HELP-how to introduce NEW baby chicks to the flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by barkpurr, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. barkpurr

    barkpurr Out Of The Brooder

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    How do I introduce new baby chicks to my existing flock? I have 2 coops. Each coop has 1 rooster and 2 hens. Our Roosters do not get along, so we had to build a second coop. How do I introduce new chicks that I plan to hatch myself.
     
  2. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    There are several approaches you can take to this - which you choose will be a matter of which best fits your setup, flocks, etc. Do you plan to split the chicks between the two groups or house them with one or the other? As you noted that the roosters in question are not amicable with each other have you considered what you will do with cockerels in the chicks you hatch?
    One option is to brood the chicks in the coop -- there are few approaches to this, @Blooie has some great posts about her experience with this. The advantage of this is that the it makes integrating the birds pretty much a non-issue once the chicks are ready to move out of the brooding area they are in as they are a familiar part of the flock by that point.
    Another option is to brood the chicks in a brooder (either in the house, in a garage, etc - but not in the coop itself) and then integrate the chicks once they are fully feathered -- the exact age can vary as some folks will start with them as soon as they are fully feathered and others prefer to wait until the birds are closer to their full size/a better match to the adult birds. A good way to do this is similar to that of brooding in the coop - you house the birds in such a way that they see each other but are not able to actually have physical contact (ie sectioning off a part of the coop) for a period so the younger birds become a familiar sight to the older birds before they are allowed to mingle.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'd suggest you take a good look at your long term goals with chickens,
    and build the appropriate facilities to house them.

    Are you wanting to breed pure bred chicks...is that why you have 2 cockbirds??

    How big(feet by feet) are your existing coops and runs?
     
  4. barkpurr

    barkpurr Out Of The Brooder

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    We have chickens for the eggs. Plus they are our pets. We built very nice coops with pens attached and they also have free range on our property that is fenced in. We have the Cock's because they were hatched as such. We do not want any more Roosters if we can help it. Our first Rooster is almost 5 years old now. He and the hen just appeared in our yard one day and had 4 babies with them. We started taking care of them then. Have had them ever since. We built the other coop set up when one of the babies (rooster) starting fighting with his Dad viciously. We did what we knew best at the time. That Rooster received the new coops with 2 of his sisters. I ask for help/advice to learn more. We would like to add more chicks since our chickens are getting on with age and are thinking of the future. So?
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I eat extra cockerels...I only need one to make more chickens.
    If you want to keep all the boys, then you have to figure out how to manage them without them hurting each other.
     
  6. barkpurr

    barkpurr Out Of The Brooder

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    Oh gosh, we couldn't eat our pets!
     
  7. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Then you better start building more coops/runs, especially if you are going to do any hatching or buy straight run chicks.
     
  8. barkpurr

    barkpurr Out Of The Brooder

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    what is a 'straight run chick"? I've heard you can buy hen chicks that only produce hens? Is this real? I believe they are all black.
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You can buy pullet chicks of many breeds and/or crosses.....not 100% guaranteed all females tho.
    Straight run chicks are not sexed at hatch and could be around half males.....
    .....if you're hatching yourself, as indicated in your first post, that's basically straight run.
     
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  10. bobbi-j

    bobbi-j Chicken Obsessed

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    If you get a broody hen and let her hatch them out, you can leave her with the flock and let her take care of introductions. If you hatch them in an incubator, you can do as Aart suggested and brood them in the coop for several weeks before integration. You can not just throw a bunch of new baby chicks in the coop with adults. The adults will likely kill them. As Aart suggested, you really do need a plan to deal with any males you hatch yourself. As you have already learned, they're not going to grow up to all live happily ever after. You don't have to eat them, but you will have to either find them new homes or figure out how to house them separately so they don't fight.
    I have never heard that, but I highly doubt it. I don't know if chickens are like humans in this respect, but if they are, it's the male that determines the sex of the offspring - not the female. You may have heard about "sex-link" chickens that you can tell the sex of the chicks as they hatch.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2016

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