Adding to the flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lenn, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. lenn

    lenn In the Brooder

    Apr 24, 2014
    Adding 5 Polish chicks to our 5 hens (they will be a year old when we get the new chicks) this spring. How old should the chicks be before we introduce them to the others. Better to keep them separated in their own coop or .... Connect the two coops from the begining?
  2. Radioactive Egg

    Radioactive Egg In the Brooder

    Oct 13, 2014
    Perth, Western Australia
    With the age, what I've done in the past is introduce chicks at around 15-20 weeks old depending on how big they are compared to the chickens. If they are almost as big as the chickens, then they won't get pecked as much. If they're smaller, they'll be more inferior to the chickens and get pecked more.
    With separation, to reduce pecking when fully joined with the chickens, divide the coop (if you can, it only works with some coops) with chicken wire. This means they can see each other without attacking each other. Do this until you can put them near each other and the chickens won't be tempted.
    [​IMG] Fingers crossed it works for you!
    - Radioactive Egg out
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens to flock.

    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

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