Any integration tips? I need help!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Country Gal, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. Country Gal

    Country Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Capac, MI
    I'm planning on purchasing 2 or 3 laying hens this weekend. Since they are already laying, I'm assuming that they are at least 18 weeks old. I currently have a coop full of chickens that are 13 or 14 weeks old.

    When I go through the older posts about integration, the situation always seems to be bringing younger birds into the flock. Since I'm doing just the opposite, will I still encounter the same problems?

    Any tips on how to do this?

    Also, since the new hens will already be laying and the rest of the flock still has about a month or so to go, what do I do about food? [​IMG] Would I be screwing my existing birds up if I switch to layer feed now? Or would the new birds get messed up if I feed them the grower feed until the rest of the birds start laying? Would putting them on the grower feed make them stop laying??? [​IMG]

    Any info would be greatly appreciated...
     
  2. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    I am by no means an expert but this is what I would do. I would follow the same procedure as if you are bringing young birds in. First I'd quarenteen them well away from the other birds for a month. Then put them in a large cage or wire off part of the coop as a separate area (with a nest box) for about a week. Then, at night, open the door to the cage or take down the wire, whatever, so that in the morning they can mingle. By the end of the quarenteen period your younger birds will be old enough for layer feed so begin mixing the two together then stop the grower leaving them just with layer. Remember, there will be pecking and squabbling as a new pecking order is established.
     
  3. Country Gal

    Country Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 2, 2007
    Capac, MI
    I assume that the month long quaranteen is to make sure they're not sick and infect the rest of the flock?
     
  4. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    That's right. When chickens are moved to a new place it really stresses them out and you can't always tell that by their behavior. The stress lowers their immune system and they can come down with something when they were perfectly healthy when you got them. I know, it's wierd. It's just a chicken thing. [​IMG] It also gives you time to check good for parasites and such. It seems like a hassle, it would be for me, but many folks loose their entire flock because they caught something from a new seemingly healthy bird.
     
  5. Country Gal

    Country Gal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    149
    Feb 2, 2007
    Capac, MI
    Aaaahh... maybe I should rethink the "adding to the flock" thought for the time being...

    Maybe it would be safer just to let one or two of my birds go broody at some point down the road and see what kind of mixes I end up with. Which brings up the food issue again - if you hatch a batch of chicks and let the mother hen raise them, do you end up having to keep that portion of the flock separated until everyone is of "laying age" and on the same food?

    Seriously, I'm really enjoying finding my inner farmer and I love my chickens and pigs, but who would have ever thought it could be so complicated???
     

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