Best way to incorporate new chicks to the flock

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by daystardoberman, Nov 16, 2013.

  1. daystardoberman

    daystardoberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2013
    Without a huge disaster. I have a converted feed room as the coop with a separate nesting room. The feed room opens into a pen about 400 square feet. The feed room is 10 x 10. nest room is 10x5 with metal nest boxes I bought second hand. So my flock is doing well, but with the trial and error method and a few not so smart chickens that became dinner for a Dobe or 2, my flock is down to 13 hens. I get about 8 eggs a day, so I ordered some Plymouth Barr rocks, 10 of them. Raised them in the bathroom until they were feathered, then put a puppy X pen in the feed room put a sheet metal over it (so the girls wouldn't fly in) and a heat lamp. They've been in this get up for 2 months and are getting big. BTW my flock is a mix of Sexlinks, Leghorns Silver laced Wyandottes and a Buff Orpington, all good natured girls, let me handle them, etc...The rooster went to rooster hell where all bad roosters go. ( he kept attacking me)
    So now the PBR are getting big and the X pen is about to get crowded. I understand these are bigger chickens and at 11 weeks, are almost as big as my older gals. It is time to incorporate them together.
    My idea and tell me if I'm wrong, is to open the X pen and let the barrs wander out on their own and be able to get back in if they feel more secure in there, for a week or 2. I plan to put extra feeders out so there won't be food competition. I put the feeders and waterers out in various locations so everyone can be fed and watered, if there is a fussy hen here, they can go there. Well? Any suggestions? I need my X pen back for puppies
     
  2. daystardoberman

    daystardoberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2013
    test
     
  3. azygous

    azygous True BYC Addict

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    Are the youngsters still smaller than the adults? At eight-weeks, if I'm understanding it, they should still be small enough where smaller portals in and out of their enclosure would serve well to allow them to run to safety without the older ones being able to pursue them.

    Your main concern should be giving them a safe area to retreat to when they get chased and a safe place where they can access their food and water without being constantly bullied away, resulting in not getting enough to eat.

    It sounds like you already have the perfect setup for this. You just need to figure out a way to provide them safe access. If you can't cut holes into the X pen, then you could remove it and construct a temporary "panic room" in one corner of the building.

    That addresses what to do with them during the day. In order to introduce them into the coop, you will need to enclose them inside in order to teach them this is where they'll be sleeping from now on. I usually do this after the older girls are done laying for the day. Then I let the big girls in to roost only at the very last minute before it gets dark. You didn't describe what the babies are using to sleep in. You'll need to take it away, so they won't think that's their permanent sleeping quarters.

    The big girls will chase the babies out in the morning, and you'll need to put them into the coop at night until they get used to going in on their own. I would continue enclosing them up inside the coop early for several days. There will be some friction at roosting time for awhile, and you can lessen that by putting a divider or partition on the perch and encouraging the babies to roost at one end of it.

    This won't be easy. It may require several weeks of monitoring them until they get used to the routine, but they'll eventually adapt.
     
  4. daystardoberman

    daystardoberman Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2013
    thanks for the advice! they incorporated much smoother and easier than I expected. I put out extra feeders and gave the youngsters a maze to escape if they needed it and they're all doing well. The young 'uns have learned to stay out of the hen's way.
     

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