Chick Integration Plan

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by aart, Mar 28, 2015.

  1. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    We Plan, The Chicken Gods Laugh....well we'll see.

    My coop is partitioned into 2 coop areas, the smaller coop is 4x6 for broodies, chicks, rogue cockerels, etc.
    The partition wall (2x2's and chicken wire) is held in place and easily removed with 4 screws.
    Added another more solid part to the bottom of the wall, about 21" high, also held in with 4 screws.

    Small sliding (to adjust size) doors in this 'wall' that is the bottom of the coop partition wall (seen on the left side of the second photo).
    They will allow chicks to go in and out (but not larger birds) of the main coop, hopefully speeding and smoothing integration of new birds into the main flock.
    Doors have slots for carriage bolts and wing nuts to hold door at the appropriate size opening or close it.
    Door at top of pic is closed, door at bottom of pic is opened about half way....openings are 6" wide and 5" high.
    There are two doors so chicks don't get blocked out...may even put in a third in the middle.

    Time will tell if it will work as planned.



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  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Ah, would that I had that kind of space. Well, nobody ever says "I wish I'd make my set up smaller." [​IMG]
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Whole coop is 6 x 16....and I still wish I had more space!
     
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Nice well thought out plan. We’ll see what the chickens think of it. You built flexibility into it which is good.

    My main coop is 8’x12’ with a built-in 3’x6’ elevated brooder. The grow-out coop is 4’x8’ with an 8’x12’ run, and I have another 4’x8’ coop in the electric netting area that is available and sometimes used. After I block out that 8’x12’ section of the run for the grow-out coop, I have a 12’x24’ run and an area maybe 40’x90’ in electric netting.

    I recently moved twelve 5 week old cockerels out of my brooder to my grow-out coop but left seven cockerels behind. The next day I just opened that brooder door. Within a few minutes all seven cockerels were on the coop floor. The adults were outside but hens were coming and going all the time to the nests. No problems. I don’t think those cockerels ever went back into that brooder. Before I put five hens in the freezer yesterday I had one adult rooster and twelve hens. For my space I don’t think that is overcrowding.

    My concern with this was that the chicks might be small enough to get through the electric netting. They haven’t yet so maybe they are old enough so that won’t be a problem. After a few days four of those now 6 week old cockerels are out intermingling with the adults in that netting area. There are still three that stay in the coop most of the time. When those 12 in the grow-out coop learn to go to bed in the grow-out coop instead of in the run I’ll let them out to mingle too.

    We all have different set-ups, management techniques, and experiences. I know some people have trouble with integration but for some reason I just don’t. My brooder is in the coop so they are raised with the flock and I have a lot of room. I think both of those help me a lot.
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    My chicks are also being raised out in the run with the Bigs. They are now 4 weeks and 3 weeks old, and they are in a pen so they can see the older birds and be seen by them. I think they watch the bigger birds and mimic their behaviors sometimes. If a couple of the Bigs are taking a dust bath, then almost immediately the Littles dive in to dust bathe too. It's funny! I have been letting them out to mingle for about a week now, as long as I am out there, and aside from a few aggressive pecks I haven't seen any real issues. This week will mark a change - I'll leave the door to their pen wired in such a way that they can get in but the older chickens can't follow, the goal being to allow them to get away if they need to. I'll try it and if it doesn't work then I'll wait another week and try again. I did it this way with Scout, and had no integration issues at all, so fingers crossed.
     
  6. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Flexibility is always a must IMO. I always try to design adjustment into everything and use screws so it can more easily be modified if necessary.

    We shall see how it goes. These will be chicks incubator hatched and brooded inside for a few weeks.

    Watching the broody and her chicks integrating into the flock has been interesting, everything there seems to be going well.....until this morning.
     
  7. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Uh oh! What happened this morning? That sounded just a little ominous!

    We had a very sucessful integration day yesterday! Agatha got pecky, but every time she went for a chick she got a peck on the head from me - I figured I'm the only active Mama these chicks have (Mama Heating Pad doesn't count in this game) so I acted like a broody hen would if another chicken interfered with her chicks. Seemed to work - she started thinking twice. But she's the only one out of 10 hens and a rooster who deliberately chases the chicks to nail them. <sigh> And ironically she's the only one of the flock that's ever been a broody herself.

    The Littles spent time with the dog, the roo, and the girls. Daphne, the flock complainer, allowed the Littles to climb all over her. The Littles were all over place - on the roost, in and out of their pen, but what they really enjoyed was being out in the yard. Kat showed them where food was, and Gladys led them around outside. I think we're just about there as far as being able to leave their pen wired partway open. The other chickens just ignore them for the most part.

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    Molly, our English Setter. Totally relaxed around the chickens, as she always is. When we first built the run, she got way overexcited when the chickens were in there for the first time and she tried digging under the apron. She ripped off a toenail. I think ever since then she's associated the chickens with her owie and she's never bothered them again.

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    Kat and the Littles outside.

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    Poor, patient Daphne. She had found a bit of scratch in that corner, and was industriously trying to gobble it up without the babies seeing her. Um, that didn't work out well for her.
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    They mobbed her! She just shook then off and wandered back outside.
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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