Easy integration - phew!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Gypsy07, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I was given six mature hens to rehome last weekend - three White Leghorns and three Cuckoo Marans. I put them in a horsebox for a few days quarantine, so I could check out they weren't sick or anything, then worm them and dust them with bug powder before I let them meet the rest of my flock. Last night I moved the three Leghorns into the main coop at about 9pm. I placed them on a perch and shut the pop hole so it would be totally dark in there (normally I just leave it open at night as the run is secure) and I left them in there for twelve hours. Listened at the door a few times to check there wasn't any major dust-ups going on, then let them all out at 9am. And they seem to have integrated almost perfectly. I can hardly believe it!

    I was expecting more than a few problems as my adult hens have been fairly brutal towards young chicks in the past, even after weeks of them being penned up beside each other with loads of time to adjust gradually. But these ones seem to have settled in after just one night. I watched them carefully all day and saw a couple of minor scuffles, but nothing that lasted longer than a couple of seconds. Wow!

    I hope everything goes as smoothly when I put my three new Cuckoo Marans in the main coop. I'm keeping them separated for a few more days as while they're not sick or anything, they're have big bald patches and they're laying eggs with almost no shells, so I'm assuming they're a bit malnourished and I'm stuffing them full of calcium and vitamins just now...
     
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2010
  2. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    My Coop
    Glad it went so well for you!
     
  3. gardenak

    gardenak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I hope my integration goes as smoothly. I have a flock of 7 15 month olds that live in the coop out the back door. I have a flock of 9, 9 week olds in a greenhouse further up my hill. I've had them all out running around together and so far so good- no squabbles and they've eaten together as well. I'm going to get rid of 5 of the chicks since I don't have enough room for all of them and then put the 4 in the main coop at night- thing is, should I do it now or keep them separated a few weeks longer?[​IMG]
     
  4. jesskoot

    jesskoot Out Of The Brooder

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    Your post was good to see = I am considered doubling my birds from 4=8 and have not done it cause I know my dominant Delaware will kick A__ with all of them. Did you just pick them up and put them on the roost? I read somewhere that chickens can't see in the dark so I guess they just wake up with new coop mates?
     
  5. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Gardenak - I think that if your chicks have been mixing well with your main flock through the day then you probably shouldn't have a problem putting everyone together at night. For me, the question of whether to do it now or later on would probably come down to size. Are your chicks a good size compared with the birds in your main flock? If they're very small yet I'd maybe keep them separate for a bit longer. When my first chicks were 10 weeks old they were out in the main coop, but separated from the older birds with mesh. My second chicks went out in the main coop at about 9 weeks, without separating mesh. That was just based on the behaviour of my older hens, as first time round they were acting very aggressive, second time round they didn't pay much attention to the newbies...
     
  6. Gypsy07

    Gypsy07 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yup. I waited till after dark when everyone was sleeping and I just put the three new ones in the coop one by one as quietly as possible. I put all three of them on a perch beside my Daisys but one of them jumped down straight away to huddle up with my six silly floor chickens who don't like roosting on a perch and just pile up together in a corner of the coop. I listened at the door for a while in case a fight broke out but they all settled down straight away. And when I opened the pop hole the next morning they all came out together quite calmly and as if they'd been together for ages.

    I waited a few more days and did the exact same thing with three cuckoo marans I'd been given at the same time as the leghorns - and they integrated absolutely fine too.

    It's funny, cause both times before when I integrated chicks I DID have problems, with bullying, pecking, chasing and just general tormenting. I'm now wondering if chicks raised on their own without a mother hen are just lacking in basic 'chicken manners' and so the older hens have to reprimand them at first till they learn how to behave in the flock. Whereas older hens from another flock already know how to act around other hens. Maybe? Or does that sound really daft? LOL!
     

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