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Sep 15, 2021
170
204
116
Iowa
I need help I have a current flock of 6 the have been together since birth....very happy and they free range they are about 18 weeks or so.....thinking of getting 5 more chickens that are 2 years old....how should I integrate the flocks I have no idea...and have done alot of research so I am asking for help...what do I do?
 

aart

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I need help I have a current flock of 6 the have been together since birth....very happy and they free range they are about 18 weeks or so.....thinking of getting 5 more chickens that are 2 years old....how should I integrate the flocks I have no idea...and have done alot of research so I am asking for help...what do I do?
I would first ask, why add more birds now?
Would make more sense to wait until spring and add chicks.
2yo birds are not going to be laying after moving at this time of year,
even if they are actually laying now.
It's risky to add older birds as they can bring in pests and disease.

But if you insist....
How big is your coop and run, in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics would help immensely here.



Consider biological/medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article


Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

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.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,048
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how should I integrate the flocks I have no idea...and have done alot of research so I am asking for help...what do I do?
Tell us what you have to work with. You are in Iowa, that helps us know the weather but what time of the year do you plan to do this? Also that would help us to know how old the 18-week-olds will be. As Aart asked, how big in feet are each of your coops? How big in feet are each of your runs? Photos of how the coops are laid out inside and how your coops and runs are connected could really help. In Iowa your winters are likely to keep the chickens confined to the coop only part of the time. Are they all female or will some be male? A little bit about how you manage them might be important. Do they free range, do you keep them confined to the coop at night, and what time relative to daylight do you let them out?

The more you can tell us about what you have to work with the more likely we can give specific suggestions. Otherwise we can't get much more specific than Aart's generic suggestions.
 
Sep 15, 2021
170
204
116
Iowa
I would first ask, why add more birds now?
Would make more sense to wait until spring and add chicks.
2yo birds are not going to be laying after moving at this time of year,
even if they are actually laying now.
It's risky to add older birds as they can bring in pests and disease.

But if you insist....
How big is your coop and run, in feet by feet?
Dimensions and pics would help immensely here.



Consider biological/medical quarantine:
BYC Medical Quarantine Article


Integration Basics:
It's all about territory and resources(space/food/water).
Existing birds will almost always attack new ones to defend their resources.
Understanding chicken behaviors is essential to integrating new birds into your flock.

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.

In adjacent runs, spread scratch grains along the dividing mesh, best if mesh is just big enough for birds to stick their head thru, so they get used to eating together.

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 copious blood drawn and/or new bird is not trapped/pinned down and beaten unmercilessly, 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'(but not a dead end trap) and/or up and away from any bully birds. Roosts, pallets or boards leaned up against walls or up on concrete blocks, old chairs tables, branches, logs, stumps out in the run can really help. Lots of diversion and places to 'hide' instead of bare wide open run.
Good ideas for hiding places:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/a-cluttered-run.1323792/
So the reason why i am getting two year old birds because they need rescues they come with there own coop so they would stay separated every night but....would free range together
 
Sep 15, 2021
170
204
116
Iowa
Tell us what you have to work with. You are in Iowa, that helps us know the weather but what time of the year do you plan to do this? Also that would help us to know how old the 18-week-olds will be. As Aart asked, how big in feet are each of your coops? How big in feet are each of your runs? Photos of how the coops are laid out inside and how your coops and runs are connected could really help. In Iowa your winters are likely to keep the chickens confined to the coop only part of the time. Are they all female or will some be male? A little bit about how you manage them might be important. Do they free range, do you keep them confined to the coop at night, and what time relative to daylight do you let them out?

The more you can tell us about what you have to work with the more likely we can give specific suggestions. Otherwise we can't get much more specific than Aart's generic suggestions.
They free range all day at 7am I let them out and they dont get put away till about 8 30 or 9 pm....they younger pack that have been here the longest would have a separate coop and the older ones would have there own at least for another year.. .I am planning on getting them next week ish......I think I answered all the question let me know if you have more
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
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Nevada County, CA
So the reason why i am getting two year old birds because they need rescues they come with there own coop so they would stay separated every night but....would free range together
Good for you! I added much older rescues to my flock. They are wonderful birds!

Do keep them separate, though, for a spell before letting them commingle.The girls I brought home had lice and mites. I would have hated to treat all of my birds for that...
 

Folly's place

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Sep 13, 2011
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southern Michigan
The last group of rescues that I evaluated for a humane society had Mycoplasma synoviae, and were all euthanized as unadoptable.
You can have some testing done on live birds, and it might save your entire flock if you do.
Better yet, don't get these birds, and plan on heathy chicks from a good hatchery in spring.
Being paranoid about biosecurity is a very good thing!
Mary
 
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