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Best way to introduce new chicks to the flock...

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Punk-Rock_Chicken, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. Punk-Rock_Chicken

    Punk-Rock_Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2009
    High Springs, Florida
    I'm still a newby to this, so I need some advice. Can I get some advice on the best way to introduce 2 new chicks (6week old Cochins) into my flock of older birds(12 weeks old). I attempted it yesterday after I brought home 3 TINY 1 day old Silkies and the 2 Cochins thought they were bugs and wanted to eat them. I put them (the Cochins) into the coop with the older birds and at first it was just a staring contest with nobody moving for like 2 minutes. Then all at once my Black Sex Link started to attack the chicks, spurring the rest into action, by the time I got the chicks back out all 12 off my flock had beak-fulls of Cochin feathers. Please help. I really want them to be able to become a part of the flock and not have to build seperate coops. This also has me worried about my Silkies... I couldnt put them in with the Cochins and had to put them in a makeshift brooding pen. What will happen when I try to put them into the main flock as I understand that they get to be only half the size of regular chickens. HELP!
     
  2. inezbouley

    inezbouley Out Of The Brooder

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    I introduced my BO to my RIR's when they were almost the same size and even then they had difficulties adjusting. Now, (they are a bit bigger than the RIRs), they have stopped picking on each other.

    They have to establish a "pecking order" and it may take a while. Make sure they have plenty of space so it doesn't get to the point of too many chickens in a crowded area.

    Also, try to get them to be the same size before introducing them. I also had to keep them in a seperate pen next to the main one so they could see each other etc.

    It may take a while, but they should get it eventually.

    But, I'm pretty new at this too! So, get others opinions too!

    Good Luck!
     
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

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    The younger ones will need to be at least 15 weeks and then they'll still probably take a beating.
     
  4. Punk-Rock_Chicken

    Punk-Rock_Chicken Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 11, 2009
    High Springs, Florida
    Can it get to the piont that they will actually KILL the smaller ones? Or does it not usually get that far?
     
  5. yay-for-chickens!

    yay-for-chickens! Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 3, 2009
    Corvallis
    I'm struggling with a similar situation punk-rock....I am trying to introduce a 10 week old Australorp to 2 8-week old RIR pullets and 1 8-week old RIR rooster...They've been together a week now and they are somewhat tolerant of each other but the three RIR that I raised on my own still individually pick on the australorp...I mean they at least let her near them but she isn't part of the flock yet, I feel so bad...
     
  6. inezbouley

    inezbouley Out Of The Brooder

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    Feb 1, 2009
    Florida
    Quote:It can get that far...it's best to try to keep them seperate but in view of each other, and then at night, put them all together while they are sleeping, so they all wake up together. It is good also to get a book on chickens, it has helped me, and I've also borrowed books and ideas from friends. You may want to ask the feed store person or see if they know someone in your area you can contact to get more information on them.

    Good luck! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  7. desertgirl

    desertgirl Roo Magnet

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    Mar 29, 2009
    Albuquerque,NM
    So the three I have now think of theselves as "clutch-mates", or siblings, right? And any newer chicks I introduce will have to blend into that flock/pecking order?Or is it just an individual "chicken with a bad attitude" thing whe you introduce new chicks and they get picked on?
     
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    I agree with the other post. Here is my story on my experiences putting my pullets with my hens. First I let them all out in the yard together when the pullets were about 12 weeks old and the hens were about 1 1/2 yrs old. I put lots of scratch out for them. It didn't go to well. The hens chased and picked on the pullets terrible so I separated them. They had been in different coops and adjacent runs for over a month prior to the first time I tried to put them together to range. Every evening for a month I would put some scratch/seeds/grain mix and sprinkle it in the feed and on the floor of the coop that I wanted them in. I had two coops with adjacent runs each with access to their fenced in yard. I put a second pop door into the hen's house so when I eventually put them all together the pullets would have another door to use if needed. Also I had nest boxes in both coops. When I put them together in their yard the last time when the pullets were about 20 weeks, I had two hens that were terrible and jumping on the pullets and pulling their feathers out. I took the two most aggressive hens out and separated them from the rest. They were put into a separate pen for a week where all the rest of the chickens could walk around them see them but couldn't touch. When I did let them out, I put them all together in their yard with plenty of treats and scratch out hopefully to distract them. It worked for the most part, but for one of the hens. She was still very aggressive. When I saw her jump on one of the pullets I sprayed her with water from a hose that is next to the coop. She went running into the coop and didn't come out for awhile. I have repeated the hose caper a few times. She has calmed down since then.
    I decided to switch the birds around and put the pullets in the hen's house and the hens in the pullet's coop. I shut the runs off from each other and the yard so they only had access to the coops and runs I put them in. I didn't lock them in the coop. I left the pop doors open to the run for that coop. They could go at free will into their run but not the other run or the other coop or their yard for a week. I continued with the treats in the coops in the evenings trying to keep the ritual of evening treats in the coop so they would go in for the treats. After the switch for a week I opened the gates to the runs and yard. I let them all range together. For the next week I let them choose which coop to roost in and most except for 2/3 birds roosted in the hen's house. After a week of free choice coops I shut the pop door on the pullets coop. Now they either had to roost in the hen’s house or in the run. They do have a ladder in their run. There was a little bickering in the beginning at roosting time but all is well now and they have worked out their pecking order. There are pictures on my BYC
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2009

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