2018
276
527
167
Central Alabama
Update: I went ahead and added the rooster today everything so far has gone well they have been using same feeder and waterer so I guess he is accepted by my girls. I have named him G Peck. In about 2 weeks I plan on putting the younger chicks in the small outdoor section. I’ll let you know how that goes when they finally meet Rosetta, Key Key and G Peck.

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