Help with introducing new birds to my flock

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by crzycknmomma, Nov 2, 2014.

  1. crzycknmomma

    crzycknmomma Out Of The Brooder

    15
    2
    26
    Oct 12, 2014
    Southern Indiana
    So after introducing new birds and that failed miserably I segregated my flock. They have been living close enough to see one another but not able to hurt each other for about 2 weeks. Im going to wait ar least another 2 weeks before I start integrating them. But how do I do it? All in one big swoop. Take one old bird and put it in with the new birds dor a week and gradually integrate them?? My rooster seems very interested in the new birds also...
     
  2. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    460
    67
    121
    Dec 10, 2013
    Tennessee
    Are the new birds younger and smaller than the existing flock? If they are you can fix them an escape area when they feel the need to get away. After a look but can't touch phase I have always went ahead with full integration and let them set the pecking order without interference as long as no one was injured or bleeding. Its hard to do, because nobody wants to see their chickens getting pecked and picked on. They usually have everything under control in a week or so. What happened that made you separate them again?
     
  3. crzycknmomma

    crzycknmomma Out Of The Brooder

    15
    2
    26
    Oct 12, 2014
    Southern Indiana
    Actually my new chickens are bigger. Lol. i didn't realize they should have been segregated initially so I kinda put them in with each other full pledge. Then one of my Rhode island reds began picking on one of my americauna birds and plucked all her tail feathers out and she was bleeding. So we separated them. We've mended her and she is all better now. Im just really nervous about mixing them up again.
     
  4. mtngirl35

    mtngirl35 Chillin' With My Peeps

    460
    67
    121
    Dec 10, 2013
    Tennessee
    Establishing the pecking order can seem brutal to us but it is normal chicken behavior. Gradual integration usually just prolongs getting it settled. I have only integrated smaller, younger chickens and so far I have had no major problems. I have had to walk away at times to keep from interfering. You could try hanging some fruits and veggies up where they have to kinda jump to reach them. It sort of keeps them too busy to bully too much. Hang up more than one so they can spread out. You could also try sneaking the new chickens into the coop while everyone is sleeping. It seems to make it a little easier sometimes. If a chicken does get injured or bleeds get that chicken out of there. They can get ruthless. Other than that just try to let them do what they have to do so things can settle down. Everything usually works out ok.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    34,649
    7,866
    596
    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Do you free range? That can be a good time to introduce them because there is lots of room for running away while the pecking order is established.

    Lots of space is key and places to hide out of line of sight or up and away from bullies.
    Multiple feed/water stations helps greatly also.

    Patience and and understanding of chicken behaviors will be a huge help.



    Here's some notes I've taken on integration that I found to be very helpful.
    See if any of them, or the links provided, might offer some tips that will assist you in your situation:

    Integration of new chickens to flock.


    Consider medical quarantine:
    BYC Medical Quarantine Article
    Poultry Biosecurity
    BYC 'medical quarantine' search

    Confine new birds within sight but physically segregated from older/existing birds for several weeks, so they can see and get used to each other but not physically interact. Integrating new birds of equal size works best.

    For smaller chicks I used a large wire dog crate right in the coop for the smallers. I removed the crate door and put up a piece of wire fencing over the opening and bent up one corner just enough for the smallers to fit thru but the biggers could not. Feed and water inside the crate for the smallers. Make sure the smallers know how to get in and out of the crate opening before exposing them to the olders. this worked out great for me, by the time the crate was too small for the them to roost in there(about 3 weeks), they had pretty much integrated themselves to the olders.

    If you have too many smallers to fit in a crate you can partition off part of the coop with a wire wall and make the same openings for smallers escape.


    The more space, the better. Birds will peck to establish dominance, the pecked bird needs space to get away. As long as there's no blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down, let them work it out. Every time you interfere or remove new birds, they'll have to start the pecking order thing all over again.

    Multiple feed/water stations. Dominance issues are most often carried out over sustenance, more stations lessens the frequency of that issue.

    Places for the new birds to hide out of line of sight and/or up and away from any bully birds.

    Read up on integration..... BYC advanced search>titles only>integration
    This is good place to start reading:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/adding-to-your-flock
     
  6. crzycknmomma

    crzycknmomma Out Of The Brooder

    15
    2
    26
    Oct 12, 2014
    Southern Indiana
    Well... today I transferred my rooster inwith my americauna aka the newbies. That went well except for tonight he was on the roost alone while everyone else huddled together in one nesting box. so down came the partition and I placed every on the roost together. im nervous but im hoping mtngirl35 is right and sneaking them all together at night will work... fingers crossed and prayers said. Will let y'all know how it goes...
     
  7. patti17340

    patti17340 Out Of The Brooder

    87
    4
    41
    Mar 7, 2013
    Littlestown, Pa
    I free range my chickens so when I add my 15 new pullets to the 4 grown hens I just let them out all together at night. I did put the grown hens in their old hen house for a week at night than I just moved all the food containers and waters to the new big hen house and moved everyone in together, No problems. It was funny because it took about 2 months for them all to bond as a group.. When I let them out to free range the 4 big ones stayed together and the 15 new ones stayed together in 2 different bunches. Now they all hang out together and it is even hard to tell the new from old.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by