Has anyone ever just "thrown them in" when integrating new birds into a flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Rooster_Tyranny, Apr 22, 2019.

  1. Rooster_Tyranny

    Rooster_Tyranny Songster

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    Here me out. I have 5 grown hens, and four 5-7 week old chicks that are currently outside. I have PLENTY of space, the run is 18/24 feet. When I took the chickies outside I thought that before I put them in their cage in the run I should just plop them down with the other birds and observe carefully to see what happens.

    It went really well, there was of course quite a bit of pecking in the beginning but the hens only ever pecked the chicks if they were in their way or trying to eat some of their food, and there was no blood, just some pulled feathers when the rooster chick challenged the top hen (it didn't go well). Other than that, they leave each other alone. I put out 2 new feeders and waterers so everyone gets fed, plus lots of treats to occupy the big ones. I ended up leaving them like that all day long yesterday, but I was going out every 20 minutes to check on them.

    When it was time to go to bed the hens went into the coop and the chicks followed them and they let them stay there! Granted they slept on the floor and there was a lot of squawking from the big hens (but no biting), but still. I shut them in together but woke up half an hour before sunrise and opened the coop so it would not be light out and the chicks would be trapped. It went well they all made it through the night.

    I am still watching them VERY carefully. And I know we all hear the horror stories of hens scalping chicks or eating them like hyenas, but this seems to be going very well. Is it likely at some point the hens will just "snap" and kill them? And is this normal or is my flock special? I have an uncle who integrates chickens the same way (but with adult hens), and it's the same thing. They get a good peck if they come too close but otherwise they're left alone.

    Let me know what you think and please your experiences. Please be kind.
     
  2. Brahma Chicken5000

    Brahma Chicken5000 Araucana Addict

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    5-7 weeks is pretty young to be integrated with adult chickens.
    I have added adult chickens to my flock before, but I’d be hesitant to add such young birds.
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Crossing the Road

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    You have a docile flock, with no obvious bullies. Most likely no BRAIN Snap is in order for your flock. :thumbsup
    WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
     
  4. MaryZoe

    MaryZoe Songster

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    I do about the same. I have all age chickens together with lots of space for them all to hang out and hide and eat. I often introduce new groups of juvys with little to no protocol. Just some observation, as you said. The littles know to stay out of the way of the older hens. And my roo is great—protective of the littles if anything. He’s never pecked a single one of them.
     
  5. Rooster_Tyranny

    Rooster_Tyranny Songster

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    I was nervous about that too, another reason I wanted to observe. But they are all doing great and thriving! It's been incredibly warm and it's so nice to see them finally be able to scratch at the ground!
     
  6. Rooster_Tyranny

    Rooster_Tyranny Songster

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    Thanks!! That's good to know. I have one that gets a little feisty during treat time but other than that they're all great. At one point one of my Wyandotes slowly walked across the run to where the chicks were, pecked one once, and then moseyed her way back to where she was. It was hilarious.
     
  7. BantyChooks

    BantyChooks Pullarius

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    I do this as well. I just integrated a group of 5wk olds into the main coop with about 20 adult chickens, LF and bantam, and 7 ducks. I let them free range together for a few days then put them in the main coop overnight. They squabble a bit, but not enough to be significant.

    I had an OEGB hen once that I integrated as an adult. Took all of three days for her to decide she liked staying here. She escaped her pen and ran straight for the coop and went to roost. :confused:

    Success depends on flock configuration, setup, and management styles.
     
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  8. Chickassan

    Chickassan Wattle Fondler

    They'll be fine, iv'e had zero problems putting littles in with the flock. Issues only pop up when the youngsters are past the peeping stage and introduced.
    Scalping and eating babies isn't the norm, what you're seeing is.:)
     
  9. Fairview01

    Fairview01 Songster

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    And turned around and walked away. A lot of squawking, quite a few lost feathers, a lot of, no blood and the next day everyone was none the worse for the wear. Amazing what can happen when there is no interference from humans.

    I would never introduce just 1 or 2 like that in an established flock. 0nly can do that when there are adequate targets of opportunity for the terror to be spread thinly to all the newcomers.
     
  10. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

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    It sounds like success so far---what breed(s) are they?
     

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