How can I introduce new chickens to my flock

Momma*chicken

Songster
Jun 14, 2018
210
311
121
Upstate NY... Adirondacks
So we have 11 hens and 3 roosters. We used to have 12 girls, but one got hit by a car about 2 months ago. We know this is the price for free ranging... Eventually you WILL lose some. So we want to introduce some new girls to the flock. We r thinking of getting 5 to 8 more. However, we do not have a separate coop or run. What's the best way to integrate new girls to our flock. For reference, ours girls r ISA browns and our boys r mille fleur D'uccle bantams. They r about 6m old
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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Are you planning on getting point-of-lay pullets? Or do you plan on raising baby chicks? Or adult chickens? Also, where are you located? Southern hemisphere or northern? Frigid climate or tropical or mediterranean?

Do you have coop and run space adequate for this significant addition to your flock? Runs should have a minimum of ten square feet per chicken and a coop should have a minimum of four square feet per and ample roosting space with a bare minimum of one foot per. Are you set up for this coming invasion?

When I add new chickens, whether it's an adopted new adult chicken or a brood of babies, I have a sectioned off area in my run where the new members reside in safety for the few weeks it takes to integrate them. Without a safe pen or ample run space, your intended merger will be doomed to conflict and chaos. But we're here to help you figure it out.
 

Momma*chicken

Songster
Jun 14, 2018
210
311
121
Upstate NY... Adirondacks
We r planning on getting girls that r just about ready to lay or are already laying. We want to buy all the girls from the same place so they will already be acquainted with each other. We thought this might help them defend their position better with our flock. Our coop is 6ft by 8ft, and 8ft high. It has an attached run that is 8ft by 16ft. Our chickens free range most of the day, however, with no fence or limitations. We live in Northern New York state in the Adirondacks.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,380
33,517
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Colorado Rockies
Thanks for posting those particulars. Your coop is probably large enough for six more chickens, but you need to look at the roosting space. Chickens need a bit more than a linear foot when trying to hop up to the perch. When there isn't enough space for the wing action, chickens on the perch can get knocked off by the ones trying to jump up. Tempers are ignited and roosting can become a circus you really don't want to watch.

Getting older pullets will be a challenge, though. Your six-month olds will have the home advantage as well as the youthful urge to bully newcomers as high sport. Having enough space during integration is crucial. The new ones will need space and perches or hide-ways to evade the bullies if any do develop.

You're right that the multiples of the new crew will offset the bullying to a certain extent. But you will see some conflict as the two groups struggle for dominance in the new social order. It could take a month or more for them to settle in to a new lineup that everyone can accept.
 

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
11 Years
Nov 12, 2009
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western South Dakota
Truthfully I think you should reconsider. Basically your 6 month old birds have just started laying. If you buy point of lay birds, they will be nearly the same age as the birds you already have, which means they will molt at the same time, get old at the same time too, and quit laying at the same time.

What I think would be better, is keep what you have over the winter, pray to the broody Gods and hatch out 8 +/- chicks next spring. Or you can buy sexed chicks and slip under a broody hen, or use a wooly hen and raise the chicks right in the flock, no integration problems at all.

Of course, I like a multi-generational flock, the young ones will lay in the dark days of winter when the year + old girls molt and take a break. That's what mine are doing now.

Mrs K
 

Momma*chicken

Songster
Jun 14, 2018
210
311
121
Upstate NY... Adirondacks
Our girls have been laying for 2 months... They started at the beginning of September. We thought of letting one of our girls go broody in the spring, but then I hear that isa browns don't normally go broody. We also considered getting more chicks this spring, but then we thought integrating 4wk old chicks (once they're ready to leave the brooder) into a an adult flock could be deadly
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
23,380
33,517
1,122
Colorado Rockies
Actually, some of us have redefined integrating baby chicks and we do it perfectly safely. The chicks are well equipped to cope after being raised in direct proximity to the adult flock for just a couple weeks after hatching. If you're curious as to how we do this without major mayhem and loss of life, check out my article on the subject to see how it's accomplished.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...der-and-start-raising-your-chicks-outdoors.71

Integrating baby chicks is far, far easier than trying to merge similar age groups.
 

Momma*chicken

Songster
Jun 14, 2018
210
311
121
Upstate NY... Adirondacks
Actually, some of us have redefined integrating baby chicks and we do it perfectly safely. The chicks are well equipped to cope after being raised in direct proximity to the adult flock for just a couple weeks after hatching. If you're curious as to how we do this without major mayhem and loss of life, check out my article on the subject to see how it's accomplished.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...der-and-start-raising-your-chicks-outdoors.71

Integrating baby chicks is far, far easier than trying to merge similar age groups.
Oh really? I thought the big girls would pick on the the little chicks if there is not a broody mother around to defend them
 

Momma*chicken

Songster
Jun 14, 2018
210
311
121
Upstate NY... Adirondacks
Actually, some of us have redefined integrating baby chicks and we do it perfectly safely. The chicks are well equipped to cope after being raised in direct proximity to the adult flock for just a couple weeks after hatching. If you're curious as to how we do this without major mayhem and loss of life, check out my article on the subject to see how it's accomplished.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/ar...der-and-start-raising-your-chicks-outdoors.71

Integrating baby chicks is far, far easier than trying to merge similar age groups.
Oh really? I thought that introducing chicks to the adults without a broody mother is dangerous if u don't have separate enclosures
 

MANNA-PRO

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