Chicken integration plan

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Freebirdfarm, May 19, 2017.

  1. Freebirdfarm

    Freebirdfarm Just Hatched

    Nov 12, 2016
    I was planning to give my friend two of my Rhode Island Reds, since I am moving soon and need to thin my flock. She has two adult chickens, and my chickens are also fully grown. She has ample room to accomodate the two new chickens, I'm just wondering if they will fight. Her two are females, and mine are females too. No roosters at either place.

    So please let me know of any concerns or let me know if this is a bad idea. Thank you.
  2. WesleyBeal

    WesleyBeal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 28, 2016
    Douglas County, Minnesota
    Everything I've heard suggests it all just depends. I have no direct experience doing this myself.

    First issue is that any diseases one flock has built up an immunity to will be conveyed to the other flock.

    You need to be sure (or your friend, as the case may be) you absolutely trust the conditions the other birds have been kept in. Nonetheless there will still be some risk.

    A period of complete quarantine is always recommended.

    After that, the standard advice is it set things up for a while so they can see each other, but not reach each other. Then, after they've gotten used to the sight of each other, ideally they are at a place where they can be allowed to free range. That way they can be let out, choose to interact with each other, or choose to stay apart.

    After a while, if there aren't any serious fights, things will be fine.

    There will be some squabbling, as a new pecking order has to be established. Lay rates will drop during this period.
    biophiliac likes this.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    I've integrated a few adoptees over the past few years, and I wrote about how I went about it. The article is linked in the block of articles listed in my signature line below.

    It's a touchy matter introducing strangers into a flock. I often say that chicken wrote the book on xenophobia. They really hate having a strange chicken show up. However, it can be done with very little drama when approached slowly and carefully.

    After the quarantine period, which by the way, will not insure against importing contagious viruses into the flock, I recommend housing the new chicken(s) in a large cage in the center of flock activity for a few days so everyone can become acquainted but not physically interact.

    After that, I use a safe pen for the new chicken so she can adapt while still remaining safe. For short periods, I let her out into the flock to begin finding her way into the pecking order. When she starts tiring of the inevitable conflict, back she goes into her safe pen to recover her wits and rest.

    I increase these intervals over the next week or two, and by the end of the third week, the new chicken has been accepted into the flock as if she was always there.

    Some folks just toss the newcomers into the fray and it often works out just fine, but my method helps preserve the new chicken's self confidence. Over the long run, they are better equipped to handle pecking order challenges since their self confidence hasn't been eroded by continual beat-downs which can create a chronic victim out of a chicken with a timid temperament.
    sunflour, biophiliac and WesleyBeal like this.
  4. Amy Lawson Richardson

    Amy Lawson Richardson New Egg

    May 20, 2017
    I'm sorry if I'm taking over this thread, but I'm new to the site and can't figure out how to post a new question. In February, I got 3 leghorns, 3 black sex links, and 1 bantam. All are hens except the bantam. My husband's friend gave him 3 Rhode Island reds that we are trying to integrate. 2 hens, 1 rooster. As of last night, the flock excepted the 2 hens, but I'm terrified about introducing the rooster. He's super sweet but from what I've read, 2 roosters don't mix well if they haven't grown up together. He's a really sweet guy so I'd like to keep him if possible. Also the reds are about 3 weeks younger than our flock. If someone can please tell me how to do this safely, I'd really appreciate it!
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).

    Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.

    Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

    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.

    In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

    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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.

    Not sure the dearchfuntion is back up and running....but:
    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading, tho some info is outdated IMO:

    Go to the forum you want to post in, at the top and bottom there is a button "Post New Thread"
    Last edited: May 20, 2017
    azygous, Freebirdfarm and CTKen like this.
  6. biophiliac

    biophiliac Traveler in BYCLand

    Apr 22, 2016
    DeForest, WI
    Roosters are individuals. They can get along, more likely if one is submissive and will accept 2nd place, in my experience:D

    I had to rehome my BR cockerel. He successfully integrated with a small flock containing a very sweet, timid silkie roo. Reports indicate they are best buds and roost together. Your results may vary. Best of luck!
    Last edited: May 20, 2017

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