Flock introductions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by nickellmama27, Mar 24, 2017.

  1. nickellmama27

    nickellmama27 Out Of The Brooder

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    I currently have 3 three week old chicks, my husband is fixing my coop up and plans to have it done in about 2-3 weeks so basically the chicks will be ready to go to the coop. I'm also buying 7 hens from a friend and was getting them whenever my coop is done. Sounds like this will be the same time. My question is who do I put In the coop first? Babies then add hens or hens then babies in a dog cage
     
  2. N F C

    N F C gobble gobble Premium Member Project Manager

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    There's a great article about integration in the Learning Center:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock

    As it explains, the first step is to isolate the new birds for 30 days to be sure you aren't introducing illness or pests to your younger birds. Then set things up so both groups can see each other without being able to touch (that's where your dog cage might come in handy). After a couple of weeks, you can let them mingle (some do this during free range time) being sure there are extra feeders and waterers so no one gets kept away from them.

    There will probably still be some squabbling but as long as blood isn't drawn, they should work it out.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  3. nickellmama27

    nickellmama27 Out Of The Brooder

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    I only have one coop...
     
  4. nickellmama27

    nickellmama27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Ok I read that thread. Thank you! Mine are defiantly going into Neutral territory. Chicks are inside in a brooder, hens are coming from my friend.
     
  5. nickellmama27

    nickellmama27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Bump
     
  6. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    A lot depends on the hens you are getting. Have they been raised just with themselves, or have they had chicks around them before? I think being that this is a new place to both groups, that is an advantage. I think of integration of plus and minuses.

    Home territory - plus
    size - bigger plus, smaller -
    number of birds, you will have more hens than chicks, so the size and number go to the hens.

    I would give home territory to your chicks. Let them get out there first for a couple of days or a week. Also, in the run and in the coop, set up some one way gates, that the chicks can fit through, but the hens cannot. I am currently using a lattice panel that works great for small chicks, but a pallet will work, or woven wire. This allows the chicks to have a retreat to get away from the bigger birds. Yet it still gives them enough space. I am not a fan of trapping chicks in a dog kennel for an extended period of time. The idea is not to trap them away from the big girls, but rather let them run with the big girls with a time out place of safety.

    If you stomp around a bit, acting big and mean, the chicks will find these hide outs and escapes before the hens are added. Then I would add the hens at night. Even if you get them earlier in the day, just wait for dark. Hens are nearly comatose when it is dark, they are easy to handle. Place them on the roost.

    Do get down there early, so that you can see what is going on, and intervene if necessary.

    To correctly quarantine, you need to keep the birds separate by 300 feet, change your shoes when going between set ups, and use different feed and water. Most back yard people cannot logistically quarantine. If you can't, you can't, and pretending to quarantine is not effective. It is not 100%, but healthy tends to look healthy. DO NOT TAKE ANY BIRD you feel sorry for, or really, I would not get anything from a swap or auction. Those birds have been exposed to God knows what. While it is a risk, many of us have added numerous birds, without quarantine. If one is risking very valuable birds, or a huge number of birds, then the economics make you quarantine. or should not add new birds. But in your set up, a small flock, it is worth the risk to me.

    Mrs k
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2017
  7. nickellmama27

    nickellmama27 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you so much for replying! The girls I am getting are all healthy 1 year olds, from my friend/neighbor who lives right up the road. They live in clean conditions and are all good. I've picked them up and held them. All are happy and healthy
     

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