Any tips would be appreciated

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Mahan5175, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. Mahan5175

    Mahan5175 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We have two flocks one flock is of 5 hens and 1 rooster that are around 18 weeks old and we have another flock of 22 chickens that are eight weeks old. We have raised both flocks since they were one day old. The older flock is already outside in their tractor coop, and has been since they were six weeks old. The younger flock is still in their brooder at night, but during the day they are outside in an enclosed "play area."

    My question is are there any tips from anyone on when we should put the chickens together, how to do it when the time comes, and are there any warning signs or anything like that that I need to pay attention to that would indicate something is wrong.

    Thanks for all the help in advance!
     
  2. boskelli1571

    boskelli1571 Overrun With Chickens

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    Hi there,
    If possible, put the 2 enclosures side by side so everyone can see but not touch. This will help them become used to each other. The youngest ones need to be able to fend for themselves - around 10-12 weeks or so before you integrate. Night time is best. When everybody has settled down, move the young'uns into the coop with the older hens. Make sure you have enough roosting space, preferably a bit away from the older birds. Watch carefully for a few days - the assertion of the pecking order isn't pretty, but there should be no blood drawing, excessive feather pulling etc. The younger hens are usually smart enough and fast enough to avoid some well aimed pecks! [​IMG] Good luck with your girls..
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Nighttime additions can work great if you can be out there at first light to see what's going on and intervene if there's serious blood drawn.

    Space is key I think...how big is your 'tractor coop' in feet by feet? Is there plenty of room for 28 chickens?
    If you free range sometimes that's the best first meeting venue.


    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:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  4. Mahan5175

    Mahan5175 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    thanks for all the tips! We have been putting the small chicks in their caged area outside right next to the big chicks, so they see each other almost everyday. I'll definitely make something where the small chickens can escape to. I have read the byc site you gave me and that's been helpful.

    The coop has 6 nesting boxes and is 6x8. Also 4 of the 22 babies are Roos so far that we can see, and we will have to decide which one out of the Roos we want to keep. Also they are free range-ish. We have put up a moveable netting fence.

    Another question is we have 3 different roosts in the coop that are all made by 2x4s with the 4" up . One is about. 8 inches off the ground of the coop and the other ones are a little lower than and a little higher than 2 ft with a ladder to get up to it. But our big chicks won't roost at night. They sleep on the ground. I've tried to put them on the bars at night but they always end up sleeping individually on the ground. It's been in the 70's at night except this past week where it's dropped to about 50's. But they won't roost. I am not too worried about it but it does make clean up in the coop a little more difficult. But the main question of this is, will it make a difference if I do the night time introduction if the big Chicks don't roost.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That is a small coop for 28 chickens! I wouldn't put more than 10 in that space.

    They need a foot of roost length per bird, you want the roosts at least a foot higher than the nests...or they will 'roost' in the nests and fill them with night poops.

    Links in my signature to great articles about space and ventilation, I suggest you read them.

    Putting your location in your profile will help folks make more viable suggestions to solve your problems.

    Some pics of your coop and run would also help.
     
  6. Mahan5175

    Mahan5175 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    16x8 sorry was typing too fast. It's made out of an old trailer. I'll try to get pics today but it's raining out.
     

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