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Combining the new kids in with the gals

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by TrystInn, Dec 2, 2009.

  1. TrystInn

    TrystInn Songster

    Sep 16, 2009
    Southern Arizona
    I have two Rhode Island Red hens, who have their own coop, and eight 6 week old chicks (Black Copper Marans) in the shed coop staying warm while they grow. The new kids have another week and a half of quarantine, but after that - at what age would you consider tucking the Rhodies in for the night to combine the flocks?

    Thank you!

    P.S. To those who told me to check the Coop pages, we did! The shed transformation went great, it's very useful and only needs a bit more tweaking (the chicken ladder is too big for the chicks) to be really great. Pictures when I get the camera talking to the borrowed laptop.

  2. cicene mete

    cicene mete Songster

    Jun 19, 2008
    Here's a blog post about how I have integrated new members in the past: http://massachusettschicken.blogspot.com/2009/11/chicken-integration.html

    your particular situation, the fact that the younger ones outnumber the established members will help. However, you still need to be careful and take things slowly to avoid injuries. As soon as your quarantine period is over, I would put them where they can see each other without actually coming into contact. I would not let them have any contact until the little ones are big enough to hold their own. Eight weeks old at the very minimum, but that is probably early unless you are doing a lot of supervising and only putting them together for short periods. At 12 weeks old, you have a better shot of avoiding trouble, but that might not be feasible in your situation.

    Most of all, be sure to supervise all of their early contact. Chickens can be quite brutal.
  3. PandoraTaylor

    PandoraTaylor RT Poultry n Things

    Jun 29, 2009
    it really depends on the temperment of the adults & the size of the young ones, I waited until they were close in size to add my chicks to the ladies.....

    Be sure when adding them together; you do it at night after all go to roost. That way they wake up together and don't fight as much.
  4. christa7032

    christa7032 In the Brooder

    Sep 11, 2009
    When you do decide to combine them definitely supervise them. I just mixed a group of 2 month olds with my 2 adult hens. One of the hens couldn't care less and the other freaked out and kept trying to attack the babies. I set up a barrier between them for a few weeks but one of the babies got in with the big girls and was attacked pretty bad. She's healing now and everyone seems to be getting along but I am still worried. I had no idea that they would really attack each other. The pullet was missing all of the feathers and a layer of skin accross the back of her neck! Thankfully I didn't lose her though. So my advice is to be as careful as possible. Also, I noticed the girls weren't as aggressive once all the babies stopped peeping though. Good luck.
  5. KKatknap

    KKatknap Songster

    Nov 15, 2009
    Albany, OR
    Quote:That's how I did it, too, and it worked well. If it's possible to have a barrier between them for awhile (I used hardware mesh), where they are "together", but not mingling, that's what worked for me. You will still want to choose a day when you will be there all day when you decide to put them in the same area together...and I also probably wouldn't do that 'til they are bigger - like 3 mos. old or so, if possible. You don't want them hurting your pretty marans!
  6. I just posted this on another question site...

    I have 3 groups of chickens. The first are 5 weeks older than the second group, the 3rd group 3 weeks younger than the middle group. I introduced them by dividing the coop with a mini "coop" made out of chicken wire. They could see the younger ones but not hurt them. After a couple of weeks, I introduced them while in the outdoor run (which is at least 20'x25'). This gave the younger ones a chance to escape from the older girls if needed. The flocks would keep together in a group (safety in numbers). I had to do this mixing in two stages...first with the middle girls while the youngest were still in a brooder. By the time the middle group joined the older ones, I reused the sectioned off "cage" for the babies in the coop. I would have to help the younger ones inside at night for a night or two, then they caught on. The youngest birds are now about 26 weeks. While they are often mingled together, there is still that original flock bond between the groups (of course, I think there are mini groups within the groups...the Dominiques hang together, the BA together, etc). Make sure you wait to mix the youngest group in when they are fully feathered and of good size...10+ weeks. Until then, keep them in their cage within the coop. Good luck!

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